We have been in the San Blas Islands for just over a week now and after our official initiation, things have been going substantially better. After our visit to Ustupu, where we received our fine, we visited two other villages that have been extremely friendly. We wandered around their village, we talked to the adults and we got giggled at by all the children. The Kuna are a small race of people, so our clan appears to be giants in comparison. Zander has always been big, but they are all amazed by his height and his age and he continually gets stares, which of course mortifies him. It is a little disconcerting at times, being giggled at, but I remind the kids they are laughing with us, not necessarily at us (usually). In the traditional villages there are little naked kids everywhere and they scatter as we walk through, hiding behind their mother's skirts or behind a stick wall. Once we pass, the smallest kids come out and yell greetings to us. They are shy at first, but they warm up fast and have a million questions. The boys make small soccer pitches between the thatched huts and we have encountered multiple Messi's and numerous Ronaldo's. Even at five years old and younger, and in a village without TV, they know all the great soccer players and emulate them. They also love to fist bump and high five you as you walk by. Eventually, after walking through the village for a while, we have a small parade gathered behind us, giggling, pointing and running circles around us. It is nothing less than adorable, and its good to see young kids so obviously happy. They have very little in the way of material things, but they always have a crew of kids to play with and all my kids have mentioned that, in some ways, it would be fun to grow up like that. Small kids are out fishing by themselves, they are swimming without adult supervision and they pretty much have the run of the island. The Kuna have a relatively easy life and I think they know it, so they don't necessarily encourage the encroachment of Western ideas. Most Kuna have a pretty simple life. They paddle their dugouts over to the mainland every morning to tend their gardens. They are back at about 2pm with a boat load of produce and coconuts, (the coconuts are like Kuna currency) the latter they sell to the Colombian trading boats. Those that don't tend gardens take their sailing dugouts to the reefs and fish for lobster and other fish. They often stop by our boat on their way in to the villages and offer us a variety of seafood. Sometime we pay them, sometimes they want things like old magazines and books.
On the islands the cane and thatch huts are all built right next to each other and there is often zero free land left. The outhouses are all located on the leeward side of the island and they also have self cleaning pig pens located on stilts over the water. Life is simple, but it appears very pleasant and they fight hard to keep their culture intact. I applaud their efforts.
The following pages chronicle the journey of the sailing vessel Pelagic and her crew. We are a family of 5; Michael, Amy, Zander, Porter and Anakena, taking our 42' Hallberg Rassy as far as we can comfortably go in three years. We left Oregon in September 2014, participated in the 2014 Baja Haha, continued on through the Panama Canal, into the Caribbean, up the coast of the US to Maritime Canada and from there crossed the Atlantic. After an arrival in Ireland we toured Scotland, then sailed down to France, Portugal and on to Morocco. In January of 2016 we slowed down considerably and enrolled the kids in a local Spanish school in Sanlucar de Guadiana for a few months. In the spring of 2016 we crossed the Atlantic towards the Caribbean. We are now in the Pacific, officially on our way home, albeit via a very circuitous path. We are currently in French Polynesia and looking at weather windows to Hawaii before finally making landfall back in the Pacific Northwest.
Currently our exact location is not available. Our spot coverage will pick us back up in Hawaii towards the end of May, 2017.
Our favorite sailing quote:
"If anythings gonna happen, it's gonna happen out there boss!" Captain Ron