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Adios Mosquitoes and Sandflies: Mosquito Net

Zika Virus, Chikungunya, Dengue Fever, Yellow Fever, Malaria… AHHHH, Life in the tropics. When it comes to bug bites, prevention is the best policy for me. Otherwise, once I get a bug bite, I end up scratching my skin leaving ugly scars. Based on my experiences, a mosquito bite makes me itch for about two days and a no-see-ums (Sandflies) about five days.

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No ATM, Bring Small Dollar Bills to San Blas/Panama

Panama uses US dollars. I brought lots of small denomination bills before visiting San Blas as we had read to do so in another cruisers blog. It was helpful to buy coconuts, vegetables, and lobsters from the Guna Indians because they usually don’t have change. I still have a plenty of small bills left.

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Kite-boarding at Eastern Lemmon Cays, San Blas/Panama

My phone alarm, the sound of a rooster crowing goes off at 8:25am daily! It is about time to listen to the Panama Connection Net (Frequency 8107 USB).

At 8:30am every day, the cruisers in San Blas announce the weather and discuss various matters. The topics vary. One day,

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Fish and Lobsters in Holandes Cays, San Blas/Panama

The water in Holandes Cays is the prettiest in San Blas. We liked the BBQ Island anchorage area. It is John’s favorite anchorage in whole San Blas so far. The anchorage is sandy and not so deep with good holding. BBQ Island is very well-maintained with green grass and palm trees.

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Stunningly Beautiful Coco Bandero Cays, Good-Bye My Cat ‘Sesame’

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe ‘Moon’ Panama travel guide book is correct. ‘Coco Bandero Islands are stunningly beautiful!’ It is the most gorgeous set of islands I have ever visited.

We are in the East Anchorage of the Coco Bandero Islands in the middle of four islands. It is easy to swim or kayak from the boat to the islands.

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The First Day in Year 2016 at Green Island, San Blas/Panama

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere are four well-known places in San Blas for cruisers and tourists: Green Island, Coco Banderos Cays, Holandes Cays, and Lemmon Cays. These islands are even called in their English names rather than something ‘tupu’ or ‘dup’. (Meaning ‘Island’ in Guna language.)

Clear water, blue sky,

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Bought Fresh Fruits and Vegetables in Rio Diablo Village

The village near Rio Diablo goes by many names: Nargana (Yandup) and Corazon de Jesus (Akuanusatupu). I just call it ‘Rio Diablo’. Cruisers come to this town to get fresh produce and fresh water. This town is no longer a traditional village. Some cruisers buy water from the local people delivered from this river.

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Christmas Eve, Full Moon Night Lobster BBQ at Snug Harbor

The sea was beating us on the way to our next stop, Ratones Islands (Aridup). Looking at the Ratones Islands, due to the rolly waves, we immediately changed our plan to go to Snug Harbor near Playon Chico Village (Charged us US$10 for Anchorage Fee). This area is unchartered. There are reefs and rocks,

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Burnt Our Garbage at Mono Island

For the last two weeks, we have been slowly stopping at San Blas Islands and villages from South/East to North/West direction. We are about 1/3 up the San Blas. Those islands we have visited are traditional, not touristic, and secluded from the world. Most of the islands are near the main land close by a river which is a source of water to the Gunas.

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Coconuts and Trading for a Living in Mamitupu Island

We arrived at Mamitupu Island just before lunch time. After we set our anchor, dugout canoes (Ulus) came to us one by one trying to sell their harvest from the jungle. We bought a bunch of green bananas, regular bananas, and limes from a different local canoe. Later, the village secretary came to us with the chief and vice-chief and asked us for a donation to buy rice for upcoming Village Christmas party.

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No Garbage Men on the Island, at Ustupu Island in San Blas

Three hours after we departed Pinos Island, we arrived at a new place, Ustupu Island. (Anchorage Fee US$15) There are two villages on this island: Ustupu and Ogobsucun. Ustupu Island is the most populated island in San Blas with around 10,000 people (Both Villages). Approaching the island, we saw lots of plastic trash floating on the water.

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Whale Shape Island ‘Pinos Island’ in San Blas

When we visited the village, we saw some village people walking together up the coast. It was far away from the village. I asked them why they walk so far away. They told me that they want to call Panama. At a certain location, they can get a cellular phone connection from the mainland.

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Many Children Visitors in Mulatupu in San Blas

A new place, Mulatupu! As we entered the anchorage, we saw two wooden sticks on the water. Should we go around or in between the wooden sticks in the water? When we were about to go around, a fishermen shouted to us from far away and signed us ‘go straight in between’.

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Small Village with Many Children, Caledonia in San Blas

Two young men showed up early in the morning asking for the anchorage fee in their village, Caledonia. They rowed their dugout boat to collect US$10 from us. That was a long way to row, just for US$10. They told us, they have an average of five boats a month visiting here.

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December 8th, Panamanian Mother’s Day in Suledup Island, San Blas

Rainy and cloudy! It felt cool and nice. In the mist, a village chief with four young men came to our boat. I noticed a young man wore a thick winter jacket while another man was without a shirt. They motored their dugout boat from a village, 10 miles away in order to care for their crop in this area.

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The Scots in Puerto Escoses in San Blas in 17th Century?

Entering the ‘Puerto Escoses’ (Meaning ‘Scottish Port’ in Spanish) anchorage needs careful attention. We found charts are sometimes not exact. On a guide book, it mentioned a small rock (3 feet high) sticking out on the water. We definitely didn’t want to hit this rock. ‘I see the rock. It is over there’,

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Puerto Perme/Anachucuna, First Guna Village We Visited

We entered Panamanian waters after motoring from Colombia. I should say we are now in the Guna Indian Reservation area. In 2011, the Gunas managed to get the Panamanian government to recognize them as the Guna people. There is no ‘K’ in the Guna language. Now, more people use ‘Guna’ instead of ‘Kuna’ or ‘Cuna’.

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