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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.
After seeing many islands, it is common to see piles of plastic bottles, old flip-flops, and Croc shoes (some fake) on shore or in the water. These days, where people live, everyone uses so many plastic bottles and packaged products. I am one of everyone.

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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. People put a nail high on the palm tree to hold the cellular phone to get the best signal. We have seen some solar panels and TV antennas in the most villages, but no internet so far.
The only way to visit this part of San Blas is by boat.

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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’. I tried to remember his appearance to thank him later even though they look similar to each other. I was hoping he would follow us but he didn’t. I haven’t seen him in the village either. Instead, we had lots of children visitors. They hold their hands on the side of the boat and just curiously watch our movement.

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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. Later, they were kindly showing us around in their village. I invited them for dinner. They didn’t show up. I realized later it is far away to row back and forth just for dinner. We have leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch now.

When we visited the island,

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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. The chief wrote a receipt after we paid $10 for staying at the anchorage and explained that it covers staying at the nearby islands as well.In the afternoon, as the sun appeared, we decided to go to the island. The sun helps us to see the bottom of the water when approaching a new location.

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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’, John shouted. We are relieved but we still had to watch the bottom approaching the anchorage. What if the boat hits a rock… Is it going to sink? Most likely not but how would we fix the problem, if any? We don’t need any of these ifs… No one lives in this area.

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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’. I read that the Gunas prefer their land to be called ‘Guna Yala’ instead of ‘San Blas’.

We are taking an off-the-beaten route visiting different Guna Indian Villages on the way to Panama Canal. Our first stop, the southern Guna village is ‘Anachucuna’ in Puerto Perme.

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