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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. Sometimes, when I spend time in the sea water, I get bites from ‘Sea Lice’ and also ‘Jelly Fish’. These bites make me itch for a while also.

After decades of trying different products, I now use ‘Avon Skin-So-Soft Bug Guard and SPF 30 Sunscreen’ for outdoor activities: hiking,

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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. Some of them are almost worn-out as they go from hand to hand, and never make it to a bank to be replaced. Some dollar bills might be salty as if they were splashed by waves on the canoes. I sometimes paid after putting the money in a sandwich bag so it doesn’t get wet.

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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, someone was looking for a 22mm socket which we loaned him. Today, John asked a question wanting to know where we could buy an ‘Internet Prepaid Refill Card’. A cruiser responded that he has extras we can get from him. We decided to move our boat to a new anchorage where he is anchored.

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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. What we were told is that the cruisers cleaned the island and gathered together on this island for BBQ’s so that’s how the name came about. Now, the Guna maintain the island and charge US$3/person to visit. There are many charter boats that bring the tourists here. We did some snorkeling,

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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. The sun shines much better here than those islands close to the mainland, water is clear, and no bugs.

Many charter sailboats stay here one night or a couple of nights. It seems it is somewhat easy to visit this place.

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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, and a white powdery sand beach! New Year 2016, ‘Year of Red Monkey’, Cheers from Green Island (Kanlildup) in San Blas! On New Year’s Eve, I counted a total of 35 sailboats in this anchorage including some charter boats. It’s very pretty. It reminded of the British Virgin Islands seeing so many sailboats.

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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. The locals paddle their dugout canoe with 50 gallon containers to the river. They dump the river water from a small container to 50 gallons on their canoe. They paddle all the way back to a sailboat. They dump from a small container from 50 gallon containers to a sailboat.

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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, and we needed to watch ourselves entering the anchorage. “Look! There is another sailboat at the anchorage. That’s our friend, Soren from Sweden.” We were excited to see our friend’s boat. We last saw him in Curacao four months ago.

While dropping our anchor,

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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. The island itself is beautiful but the river dumps rain water to the sea. We didn’t really do much snorkeling or swimming yet.

One of things we recently have had a problem with is our garbage collected for two weeks.

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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. We cheerfully donated US$20. Next day, another man came to us for the anchorage fee (US$10).
The anchorage of this village is surrounded by reef. Entering the anchorage,

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