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Showing posts from March, 2014

Pathway to the Pacific

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It was finally here, the moment we’d been anticipating and planning for since we started - time to cross into the peaceful waters of the vast Pacific Ocean via the Panama Canal.  There was another long list of preparations to be made and logistics to consider before the actual day arrived.  Mark researched the rules and regulations, charges and surcharges, dos and don’ts.  The family watched documentaries about the history of the canal, all the lives that were lost during its construction, the controversy of ownership, and the plans for its future.  One afternoon was spent visiting one of the canal locks to get a birds-eye view of this man-made marvel.  I grabbed a great little information booklet from the gift shop that would guide our travel learning for the next week or so… yet another way to grasp the significance of this part of our journey.  



Prior to the trip, we docked in Shelter Bay Marina for some heavy duty Pacific provisioning and to meet with the agent who was organizing o…

Hey, Hey We’re the Monkeys

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After leaving the San Blas Islands, we anchored between Isla Linton and the mainland of Panama with one goal in mind… to see the monkeys.  We read about monkeys being here in our cruising guide by Eric Bauhaus - a must if you are cruising these parts of the world. (Important side note: The usual navigation systems available for chart plotters are not nearly accurate enough for safe travel between the reefs and islands of the area.  Buy the book and enter the waypoints manually get his electronic charts for Open CPM).  
Anyway, this was one place we couldn’t miss.  Other cruisers had warned us, though, to keep safe distance.  The monkeys have been conditioned to expect food and will hang onto people relentlessly when they try to leave the island, not wanting to let this easy food source go!  Thankfully, the monkeys don’t want to get wet, so they’ll avoid the water.  With bananas in our dinghy, we drove over to the beach to meet the monkeys.  



First, we sat in the dinghy and threw a few b…

The Kuna Yala Experience

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The Kuna Yala Experience
Okay, so I thought we were being adventuresome in our previous travels, but the past month takes the cake.  We left Colombia about three weeks ago, and sailed into an ancient time and place among the Kuna Yala people of the San Blas Islands right off the Caribbean coast of Panama.  I’m not even sure where to begin, and Mark is working on a video that will tell a more vivid story than I ever could, but I just wanted to give you a few glimpses of our surroundings.  
We decided to land in one of the eastern islands, Mamitupu, that is away from the more common cruising grounds, and we’re so glad we did.  That first morning, once we were anchored, I shared with Mark how excited, but terrified I was to be in such a remote place.  We were the only boat in the area, and I wasn’t sure how they would respond to us being there.  But within moments, those fears were put to rest when a Kuna man came paddling by in his ulu (dugout canoe) with a huge, warm smile and a friendly…