After hanging around Panama City for almost two weeks, I finally found a boat that would put up with me long enough to make it to Colombia. Shocking…I know. As I met the other passengers, I knew it was going to be one hell of a trip.
The San Blas Islands are on the Caribbean side of Panama. About a hundred years ago, the Panamanian government was trying to do something with the native Kuna population that was spread out all over Panama. They made a deal with the Kuna saying that as long as they recognize the Panamanian government, they can have the San Blas Islands. At the time, the government thought San Blas was just a pathetic dump. They couldn’t have been more wrong. Most of the islands are currently inhabited with the Kuna people, yet some may only have four or five people living there, while others have hundreds. Think of a cartoon…you know, when they have a little island sticking out of the sea with only one palm tree on it. Ya…the archipelago was littered with those.
When we arrived to the boat, we grabbed what we would need for the next few days and then put our packs in storage. All I needed was the swimsuit I already had on, with hopes of not once having to wear a shirt (which I didn’t). Although the boat was a little cramped, it was absolutely beautiful. There were some cabins we could sleep in, while others choose to sleep either out in the common area or on deck. I attempted to sleep out on top the first night, but of course, right as I was about to fall asleep, it began to rain. That was my last attempt to sleep on deck.
There was a fun crew on the boat. Tony, our captain, had been sailing for almost 20 years and had a great personality. His Colombian girlfriend helped out also, but in my opinion, she was the real boss. There was an Australian, Canadian, Californian, two Spaniards, a Swiss, and lastly, an English girl. She was the only other girl on board, and honestly, I couldn’t believe how well she handled living with almost all guys for six days. Kudos to her.
We spent the first few days just cruising around the Panamanian shoreline, soaking up the views. Boat life isn’t the most interesting thing to write about, but I definitely had some amazing experiences. We would stare at the skyline for hours, listen to music, have beer with breakfast, always had fresh seafood to eat (yes, I did try the fish and lobster…for those who don’t know, I absolutely hate seafood), read books for the entire afternoon, and honestly, just lounged around.
There is not to much to write about…but I think it can best be summarized through the photos I took. Check them out.