Fun in the Sun in San Blas

Western islands of West Holandes Cays, San Blas, PanamaOn Tuesday we decided to move at last. We moved a few miles to West Holandes Cays. We sailed over, and because the wind had shifted to the NW, we ended up having a nice long sail since we needed to tack to get up to anchorage. So, we sailed past the island a bit and tacked in. The winds were easing along the way which also lengthened the sail a bit.

We dropped the hook near what looked like some delightful reefs. The sun was coming out too! We immediately broke out the snorkeling gear and confirmed some nice coral reefs and fish. After an initial exploration, we got the VideoRay gear out and I showed David the works. We then took it for a spin around the reefs. Great fun!

We spent so much time snorkeling and with the VideoRay, we didn’t have time to go ashore and explore the beautiful coconut-tree-lined islands with white sand beaches. In the evening, we needed to run the generator, so we introduced David and Edel to “Captain Ron”. They really seemed to enjoy it.

During the night we had a big rain squall, and then the boat started turning. I was up several hours watching how close we came to the reefs. But, we were ok. The winds eased quite a bit and the rain stopped.

Yesterday was a great day! Although, initially I was worried because of how close we were to one of the reefs. But, the winds clocked and moved us away and the winds eased all day and the sun came out. We did several snorkeling trips, we also drove the VideoRay for quite a while. We saw trigger fish, reef squid, sting rays, a lion fish, and many of the more common fish and coral as well. I also took a lot of underwater photos.

What really made it special though was David and I took the dinghy ashore and explored the nearby islands. The island NW of us has a wonderful beach on the northern side with coconut trees hanging over the beach providing great shade from the sunshine. We had a great walk. The only thing marring it was the huge amount of plastic trash all up on the shore (something you see on all islands unfortunately). The worst offender is plastic water bottles, but another common item are flip-flop sandals. There are many other plastic bottles (sun tan lotion, baby oil, cosmetics, oil bottles, pill bottles, etc.). But, if you ignored the trash somehow, the scenery was wonderful! It was so wonderful having the sun back as well! We ended up taking the girls to the island later and doing the same walk. This time we brought our cameras and took lots of photos (which I’ll put up in a week from now when we have Internet).

We had a visit from some Kuna Indians who sold Karen a “Mola”. A quilt-like piece of fabric with a pretty fish design on it. She also got a little purse. The local indians are very nice and we often see them going to all the islands and either fishing or tending to plantings or coconut trees. They mostly use hand-made boats with just a pole, or sometimes with a small outboard motor.

The scenery is just fantastic, and is so much better now with the sunshine back. Karen gave me a haircut as the sun set ending a perfect day. We played some games after dinner and then shined a spotlight into the water to see what kind of fish we could attract. We also did some stargazing before bed as the stars were beautiful and clear at last with no city lights or clouds to block the view.

UPDATE: you can view the slideshow of photos from West Holandes Cays in this later post.

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4 Responses to Fun in the Sun in San Blas

  1. Jim says:

    Wow – sounds like paradise! Can’t wait to see the pictures.

  2. Fred Burke says:

    Sounds wonderful Thanks for letting us live vicariously through you. 🙂
    Can’t wait to see the pics.
    In general do the municipalities that are along with coast burn their trash, dump it in the ocean, or what? I ask ’cause I’m wonder how all the plastic is getting on the islands. It can’t all just be from blowing across the ocean surface, can it?

  3. Fred Horch says:

    Hey Frank and Fred!
    Wow, what an adventure. Wish I could come along.
    Too bad about the plastic. Good question about where it comes from. I read that 80% of the plastic floating in the ocean is from land sources and 20% is from shipping traffic.
    Some interesting links about that:
    http://junkraft.blogspot.com/
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Pacific_Garbage_Patch
    We’re all connected aren’t we? Your descriptions of the islands and the reefs are enchanting. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that our world contains such amazing places and that we all have a hand in caring for them. Thanks for reminding us!
    Looking forward to following your travels,
    Fred

  4. Frank Taylor says:

    @Fred: Hey Fred! It’s great hearing from you. We are definitely having a great time. You should read my later post dedicated to “Trash in the Oceans”. And, I’ve posted a lot of photos of the San Blas with a mix of pics showing the sample of trash there. By the way, good luck with your election campaign!

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