Reef & Molas – San Blas Magic

We made our approach early in the morning after having arrived late at night to avoid the risk of the many reefs surrounding all of the islands.  The sail here, as expected, was downwind and with little wind, a mixed blessing at best!

The San Blas Islands of Panama, named by the Spanish conquerors, are the land of the Guna people and run autonomously by them.  Known by the locals as Guna Yala, they are a string of reef strewn, low sand and coral islands seemingly lost in time and yet within 10 miles of the mainland.


The locals live on each island with a leader and congreso, get around in dugout canoes (albeit some with outboards) and sell fish, lobsters and molas to the yachties.  Navigation is tricky, as each island has much more reef than actual land!  We try to approach with the sun high in the sky, the Captain up the mast to see our way in, and hope that the chartplotter is accurate.  We wind our way into the most pristine, beautiful beaches we have ever seen, reminiscent of the Bahamas, but with a much more remote, foreign vibe.  No help here if you make a mistake as evidenced by the wrecks seen everywhere.  Good practice for the South Pacific!

                                                                        We visited only four of the many, many islands here and thoroughly enjoyed the step back in time.  Fascinating to experience a way of life so different than the fabricated priorities we find so important in modern life.  No internet, no phone service, no electricity, no problem.


And on to the Panama Canal…a marvel of modern engineering!



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