PS pix added on May 3
|A boat called Fantasy in the West Holandes Cays|
We've given ourselves 10 days to "fatten up" in the San Blas islands. In years past, half that time in the tropics would have done us nicely. We're not so far gone that we don't remember how tightly time is accounted for when you've got a job to go back to (and that's not a "boat job"). But ahead of us, all going according to plan, is the Panama canal transit, and then the Very Long Passage to the Marqesas. Four lean weeks, maybe more, at sea. So we'll take the full 10 days.
|A cool wind comes through the cut|
|In the high season, up to 40 boats have been counted in this anchorage|
|Derelict huts - or are they? Gone fishing?|
It's hot out here in the eastern Holandes cays. Oh my lord is it hot. And damp. The sun has gone, and the rain has arrived, along with the bugs. I'm covered in tiny bites. Am I putting you off?
|Lemon lime and bitters made in Trinidad - with ice|
|Enki's big shade saves the day - again|
The season is changing. A few days ago the wind was blowing from the north-east, as it does consistently from November to April. The sky was clear, and even from a dinghy or a kayak, you could see the magnificent coral banks and indigo fish as clearly as if you were in an aquarium. Then yesterday the wind dropped off and swung indolently around the clock, big banks of heavy grey cloud lowered themselves onto the horizon, the sea turned pearly-grey and as night fell the thunder and lightning show began.
|NZ-made and registered - Exit Strategy in the East Holandes cays|
In the mangroves, the bugs read the shift in the weather. They didn't announce their intentions but the old hands knew. Yesterday morning, there was an exodus of boats from the shallow, gin-clear anchorage known as the Swimming Pool out into deeper waters. Bug alert. By then, I was a goner, bitten all over. Excited by the lack of wind, I'd taken the kayak out very early in the morning for a couple of hours. The paddling was easy, and I nosed my way through the island channels, close to the mangroves - what a fine meal I made for those no-see-ums.
|The vege men|
|The vege men came with family and friends one day|
|Molas are an important part of the Kuna economy - Venancia is a shrewd dealer|
|Venancio reels me in - I didn't offer much resistance|
|The trip out has been more than worth their while|
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