We left at 5am in the morning to make the 4 hour trek via collectivo and 4x4 truck to meet our boat off the East coast of Panama. Our home for the next 5 days was a 36 foot sailboat called Mats de Capo that came complete with a very salty Swedish captain.
Our first day, we sailed for a half day and got our first taste of the paradise called San Blas. These islands are nothing more than white sand and palm trees with some being little more than a tuft in the middle of the Caribbean.
The islands are inhabited by an indigenous group of people called the Kuna. They are separate from both Panama and Colombia and govern themselves. They are a matriacial society and are known for their unique form of quilting using reverse appliqué called Molas.
The Kunas main source of income is from fishing and a small amount of agriculture. We were lucky enough to enjoy a very fresh lobster dinner one evening. Apparently, the Kunas simply dive to the ocean floor (up to depths of 20 meters!) and snag these lobsters with small lasoos. This was one meal that we couldn't help playing with...
We spent 3 days sailing around these islands which were truly one of the most beautiful places that we've ever visited.
On one of our last days, we visited one of the largest Kuna villages (pop. 300). The locals were so friendly and were happy to have us visiting.
The absolute best thing about visiting this village were the children. The moment we hit the dock, we were surrounded by kids begging to have their picture taken so that they could see themselves when you showed them. It was so fun to see them so excited and willing to socialize with us.
The village itself was very rustic and you could tell that things haven't changed much since the Kuna first settled here. We found their choice for a nations flag to be interesting too...
On the last two days of sailing, we were lucky enough to have a few different pods of dolphins visit us and ride the wake of our boat. Having never experienced something like this before, all the passengers on our boat were so excited! The dolphins would do huge jumps out of the sides of the waves and the more we shouted and cheered for them the more they seemed to play for us. Awesome!
We finally made it to Colombia after 5 days of sailing (with only one bout of seasickness on my part during an afternoon of rough seas). We were covered in salt, very sunburned and happy as clams. It was nice to be on land again and we're ready to explore Colombia.