As far as exploring the islands and waters, one day, we took several walkabouts, first on Uchutupu Dummat,
on its shoreline and cutacross trails through low growing plants and bushes. we spied a noni,
a popular medicinal plant known also in the USA. We were very surprised to see, on the windy
southshores of this island, a tourist campsite of a dozen nylon tents, filled with backpackers,
mostly Europeans. We're told they pay the Kuna for the privilege of overnighting here.
Over to Uchutupu Pippi, we met the extended family living on opposite ends of this less vegetated cay.
On both islands are the ubiquious coconuts, private property of the Kunas, who sell them to the
Colombian trade ships that come to trade them for foodstuffs, cloth, manufactured
goods, etc., at the populated mainland villages. Another valuable trade item is aluminum cans,
which we are very glad to give the Kunas. The Kunas, by the way, are tiny well proportioned people,
with brown-red chocolate skin and straight black hair that most wear short, both genders.
The older women tend to wear the traditional dress you see in the photos, younger women
wear of both modern and traditional clothing, and the men and boys usually wear shorts
or jeans and T-shirts, and baseball caps. Their Spanish is heavily accented by their Kuna
roots, resulting in a pleasant sounding lyrical voice. The Kuna almost always smile
and they are all quick to joke and laugh, even the shy ones.
A second day, we headed out to do some snorkeling, both off of the tiny isleta that
is at the anchorage's entrance, as well as in Pippi's surrounding reef. The tiny isleta
revealed that much of the sea floor is covered with eel grass, but there was also a nice
coral field to be explored at one end of it. The waters are very clear, as promised,
with visibility in the 30-40' range. When the sun is bright overhead, the undersea floor of
white sand and coral, with lots of small fish of various varieties, makes for
some breathtaking snorkeling. In fact, the San Blas Islands are supposed to be
some of the best remaining live coral reefs in the world, and with the water clarity,
we look forward to doing a lot more snorkeling during our stay in the islands.
In addition to the fun we had snorkeling and walking on the various islands,
jamming and partying with other cruisers, it's really nice to just sit and
vegetate on RHAPSODY, watching the waters sparkle in the sunshine as they lap
quietly against the hull and dinghy. So, we also spent quite a few hours just
unwinding and relaxing in this tropical paradise.
Finally, after 4 nights at Chichime, we decided that we should get out
and explore some more of the islands here. We still have not officially
"Checked In" to the Kuna Yala Comarca, but the Port Captain's office on
Porvenir is rumored to be closed for the next few days for holidays, so
from Chichime we decide to go to the nearby Lemon Cays.