• Public Gallery  • Help  
• Join Now!  • Log In  • Feature Tour
 Gerard Coulson | Home > 
San Blas 1
The sail from Colombia was good, lightish winds and a lumpy sea made it uncomfortable at times but we made good time and were rewarded with our first views of the San Blas at around lunchtime.  And what views!  The San Blas islands are home to the Kuna Indians; you'd be forgiven for not having heard of them, being a small group of islands belonging to the Rep of Panama, but nevertheless the Kunas are fiercely independent and shunning the western way of life.

The islands are small (often football-field size), made of sand, crammed with tall, swaying palm trees and set in azur water behind a barrier reef that prevents them being washed away.  On some of these islands live the indians, in grass huts in clearings in the trees.  Most of the islands do not have fresh water or electricity; all water and food is brought in by ulus which are hand-hewn dugout canoes.  These indians are some of the last 'unspoilt' people on earth and their happiness despite their poverty (they are poor, but only materially) has to be seen to be believed.  It is very humbling.  They live by fishing, and tending 'farm' patches on the nearby mainland that they reach by dugout, generally sailing one way (their sails are made from any fabric they can find so are often a riot of colour) and paddling back against the onshore trade winds.  Coconuts grow in abundance on the islands and they are collected and sold by the Kunas; us ‘gringos’ are not allowed to take them.

Our clockwise circular route round the western San Blas started at the Cocobanderos (uninhabited, idyllic), Green Island (local Croc, uninhabited, idyllic), Maquina (small, inhabited, pretty) and the Islas Carti (densely populated, dirty).
Date(s): January 2007. Album by Gerard Coulson. Photos by Gerard Coulson. 1 - 92 of 92 Total. 9461 Visits.
Start SlideshowSelect images and click to download to your computer 
Enlarge photo 1

We arrive in the San Blas, Cocobandero Cays

Enlarge photo 2

Jonty hoists Panama

Enlarge photo 3

The kids go ashore to explore the tiny island of Orduptarboat

Enlarge photo 4

A bonfire on the island for supper, burning rubbish and...

Enlarge photo 5

toasting marshmallows!

Enlarge photo 6

Some Kunas overnighting on the island, they live much further south

Enlarge photo 7

An 'ulu'

Enlarge photo 8

Under sail

Enlarge photo 9

Orduptarboat

Enlarge photo 10

Moving on

Enlarge photo 11

Beccy messing around

Enlarge photo 12

Clarabella at anchor off Green Island

Enlarge photo 13

Ashore on Green Island

Enlarge photo 14

San Blas I 88

Enlarge photo 15

San Blas I 89

Enlarge photo 16

Eric and Geniya

Enlarge photo 17

Our quiet anchorage

Enlarge photo 18

San Blas I 10

Enlarge photo 19

San Blas I 11

Enlarge photo 20

Ashore with Jan from Decourcy Spirit

Enlarge photo 21

San Blas I 13

Enlarge photo 22

Murray

Enlarge photo 23

Jan and Jonty

Enlarge photo 24

The boys on green Island, with Clarabella at anchor

Enlarge photo 25

Kuna caretakers set sail

Enlarge photo 26

San Blas I 19

Enlarge photo 27

Decourcy Spirit, Clarabella and Meta at anchor

Enlarge photo 28

San Blas I 21

Enlarge photo 29

San Blas I 22

Enlarge photo 30

Happy Girl

Enlarge photo 31

Lots of energy

Enlarge photo 32

Playing off the easter end of Green Island

Enlarge photo 33

San Blas I 26

Enlarge photo 34

San Blas I 27

Enlarge photo 35

warming up before a trash-burn

Enlarge photo 36

Locals approaching

Enlarge photo 37

Kunas alongside to sell Mols

Enlarge photo 38

Jonty and Merlin from Myrdinn

Enlarge photo 39

Myrdinn, at Los Grullos

Enlarge photo 40

Monica gets a lift back from the beach!

Enlarge photo 41

An airplane announcement, Kuna style

Enlarge photo 42

Ashore for supper at the 'resort' on Los Grullos

Enlarge photo 43

San Blas I 36

Enlarge photo 44

San Blas I 37

Enlarge photo 45

More mola sellers

Enlarge photo 46

Local transport

Enlarge photo 47

One of the mola ladies

Enlarge photo 48

It's busy!

Enlarge photo 49

M with some of the molas that we bought.

Enlarge photo 50

The ladies who sold us very beautiful molas.  They do not like their photos being taken.  Both ladies were good fun!

Enlarge photo 51

Ashore on Maquina

Enlarge photo 52

more molas

Enlarge photo 53

Eric gives a sens of scale to grass huts on Maquina

Enlarge photo 54

San Blas I 90

Enlarge photo 55

San Blas I 91

Enlarge photo 56

San Blas I 47

Enlarge photo 57

San Blas I 48

Enlarge photo 58

The boys cause a lor of interest with a football

Enlarge photo 59

San Blas I 50

Enlarge photo 60

Rebecca

Enlarge photo 61

A lovely little local girl who laughed all the time

Enlarge photo 62

San Blas I 53

Enlarge photo 63

San Blas I 54

Enlarge photo 64

These all turned out to see us off!

Enlarge photo 65

We head ashore to the mainland with a Kuna guide

Enlarge photo 66

San Blas I 55

Enlarge photo 67

The local car-park.  Kunas 'commute' from the islands to the mainland to work small farm plots

Enlarge photo 68

Some of the San Blas Islands.  The boats are on the left of the island in the middle

Enlarge photo 69

Our return trip

Enlarge photo 70

San Blas I 59

Enlarge photo 71

San Blas I 60

Enlarge photo 72

Rebecca and Juliette

Enlarge photo 73

San Blas I 62

Enlarge photo 74

One of these dropped down next to me!

Enlarge photo 75

On Maquina again

Enlarge photo 76

San Blas I 65

Enlarge photo 77

San Blas I 66

Enlarge photo 78

This is the schoolroom!

Enlarge photo 79

San Blas I 68

Enlarge photo 80

We spent a very rough 24 hours here once the wind increased; lots of pitching.

Enlarge photo 81

Babies go with parents in the ulus regardless of weather.

Enlarge photo 82

We stop for lunch at the Islas Carti, a group of small islands very close together.

Enlarge photo 83

San Blas I 72

Enlarge photo 84

San Blas I 73

Enlarge photo 85

San Blas I 74

Enlarge photo 86

San Blas I 75

Enlarge photo 87

Tom and G go ashore for shopping

Enlarge photo 88

San Blas I 77

Enlarge photo 89

San Blas I 78

Enlarge photo 90

Monica with local ladies

Enlarge photo 91

San Blas I 80

Enlarge photo 92

San Blas I 81

 
 Select All.