Posted by: rosyroadsadventures | February 7, 2013

Needy Natives & Crew

N 9° 25.6′   W 78° 34.1′

Narganá, Kuna Yala

A couple more posts, and internet willing, we will have the blog caught up to the present moment.  Happily found working wifi (free, too!) on this visit to the Narganá anchorage that has been better than Digicel service.


Our spot in Chichime, flying the Panama courtesy flag

1/16 – It has been over a week since we arrived in the more frequented San Blas cruising grounds. We worked our way to Porvenir to officially check in to Panama and are exploring the different anchorages. The skies are mostly blue with scattered puffy clouds and a constant breeze has kept the bugs away. It is cool enough that a long-sleeved cotton shirt feels comfortable in the evenings. The waters, away from the river outlets of the rainforest, are a spectacular clear blue-green and inviting, dotted with tiny islands. I am back into the pleasant routine of an afternoon swim.

All should be good, but today it is my turn to be the grumpy cruiser. I’m not sure if it is the extra chores we have living on the hook or the many wants of the Kunas, which today are both irritating. Cooking for my ever hungry bunch is getting tiring and complicated and now includes frequent bread-baking. Yesterday English Muffins, today whole wheat sandwich bread and now the Captain is pining for rum buns. The veggie supply is growing dangerously slim and I have started dipping into the dreaded canned products again.

Clean-up chores are multiplying faster than I can keep up. Bandit has adjusted to the new potty routine and both dogs are making regular deposits on the bow, regardless of shore visits, which really is a good thing. Sometimes there is so much activity up there I think there must be some human contributions too, but Bob swears he is using the proper facilities. He is caught up on boat maintenance, absorbed in another book and the division of labor at the moment is severely out of balance.

We are away from the village communities and the requests have multiplied. Some of the tiny islands have a family living in a solo hut. The rest travel in by boat from more distant locations to work the tourist trade.  It is not uncommon to have a few visitors – usually a mola vendor or fisherman, or perhaps someone needing something – immediately after we arrive in a new anchorage, but in this location on Chichime it just hasn’t stopped. Our trawler is the only power vessel here, and I think we are getting more than our share of asks.

I don’t mind giving out water, but my supply of disposable drinking cups and bottles is almost depleted. These folks don’t seem to start their day at sea with a container of liquid replenishment stashed in their vessels. Only those requesting diesel (!!) have come prepared. I gave out the last of the sunscreen I dare, and the magazine supply – the number one Kuna request – was exhausted many islands ago.

Proud of my earlier efforts to be neighborly, I now feel like a Scrooge.  Can we give them cookies, candy, cake, caramel, sodas? I thought handing out sweets was against the rules? Meanie that I am, I turned down two requests for milk for the kids. I’m not drinking my coffee black, sorry. I might eventually feel guilty for that one, but not today. Dog food??? Ackkk!!! What do we look like, a supply barge?? The one request we expected and have not received even once was to charge cell phones. Solar technology and generators seem to have resolved that dilemma, but steady access to basic goods seems out of reach.

Bob just shakes his head and returns to his book, leaving me to stew over whether it was the Kunas or the tourists from the camping resort accompanying them who failed to plan for the needs of their pets and whether they are simply needy or opportunists and if animals lives are truly in danger. No one offers to buy or trade, they all want handouts. Today I feel stuck on a messy boat, with mindless chores, being pestered with requests. I’m ready for a marina in civilization, quality internet time and some nice restaurant meals. I’m probably going to have to wait another month or two. Life in paradise is tough, isn’t it?

In the afternoon we take the dogs out exploring and dinghy to a two palm tree island with a swimming beach. It is the perfect size for Bandit to have a rare leashless outing since it is so tiny that our little escape artist is always in sight. She delights in a romp without towing me along. Lady happily fetches the stick Bob throws into the water, relishing a swim followed by a vigorous roll in the fluffy white sand that leaves her looking more like a white than a black Lab. I capture some priceless images of my aging little pals frolicking in paradise. More memories are made, and the morning’s irritation fades into appreciation of our short time in this remote and beautiful place. It has to be a whole lot harder to live here than to visit for a couple of months.


A Bandit-sized island with no place to escape!


Dinghy outings to the beach are such fun!!


Ah, that feels SO good. And what’s a little more sand for the humans to clean up?

The dogs barking alerts us to another approaching vessel. Bob yells “You’re going to like this one – its the veggie boat!!” The panga is chock full of all sorts of fresh produce. I select the goodies that will save us from the cans for a while longer, and thank the guys for coming out to attend to our needs.

The next requests are for water and these folks come prepared with several jugs. The dry season has probably made it very difficult to keep their cisterns full. No problem, the watermaker is chugging along and I feel good that we can share.

Equilibrium has been restored. All’s well in paradise again.


One of the produce vendors that makes rounds in some of the more popular San Blas anchorages, selling fruits & veggies & sometimes other goodies like eggs, chicken & beer



  1. Great pictures!

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