Another day in Paradise. I’m starting to see why people say sailing the San Blas islands was their favorite part of South America. And, to be honest, it’s really encouraging me to go hang out in Southeast Asia for a while. There’s something special about being on gorgeous beaches that I just can’t get over.
Today I woke up feeling fairly hungover, despite being the only one on the boat not drinking. We had a hell of a party last night, blasting music and swimming / dancing on the kayak and dinghy (as well as the Sacanagem itself) until at least 2 am. Really fun times. I always love the games you learn from other travelers. One of the best was shakey-face, in which everyone poses for a photo by swinging their faces back and forth as quickly as possible, sort of like a dog drying off from a bath. The result was some pretty funny photos and a simply hilarious video. Unfortunately, I can’t post them here, on pain of death.
Regardless of my faux-hangover, I had some time before we took off so I went for a nice kayak to one of the other islands, which was really, really fun. So fun, in fact, that I later kayaked to two other islands and the snorkeling reef, coming back to the boat each time to make sure I wasn’t holding up our departure. All in all that made for about four and a half hours of kayaking, which felt great.
The islands here are typical postcard beautiful. Palm trees, perfect white sand, crystal-clear water that takes on shades of blue that I’d forgotten were possible.
I’d say Turtle Island, which was uninhabited, was my favorite. There weren’t in fact any turtles on it, and unfortunately since nobody was living there, there was a fair amount of litter inland, but the water around it made for some incredible snorkeling (with only my little pocket goggles as equipment) as I chased one school of fish after another through the water and under the rocks.
After getting back from there (my third island, I guess) I heard from the boat’s cook that another island held a whale skull. Since this clearly had to be seen, after about 20 minutes to recuperate and make sure I had enough sunscreen on, I headed out there, this time with three of us on the kayak and one trailing behind. The drag from having someone in the water was too much, so we eventually just split it into two trips. Had a nice walk around the island in an accidental but delightful trek the wrong way around, and found the whale skull just before getting back to our kayak. We didn’t even recognize it at first, we were so convinced that we had passed it by. I had a suspicion though that what we thought offhand was a big treestump was not actually from a plant, so we went back a bit, and there it was.
Afterward we came back and had a delightful lunch, again of the enormous dorado we caught on the way up here. Sadly it’s gone, but it made for 24 ample (and delicious) servings before being consumed.
Now we’re in transit and I’m getting some much needed rest and time out of the sun after this morning’s exertions. We have two more days in the islands, and I think I might have to come back to Panama to see what the fuss is with Bocas del Toro that everyone keeps talking about.
Ok, I forgot to mention that when kayaking I also spotted a ray that I followed around for a while. Those suckers are fast, but I was able to keep up in the kayak so long as it didn’t turn. When it turned, though, it was on a dime, and I had to push as hard as I could just to keep it in sight.
Ah, I almost forgot, I saw a 360 degree rainbow around the sun. It was beautiful. I’d only heard of them as pilot’s rainbows, and thought you had to be flying at cloud level to see them, but apparently not.
It was so captivating that I kept having to remind myself not to stare at the sun.