Funny to think that we are not beach people. We go island to island and do not hang out on the beaches sunning ourselves and drinking cocktails with little umbrellas in them. So choosing to spend a day on the beach is unusual for us and this is what we did.
The call of the islands was nearly deafening. Who can resist the gorgeous white sand beaches, coconut palm trees stretching up to say hello, interesting shell/driftwood/coral decorations laid out like lawn statues, thatched huts that look like they are from another era, and the hospitable Guna people that live in this primitive paradise? This island had a restaurant and we made reservations for dinner the next day with plans of spending the entire day on the island.
It rained all night and all morning and we were afraid we would have to cancel our island day. But around noon the skies cleared up and the sun promised to stay. The rest of the day was truly lovely. I think the rain may have cooled things down a little, adding to our enjoyment. Winter in San Blas is 85-90 degrees with 90-100% humidity.
At first we were awkward and stood around on the beach like now what do we do? Jason from Blue Moon brought a kite he just bought and wanted to see if they could get it flying. As they worked on it, I took my camera for a walk around the island. Back in California we had crows that would take over an area. They lived in huge flocks and made a horrendous racket. On the east coast of the US, I saw large flocks of starlings. They could be noisy, too, but the sound was more pleasant on the ears than the crows. Here, and most of the places we’ve visited in the Caribbean, grackles seem to rule the area. Again, though they can be noisy, the sound is much easier on the ears than crows.
I was entertained watching their antics. One flew in and startled another and they went into a head bobbing and wing flailing dance where they faced each other down. As quickly as it started, it ended and they happily shared the foraging area.
The guys got the kite all pumped up and I helped them launch it. Dave wore the harness to get it up and show Jason the basic controls.
Jason patiently listened to Dave’s instructions and saw how each action affected the kite.
These kites are no joke. They are huge and catch a lot wind, powering up and carrying off anyone holding it. I saw a professional kiteboarder get accidentally launched off the beach and into the rocks when we were at Union Island. So Dave is really careful when he is teaching someone new.
When it was Jason’s turn to try it, dave stood nervously by ready to grab hold of Jason in case anything should go wrong.
Jason could feel that the power in the kite was not trivial and was nervous himself.
But Jason focused on it and Dave grew confident enough to give him some space. Jason did really well and even brought the kite down to me to land it. Launching and landing are the hardest parts and he nailed it.
Kiting broke the ice and we all relaxed on the beach, feeling more at home than when we came ashore.
Steve from Slow Flight pulled out a bag of Doritos and the grackles sensed the food. Steve obliged by tossing some chips on the beach and the grackles gobbled them up.
They were a little skittish being so near to us so most flew in, grabbed a chip, and took it away to eat.
They supplied us with an hour’s entertainment watching them.
Soon it was time to go to dinner. The main hut was where they kept a cooler of drinks, a shop with some mola products (like koozies and purses), and took our orders. I think the cooking was done out back, though. We sat at a wobbly table under a palm frond roof for protection in case the rain returned. We had a choice of fish, conch, or octopus. We all opted for fish, but he insisted we should try some octopus. I’ll just say that it was a fun and interesting experience to eat at such a rustic Guna restaurant. However, I’ll be doing a lot of cooking on the boat! They were very kind and appreciative of our business; we just eat very differently. Regardless, it was a nice day on the island and we need to take advantage of being in such beautiful locations more often. Next up, it’s time to go meet our son in Panama City and check into the country, so we head for mainland Panama.