February 11th, 2016 the sail to Puerto Perme did not start out very good as the winds were blowing from the north, on the nose and the sea was confused…We had to tack into the wind and this proved to be more difficult than expected. We did not manage to move forward so that the coast guard from Sapzurro came to make sure we were not in trouble. We reassured them that we were OK and confirmed we were sailing to Panama over the radio. Once we were out of the zone with the confused seas we were fine although the waves were still high and the skies were grey. After 6 hours of sailing we were happy to arrive at Puerto Perme with a bit of blue skies. There was a Columbian supply boat already there and they were all amazed we arrived with this “mal tiempo”. We did not think it was that bad, but nevertheless were happy to anchor safely in the bay.
The Guna Yala is an indigenous province in northeast Panama and is home to the Gunas (Indians). The capital of the province is Porvenir. An archipelago of 365 islands is around the coast, of which 36 are inhabited. They say, an island for each day of the year.
I really enjoyed the Guna Yala although I missed the blue skies from Colombia. It was very difficult to take pictures from the women in traditional dress as mostly they do not want you to take any pictures. Some will ask 5 USD to have their picture taken. I wonder if the Guna Indians will be able to keep to their strict traditions with more and more tourists visiting these villages. It is such a fine balance to profit from the tourist money but also to keep the youth interested in this remote life. The sailing was not always easy but we learned a lot about navigation through reefs which will help in French Polynesia.
We visited the following villages : Anchucunda, Carreto, Suledup, Mulatupu, Ustupu, Bahia de Gollondria (Alligandi), Niad, Isla Tigre, Tiadup, Hollandes Cays, Corgidup and Isla Porvenir. Next stop is Portobelo.