Thursday, April 12, 2012

Simple Bliss

After finding propane (and inventing a way to actually have our horizontal tank filled by gravity) on one of the San Blas islands, exploring the waters around Dog Island – where we snorkeled on a wreck, which was quite amazing – and waiting around for the vegetable boat to show up, Mark and I arrived at one of the most remote and outer laying anchorages of Kuna Yala. While the wind from the ocean keeps the temperature down and the wind generator happy, the extensive reefs protect us from the swell. The water around us is drop dead gorgeous and I can’t get enough of just sitting outside and looking around. When standing on Irie’s deck, we see starfish scattered on the sandy bottom and the occasional ray or shark swim by.

Settled into the new environs, we handed our friends from SV Reach, SV Infinity, SV Kaya and SV Sawadi their share of fresh vegetables and were rewarded with an abundance of freshly caught (and cleaned!) fish. Not only were we stocked up on veggies and treated with a big rainstorm that nearly filled our water tank, we now had protein for a week as well! Welcome to the blissful central lagoon for an extended stay!

Having so many “youngsters” around means that there is always something to do: early morning yoga, snorkeling, swimming or beach combing during the day, fishing (hunting) for the men in the afternoon, baking at any part of the day and social gatherings with new recipes and wonderful food at night. And, of course, there are plenty of quiet days spent reading or enjoying time with the other half. One day, Mark and I explored a big chunk of sea and shores by dinghy and snorkeled in the "Japanese Garden", where we – unfortunately – saw a lionfish. Since that day we have seen plenty more on the reef patches around Irie. They are very pretty, but kill the reefs and mess up the ecosystem by feeding on the bottom layers of the food chain and reproducing en masse without having natural predators. It appears to be a real problem in the Caribbean.

I can keep going on about the beauty of this area. I sure think about it every day the sun is out and the water is clearly and attractively shimmering beneath. The only thing missing is a beautiful beach with palm trees to string our hammock, but if that were the case, more boats and cruisers would find their way to the outskirts and never leave.  As it is, more and more sailors feel confident enough to weave through the many reef patches to get here and anchor in relative solitude. But, if you’ll excuse me now, I have to go back on deck and stare at the breaking reefs on the horizon and the turquoise water around us. Maybe I’ll see one of the pretty rays protrude above the surface and land with a splash back into the shallow depths… 

Bright corals and pretty fish enrich the wreck at Dog Island

On a funky day without wind, we could see our anchor from Irie's deck

Eating a freshly made bagel (thank you, Gretchen!) on my own bagel!

Having our friends Michele and Mark(o) from SV Reach over for dinner and wine, and more wine...

The view from Irie I have come to love very much!


Pieter Kommerij said...

Hi Guys, great post... The other day, when snorkeling in the bay of Parnaioca (Ilha Grande Brazil; also a remote location where hardly anybody goes...) we were treated well: a lot of reef life: including a couple of turtles, squid etc....
Pls allow me to ask you about none organic trash: when out there, what do you do with the none organic trash (the plastics, paper etc etc). We dont have a good "system" yet.. (rather then stashing it in the ancor compartiment and waiting for an oportunity on land to dispose of it...) and also: apparently boat designers surely have neglected this part... no space left for this item..) what do you guys do and think??? Best rgds Pieter

Liesbet said...

Hi Pieter,

Brazil sounds like an interesting and exciting place to cruise as well, based on your comments. Did you sail there from Europe? Are you Dutch?

Garbage is indeed a bit of a problem when cruising in more remote areas. I could write a whole blog as an answer your question... and I will! So, keep a look out for my next blog post and in the meantime, the short answer is: we burn plastic and some paper/cardboard to start the fire, sink tin cans and (shattered) glass in deep water, the Kunas take our aluminum cans to sell, we rip paper in small pieces and throw that and thin toilet tissue overboard at night or off shore (it dissolves quickly) and save anything else (like engine oil, batteries, ...) for proper disposal on shore one day. The anchor locker is big enough for that! :-)

Pieter Kommerij said...

Hi Liesbet, Yes I am from Holland (from the Island Ameland as a matter of fact...) I live in Brazil already some 15 years, and the last three live aboard the Catamaran. I didnt sail her from Europe.
Thanks for yr comments on garbage.. and i will surely be on the lookout for yr next blog post.
Fair winds and enjoy..