The horseshoe bay at Puerto Perme is a perfect anchorage, just find any good spot in the middle and you have 5 meter depth , the breeze is soothing , waves are non existent and the depth is adequate even when the wind shifts 180 degrees and the tranquility is overwhelming , so much so that we went to bed around 8pm and woke up at 6am. 10 hours of non interrupted sleep ! What more can you ask for ?
As the Blue Pearl crew slowly woke up we started to look around and listen , nothing .. not a sound , peace and quiet all around us and after a very slow morning we made our way ashore, landing the dinghy between some ulu’s that were pulled ashore and we slowly made our way through the village . Old farm equipment (or train locomotives ?) quietly rusting away , horses and donkeys grazing under some palm trees and here and there some Kuna that looked as startled at us as we at them.
As we wandered about we encountered more and more people , everyone friendly and the ‘hOla’s and Buena’s were exchanged at every passing. As we walked along Lauren drew the most attention with her blond hair and fair skin and before she knew it there was a circle of kids surrounding her , looking at her and the bravest of little girls even touching here hair and hugging her ! , As you can imagine Lauren was quite overwhelmed by all the attention and started to hide behind daddy which the kids thought was hilarious but also gave her some space
Slowly walking towards the, what we later learned was the ‘Old Village’ through lush green on a path surrounded by banana trees, palm trees and bright green grass ,
we encountered more and more Kuna , the Men wearing T-shirts and shorts but the Women in brightly colored traditional clothing , arms and legs covered in bead bracelets and their clothing all kinds of bright yellow , red and green . What a sight !
The ‘Old Village’ is what you would imagine from traditional villages from hundreds of years ago , thatch huts , walls made out of bamboo and roofs of broad leafed banana and palm branches . Inside the huts hammocks were people rested or slept over hardened dirt floors with laundry outside hanging to dry.
This is not some sort of tourist attraction , these are a people that choose to live their lives their traditional way, as their ancestors have done probably 1000’s of years before them the only difference being that they now have solar power in some of their homes.
As we reached the end of the village and stood around trying to take in all these new impressions suddenly a horse with a rider appeared from the thick mangroves, crossed the river with bamboo poles laced to the saddle dragging behind the horse as they crossed the little stream . It took me a few moments to realize that this is exactly how these people live , move about , haul stuff from one end to the other .
As Robin and Lauren wanted to follow the horse and rider we made our way back into the village , walking different dirt paths we suddenly came to the hut were the horse belonged and curious smiling heads appeared from everywhere , some of the braver kids again thought Robin and Lauren were worthy of their immediate attention , so much so that some older ladies scolded the kids probably warning them to leave the gringo’s alone ! 🙂 We just smiled and Lauren created a little space of her own by imitating an angry cat . This seemed to have an adverse effect as the kids found it hilarious 🙂
Slowly wandering back through the village , stopping at the odd shop looking inside (dried goods , eggs , cans , drinks basic groceries available) and various signs saying that inside this or that hut the owner has some gas (for outboards) available we stopped at the local bakery to buy some of the local bread and something that looked and tasted like ‘oliebollen’ 🙂 (doughnuts for the non dutch)
Making our way back to the little beach where we left the dinghy we several times heard English ‘good morning’ or ‘how are you doing and what is your name’ so we stopped and had great little conversations with the kids. The Panamanian government is serious about English being taught at school and it shows ! , as we waved goodbye to the string of kids that followed us around and landing back on Blue Pearl safely we had a few visitors.
The first , a father and 2 sons , stepped onto the transom and into the cockpit where Dad started to unpack his wares , some cilantro , some mandarines, a coconut etc and wanted to sell them . As we provisioned quite well in Colombia we really didn’t need anything so after a few exchanges in Spanish , learning a few words in the Kuna language which Joline wrote down ‘just in case’ they left with 2 AA penlight batteries in exchange for a coconut 🙂
The next visitor announced himself shortly after and at least asked permission to come on board ! , he introduced himself as the local schoolteacher and spoke English very well ,
telling stories about how he studied in Panama City and he explained how Anachucuna the ‘Old Village’ became too crowded with people and some people moved to the west side of the horsehoe bay and started ‘Pueblo Nuovo’
After some pics and saying our goodbye’s the schoolteacher left us and dark fell , we had again a fantastic night sleep and early the next morning we made our way to first the Island of Soskandup where we anchored quite alone in front of some deserted looking thatch huts
and now we are anchored between a few shoals in front of the village (or island ?) of Mamitupu , we have just paid our ($10 for BluePearl and $2 per adult, kids no charge) anchoring fee to the Guna Congresso representative that came by in an Ulu , explaining that we are welcome to visit the village , and we can’t wait to get ashore tomorrow and do some more exploring !