Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Mamaraga, Apaidup, and Ogumnaga

Our position today is 9 14.45N 078 15.2W - in a place called Snug Harbor. It is formed by the islands Yauala, Mamaraga, Apaidup and Ogumnaga. Try to say those 3 times fast!! The name for the harbor comes from the English schooners that used to stop for coconuts in the days of the sailing merchant ships. Getting here was tricky as we worked our way through many reefs and around shoals and small islands. It's so much fun when both the chart plotter and paper charts have the area marked as "unsurveyed." We have a Panama Cruisisng Guide which does have waypoints that have been accurate and helpful. We may stay here for a day or so because winds and seas are forecasted to pick up - when they mention 12 foot seas - they are usually off by 3-4 feet and it's hard for Equinox to make any headway when the seas reach those heights.

Yesterday we were still at Mamitupu and went for a long walk with Pablo Perez. He has started a very small hotel on the island is looking forward to having some eco-tourists staying there. The hotel has running water and occasionally electricity. He had lived in England for a while and married and English women. Kuna Yala is based on a matrilineal society and have also created laws that do not allow Kunas to marry non-Kunas. Unfortuanly, Pablo's wife was not accepted on the island so she lives in England and visits occasionally.

We took our dinghy across the bay and met with 3 other couples from boats anchored with us. Our first stop was at a fresh water lake that has crocodiles. Didn't see any - Moira not really disappointed because we were on foot near the edge of the lake and she has watched enough National Geographic shows to know that they can move faster than she can! We then walked through areas on the mainland that each Kuna family cultivates. Calabash, bananas, cocoa, breadfruit, pineapples and coconuts were just some of the produce that we saw. Everything belongs to the Kunas and you can't take anything without permission.