Wednesday, November 12, 2008

2008 - Memories!

Kayaks – The Sailing Alternative

As an alternative to sailing throuout the San Blas Islands, you might consider doing what a fellow Canuks from Fernie BC did this past October. Carole Beupre, along with three of her friends and fellow Fernie residents Charity Barkwell, Cheryl Paulson, and Corin Lohman arrived for a two week all you can paddle Kayak holiday experience. We first met up with them during their second week in the San Bals at the Eastern Hollandaise, better known among cruisers as the swimming pool. As they paddled by and noticed our Canadian flag they stopped and said hello and had a visit.

We enjoyed sharing some ice in cold drinks with them as ice was not something they carry in the Kayaks and we all had a few good chuckles at hearing of their experiences to date. We got to know these great kids a little better one day when we towed their kayaks and motor/sailed to Achudup on their final leg (or is that legs, no pun intended) back to the Carti Islands.

The kayaks they brought with them were unique in that they could also be peddled, paddled and sailed and they are inflatable. I even took Doc for a ride and found it to be very stable and a hoot to scoot around in. We also got a real good look at their travelling gear which included some very neat technology in their hanging cocoon tent/hammock, made on Galliano Island, BC as well their water collection systems and marveled at the portability of their unique accommodations which latterly disappeared into a sock for transport. If you are interested in learning more of this type of travel you can contact Carole at South Country Kayak website and email

Mamitupu – Traditional Kuna 09.11N - 077.58W

For those of you interested in the traditional Kuna lifestyle you might find a visit to Mamitupu just the ticket. This island is home to a traditional Kuna village as well a small resort Las Cabanas Waica Mamitupu. The general manager Pablo Perez M. is an extremely friendly English/Spanish speaking host. He along with his wife will take care of you. There is a small airport just across a narror channel on the mainland that flies out of Panama City. Do not expect satellite TV or air-conditioning…but you can expect to enjoy the best homemade coconut oil soap and just bout anything else made with Coconut oil. This is a place to bring a good book, hang back in the hammock and let the world go by. You can contact Pablo at or and by email at or

Summer 2008 – Kaija Finland, Gary & Doc Wally Lodge – San Blas Islands 09.32N 78.54W

It’s that time of year again for us when Kaija returns to Vancouver to see family and travel with her father to Finland. She will be gone two months and has adequately provisioned KaijaSong for her absence so that Doc and I can return to the San Blas and hang out with our Kuna friend, Augusto at the Wally Lodge situated in the Western Lemon Cays on Tiadup. Augusto makes some of the best sour dough bread you have ever eaten and so I made sure that we had sufficient flour and yeast aboard.

Each day for Doc and me would start with Coffee made aboard and fresh bread made by Augusto and he and I and Doc and his two little canine buddies Kimba and Negritta would discuss the weather for the day and world events. Keep in mind I speak no Kuna and Augusto only a few words of English the conversations would have the occasional lapse which was fine and allowed time to really enjoy the beautiful surroundings.

Wally Lodge also offers great sand beaches, hammocks under the coconut palms, and some of the best snorkeling we have enjoyed to date.

For those of you who would like to experience Wally Lodge and are not sailors, it is accessible via a short launch ride from the airport at Porvenir. They currently have two cabanas with three more under construction. Typical fare is $70 per person per day. You can find further information at and contact email is The general manager is Juan Antonio Martinez.