Anchored out in the San Blas Islands of Panama is a mix of spectacular snorkeling, good friends, potlucks on the beaches, beautiful islands, seas and sunsets. We have really enjoyed our time in the San Blas Islands! And, we got to share a taste of living the dream. Our friend Jessamine came for a week of fun and Mike’s brother David along with our friend Kathy came for two weeks of snorkeling and jocularity. Mike always tells guests on Mermaid that “you can’t drink all day unless you start in the morning” and while we didn’t really take that to heart, everyone kicked back and let loose a bit. We had a great party with a Guna family on Cambombia with Jessamine. They brought the coconuts and we brought rum. Just chop off the top of the coconut, mix in some rum with the coconut milk and pass it around. A good time was had by all. David and Kathy enjoyed some world class snorkeling around the Hollandes Caves. We were anchored near the Swimming Pool anchorage in the Hollandes Cays ans a dingy ride over the shallow water of the back reef brought us to within yards of where the swell of the Caribbean crashed on the outer reef sending spray high into the air. We anchored the dingy in the safely of the calm water behind the reef and found outstanding snorkeling where a crack in the reef resulted in multiple large overhangs and caves that went under the reef, some connecting with the open ocean. The marine life was wondrous. The coral and anemones were beautiful and the reef fish were abundant with angelfish, damselfish, wrasse, parrotfish, squirrel fish, trunkfish and puffers in every nook and cranny.
The adventure for guests starts long before they board Mermaid. Getting there is an adventure in itself. With shopping limited to basic supplies at mom and pop stores in the San Blas, Robin took the opportunity to make a trip to Panama City to reprovision and meet our guests. She started by arranging for a water taxi to pick her up at dawn for the hour and a half water taxi ride from Mermaid to the Island of Carti. Often this was a ride in an open panga through big wind waves where everything not securely under a tarp got drenched. The only road into the San Blas ends in Carti and she would hop on a 4X4 for the windy, three hour ride through the jungle and over the continental divide to Panama City. In Panama City, or as the locals shorten it, Panama, she hit the supermarkets to stock up on things that weren’t available or much cheaper in the city. Rum, cheeses, olives and other delicacies filled the shopping cart. She spent the night in a hotel where friends and family would meet up with her then all would pile into another 4×4 at the crack of dawn for the reverse trip back to Mermaid. They’d arrive before noon, often soaked to the bone but always with a smile.