1. day - 04/03/2007 - Sunday
English translation is missing, sorry....
2. day - 05/03/2007 - Monday
Geza's parents arrived last night. We still have not finished with the full provisioning and with other reparations on board. We use the back cabin as storage this time. We try to buy everything that we need during the Pacific Ocean cross. One of our biggest projects is to fix the water-cooler system of the engine.
Even though we had remaining tasks we visited the town also with Geza's parents.
In the evening we visited Jane and Jim on the sailing vessel called Lady Jane III..
3. day - 06/03/2007 - Tuesday
Today we visited the Miraflores locks and the museums with Geza's parents. The museums showed a bit of history about the canal and also how it works. We had luck as we could see the transit of the sailing boats. The museum at the lock was really interesting and showed also the plans about the new lock. The new lock is expected to be wider and it will be built by modern technology.
The foods and clothes are very cheap in Panama so we were shopping in both market..
4. day - 07/03/2007 - Wednesday, Parara PuruWe have already visited the Kuna Indians, however Panama has 6 Indian resorts and Kuna people represent only the area of San Blas. Another interesting group of Indians are Emberas who inhabited Darien next to Colombia. Telling the truth, Darien is not an ideal place for tourists. It is too close to Colombia and the jungle is very thick and full with dangerous animals.
Emberas are Indians who live from agriculture, fishing, hunting and poultry-raising. They also grow commercial crops, rice and maize. They have a unique traditional wear that is replaced increasingly. Their traditional clothes are only skirts (no bras) for women and loincloths for men. All of the women used to wear wide silver bracelets and necklaces. Still today they paint themselves with a juice of the jagua fruit.
Their houses are built on stilts 3 meters – 4 meters off. The ground floor is made of thin but strong strips of palm bark and the roof is covered by palm leaves (such as king palm leaves). The stilts make protection against animals and river floods.
Emberas are very good wood carvers and basket weavers. They carve animals such as boas, frogs and birds from cocobolo hard wood and also from ivory coloured tagua nuts. They have wooden canoes that are used on the river.
Emberas originally live at the area of Darien however part of them moved close to Panama City to a reserve of river Chagres not far from the Panama Canal to make their life easier. This time we have visited these indigenous people in a village community called Parara Puru where we found around 55 adults and 25 children.
It is interesting that these people moved here to continue their tradition however the government forbade them to do that because the new area was a natural reserve. They were not allowed even to collect the coconut here. They could not trade and they were only allowed to keep alive themselves. They had to start something new, which was also encouraged by the Panamanian government. And this was the tourism.
The Embera chief explained us that they have learned from the government representatives how to handle the tourists and how they can attract them. They also got a clear water tank from the government so they stopped to drink the water of the river and schoolhouses in the villages.
The dances of emberas mainly symbolise the movement of animals and other natural things. In the village they danced the bee dance, flower dance and a rumba. They tried to involve the visitors too. The women were smiling and dancing and they wore beautiful head wreaths. The men played the music.
After the show our kuna Indian leader and the emberas took us by a canoe to a waterfall where we could swim. The embera children were also playing around and they also enjoyed the cold water of the fall.
Although the village was a bit touristy we could see their houses, how they live and we knew them a bit.
Embera indiánok - Parara Puru
English translation is missing, sorry....
5. day - 08/03/2007 - Thursday, ShoppingWe have finished the big provisioning today. We bought veggies, fruits and everything at the local supermarket called Riba Smith. We plan to leave in the next couple of days. Our agent has already taken our passports to clear out and we asked him to got cruising permit for Las Perlas and Coiba.
In the evening we invited the crew of Do It again and also the Hungarian Consul of Panama who has been leaving here for more than 20 years.
Aniko prepared a Hungarian styled dish with Panamanian fish (this is called the Hungarian paprika fish with pasta and cottage cheese). We did not leave too much from it, however unfortunately it was dropped out on the kitchen window, where our guests’ dinghy stayed. Oops. We should write next time: Do not park under the kitchen window!
We started to be very self sufficient on board. We try to catch our fish, we make pickles and live yoghurt on board. After the filling dinner Istvan (the consul) invited us for some cocktails. The local guy took the reservation but they could make only one cocktail in every half an hour. He apologised because they had only one barman. We made the next round quicker and everybody ordered the same cocktail.
6. day - 09/03/2007 - FridayWe repaired the engine cooling system today. First Geza started to be spotted by oil. After a while I was too.
In the afternoon we called the agent but he could not finish with the documents so he needed one more day to do them. We called our friends in Panama to meet them in the evening. We went to a local pizza restaurant. Our friends showed us Panamanian fruits and cookies. We have seen first in our life cashew nut fruit. It looks like a Hungarian paprika with a green bulb on it, which hides the nut inside. The fruit tasted very sweet.
The dinner was delicious. A local thief stole the bag of our friends in the restaurant, which was nasty. The police was called and the pleasant part of the night was over.
7. day - 10/03/2007 - Saturday, Departure delayed
The agent arrived in the morning and we got every document on the Flamenco Island at once. We planned to leave in the afternoon, however we needed water for the trip. At the dinghy dock the water was USD 20 therefore we decided to go back to Balboa Yacht Club, where it is free.
We sailed back in the canal and when we arrived we had to wait a while until they finished with the other refueling boats. Finishing the fueling the sunset started so we sailed back to our original anchoring place for the night. The crew of Do It came for a Mexican domino party in the evening. It was a really good game..
8. day - 11/03/2007 - SundayAfter breakfast we raised the anchor and headed towards Taboga Island. Taboga is around 2 hours from Flamenco Island. There was not any wind therefore we had to start our engines. At least it was good for the batteries.
Taboga is called the island of the flowers. Panamanians come here frequently for a weekend party because it is very close to Panama City. There is a ferry between Panama City and Taboga.
A sanatorium was established on the island due to its fresh air. While the canal was built the workers were cured here against malaria and yellow fever. Among others Gauguin was cured here in 1880. It is interesting to know that he was working at the hardest part of the canal at Culebra rock and earned USD 150 per month that time. The beauties of the island affected him and he painted them.
We went to the hot-sanded beach with Rotorka and had some swim. There was a land-bridge surrounded by the sea where we could swim on both sides. There were many families who had barbeque on their little yachts here. We had gone back to the boat before we went to visit the town. The ferry just arrived and the town was cleared from the tourists. It was Sunday and everybody went back to Panama City and prepared for the next day work. We pulled the dingy to the land-bridge and tied it to a tree because
a local man told that the land-bridge went underwater during high tie.
There is not any road on the island except in the town where we could see 1 or 2 cars no more. On the main street the people were sitting, chatting and drinking. We smelt roast fish and heard loud rap music. We found houses in bad and good conditions too on the clean paved streets. Bougainvilleas, oleander and magnolias were everywhere in the gardens. We found some parks too, but the plants were very dry due to the dry season here. The white church was on the main square.
Originally we wanted to have some dinner on the island but we were afraid of the high tie and we wanted to get back to the dinghy on time. We smelt backed bread on the street so we bought some before we left.
Luckily we had found our dingy before the high tie came.
08:00 8-54.63N 79-31.50W log= 17089.6
11:00 8-28.80N 79-33.12W log= 17115.5
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