We recently caught up with the Curtis couple upon their return from a Yacht Latina sailing trip in the San Blas.
We just caught up with Jamuna Berry of www.playacommunity.com upon returning from her most recent trip to the San Blas. Sounds like she and her group had a good time…
Hi Lita,I wanted to give you some comments on the last trip we did on Yacht Latina’s 46′ Catamaran with Brais and Geraldine.It was the best San Blas experience ever – The boat and it’s crew, Captain Brais and Geraldine had a lot to do with making our experience amazing. The boat was roomy enough for us. The rooms with the bathrooms, were well ventilated and cool. Considering most boats I’ve been on are rather hot in the rooms, we were pleased to be able to get comfortable sleeps and be cool. The crew was enthusiastic, entertaining and very accommodating. We loved them and would sail with that pair again any time.Thanks for all you help in making this trip a success for us. We will be back again with you soon 🙂————-JAMUNAPanama Pacific beach community based news, useful information & events.
We recently had a chance to sit down and visit with Captain George Salley, who has been pleasing Yacht Latina guests with iconic sailing cruises aboard his 42′ catamaran in the San Blas Islands. George is an expert cruiser and wonderful person to hang out with. Here are a few tidbits from our conversation.
YL – How long have you lived in Panama?
CG – We have been in Panama since December 2008.
YL – Tell us about your yacht?
CG – Southern Belle is a 42-foot Fountaine Pajot Catamaran built in 1995. We bought her in 2003 and have lived aboard since 2006. She is well equipped for blue water cruising. You can get a much more detailed description of how she is outfitted on the Yacht Latina website.
YL – What are your favorite islands to visit in the San Blas and why?
CG – We love the Lemmon Cays because they have outstanding beaches and great reef for snorkeling. We also adore the Robeson Cays because the people are fantastic.
YL – What are your favorite aspects of the Guna Yala?
CG – The clear blue water, the beautiful islands, and the wonderful Kuna Indians
YL – What is your most memorable moment with guests sailing in the San Blas?
CG – Playing music on the foredeck while we watch the sun set into the Caribbean Sea
YL – Well, thanks for the chat Captain George (and also Melinda & Josh…). Great to catch up with you!
Yacht Latina cruisers: If you’d like to meet captain George or get pricing on a sailing trip click the Contact Us link on the website.
47′ Trawler Motoryacht – Panama City/Isla Taboga/City Lights Cruise
The Windjammer Spirit is a 47-foot Newport Horizon Trawler. She is powered by 2 185-horsepower Cummins diesels and can reach a maximum speed of 10 knots. Normal crusing speed is 7 to 8 knots. The vessel is equipped with safety appliances and life-saving equipment to safely accomodate 25 guests on board. She has the latest in electronic navigation and safety equipment on the bridge, including certified lighting, radar, VHF and AIS equipment for Day or Night cruising. The roof has 7 feet of headroom and ensures that you will be able to watch the world go by, feel the breeze in your hair, and see the amazing sights of Panama while being seated comfortably in the shade out of the sun. She is equipped with 2 electric heads (toilets) and a full stand-up fresh-water shower. She is also equipped with a full music system and weatherproof external speakers on all decks. We have a large selectio of music on board and we can also accept a line input from your IPod or other device should you decide to bring music of your choice.
Cruising on Panama’s Pacific side is a unique experience. There are not many places in the world where you are able to get a front row seat to the world’s shipping scene. Imagine being as close as 200 feet to a 950-foot container ship that stands 180 feet above the waterline and carries as many as 4500 containers! See the skyline of Panama or explore the beautiful Amador Causeway – all from the comfort of your own ship. We run Day or Night, Rain or Shine.
Visit Taboga Island, just 90 minutes from Panama. This spectacular island has warm, clear water for swimming from the ship. The island hosts a variety of Bed & Breakfasts, Hotels, and small bars where the beer is always cold and the people always have a smile on their face. The beach is always a big hit with guests, but those that truly want to relax will be happy sipping a cold beer while hanging from the swim grid in the water on the stern of the ship. After your walk in town or your hike to the top, relax with a cold beverage at a local beachfront bar or back on the ship.
During the right season, experience the thrill of a lifetime and go Whale Watching with us! July through October is generally considered whale season, and while we never know when the whales are going to come up and do some “People-Watching”, it is an amazing sight to see when it happens.
Here again to talk about why and how various rumor is about. Rumor about difficulties of operating yachts for trips in the San Blas (Kuna Yala). It is June 2012 and I was only this week again in the local congresso ‘hall’. (A quaint place where three or four ‘elders’ lay in hammocks and smoke, and presumably listen, but also every so often erupt into dialogue with no one in particular.) There does seem to be a point to the proceedings somewhere, but any one discussion moves from one evening to the next with the focus being more on how much can be said on the matter. Still, where we come from perhaps we have learned impatience?
So some time in the past, like more than 2 years ago, a few island ‘cabana’ owners, or hotels as they call them too, became a little jealous that some visitors chose the relative comfort and freedom of seeing San blas from a yacht. Since the incumbent older congresso members appear to be unseat-able (or unhammockable) they eventually have felt pressured into speaking up on behalf of these hotel owners. (-by the way I have several hotel owner friends and allies out here) So – the way of all bogged down political structures, slowly more and more congresso members have defaulted to the line of least resistance and verbalized that maybe its better to discourage the yachts from operating here.
Thing is, all those Kuna people around me, that I see almost daily, include the most active younger business men, one of the customs officials who issues boating permits, several hotel owners, and families of congresso members not only poo-poo the subject (as in ‘its so much talk’) but in fact I do not know of any actual control mechanism with respect to which vessels are unwelcome. In fact on the contrary, they ask me when my next trip is!
We have a mixture of old style Kuna and new Kuna. So I said ‘new’ Kuna. That’s what’s happening in San Blas. The real progressives are making good lives in a stunning landscape. They are doing business. Of course, however these are the guys who try and find something of more value than settling into political positions and pointing fingers. As I say -they are doing business -not just putting their hands out for money. (I stop at naming the well know location) Rumors abound too. Like Guna Yala and Kuna Yala. Who wrote that on the web? None of these locals know anything about that.
Anyway, back to being here…these fellows I mix with do not show the resistance to gringos or yachtsmen or the like. As I see it they want to do business, not just put their hands out for money. (un-like some other well know locations). So what’s wrong with that?
Up to early last year I was operating yachts for trips in San Blas. This year I return with much bigger and more comfortable craft. Wow! It was nice. (but what is nice?) What is nice is that despite all the talk I am welcomed with my plans. I don’t really understand people who face open resistance? What of it? We run excellent trips here. We use the local transport. (and that’s also ‘nice’, these guys I knew who worked doing fairly menial stuff for me last year, now have their own lancha businesses. Wouldn’t you? )
So as an ex Civil Engineer I give the local Kuna people real technical help on their much needed water projects. Twenty thousand dollars and no design from a well meaning open sandaled, Europe based ‘fundacion’, is not going to work. (Though I applaud the sentiments) It needs the correct grade of pipe to be used.
Anyway I am getting to the point soon………
…and the point is………..we do great trips in the (web rated) 5th most unspoiled place in the world. We do yacht trips of three, to whatever, days… tailored to suit your but also very ‘digestible’, since we offer several options like your choice ‘cabin fill’ or charter the whole boat. For digestible read ‘value for money’. We do great trips and darn if I am not fazed by any talk. (see above) Have you picked up and browsed Eric Bauhaus ‘Cruising guide to Panama’ recently? I have. Actually I use it every second hour. Why? Because it’s brilliant. Also because he is a pioneer and I like to go where the other yachtsmen don’t bother to read. Hey – German mapping! It’s like German engineering.
So come on out and join us! We have many San Blas cruises available for this summer. The San Blas is a magically wonderful place to experience – the idyllic coco-palm lined islands, tranquil and transparent blue seas, a culture of wonderfully friendly peoples, and memories that will last a lifetime.
Cheers and hope to see you soon!
We checked in with Yacht Latina guests Mike and Martha Vuytowecz, Jamuna Berry, and Kara Patrick on their recent trip out to the San Blas Islands and were amazed by the photos they brought back. The San Blas region never seizes to amaze me with how photogenic it is. Here are a few highlights from their trip. Let us know what you think…
Check this out. When we all thought it was quiet… out of the water comes the original and best lobster and crab from San Blas. Just ask Randall, Angela, and Mari’ and Joana! We have been lucky, and of course i put the poor – still live – creatures straight to their culinary heaven.
Well I don’t know if that’s what seafood thinks when it’s being put to the knife…but it sure tastes good. Apart from the ‘regular’ seafood above we had on board some rather hefty bellied Bonito and several snapper in there various shades and species, with some large red snapper, soft crisp white flesh. (i do the shellfish ‘al ajo dulce’ (con lima) and I like to do the whole line fish grilled, it all really works well)
Believe it or not another addition the Latina Lady Lu freezer this month was fresh Carti Prawns. Still wiggling in the bag as i pushed them into the icy depths of the freezer. Anyone feeling guilty yet? I doubt it. ha ha.
So what else has happened out San Blas? Well my beloved yellow canoe took a beating in very strange circumstances and will need a major repair (here comes West Systems epoxy…) so I was very unhappy about that (Darn just after the coffee press incident and all)
All in all we had another really fun trip but was relieved to drop anchor back at Nalunega just in front of their great little beach and the ‘old’ Hotel San Blas…so i could take stock again. Very pleased about my man Eric and his team who’ll wisk you off in his brand new lancha directly from their ‘muelle’, just in front of our anchorage, out to jeep pickup at Carti, and on to the city.
Talking about the city I have just arrived here for about 5 days to get specialized materials for Lady Lu, and took this great shot. I have to say the noisy hot city does grow on you and has some great aspects to it. Panama generally grows on you…come out and visit us. Next trip from the 20th april. cheers for now.