Day Tripper

Our second day on the San Blas archipelago, after a peaceful breakfast of egg and bread in the dining cabana, entailed trying to get on a boat out to another island for a little day trip. By about 10 o’clock or so, a handful of boats had pulled up to the sand, with passengers from other islands on board. We negotiated our fare, and hopped on for a day’s worth of adventure.

Cabana foundation

We cruised past island after island, bumping and rocking over wave crests, little crops of palms appearing all around us. We stopped momentarily in the middle of the water for our boat captain to buy a large freshly-caught tuna off of a smaller rig. He said he was going to give it to his mother.

San Blas water

When we dismounted from the boat, we were once again greeted with a scene that just days before we thought didn’t exist in real life. The water was an even more unbelievable azure cerulean, like cut glass, fading from clear white to chilling blue. We spent the day on the island walking perimeters around it, swimming to other adjacent outcroppings of sand, holding starfish bigger than the size of our heads, resting against palm trees.

cerulean water

San Blas day trip

Sail boats on San Blas

San Blas palms

Enjoying the view, San Blas

{TD&H enjoys the view}

While walking around the island, we met this boy and his puppy, Osito. This boy seemed to love the camera. He wanted to see how the photos looked after each shot. He gladly posed and told us the name of his dog. Our encounters up until that point with the local Guna had been of a mixed bag. I chalk it up to them having a love-hate relationship with tourists like us, though I may be projecting too much onto the relationship. Smiles had been hard to come by, and I felt unsure of if women really wanted us interacting with their children much. We did enjoy a game of dominoes with two locals the evening after returning from this day trip, where all four of us sat together, writing scores with our fingers into smoothed out sand, sharing swigs out of a bottle of rum and pineapple juice.


The island we swam to

{we swam out to this little island}

Cabana San Blas

San Blas

We returned that afternoon to our base island where it was much of the same activity as before. We lounged, walked around the island, and soaked up the sun.

Afternoon sun on San Blas

{afternoon sun}

With how majestic and secluded we felt, you can imagine my surprise that evening when, sitting next to the only other couple on the island in the dining cabana, I realized one was someone I knew. We had worked together as ocean lifeguards back in California. The sudden jolt of familiarity in a place so unfamiliar was a strange feeling, and my first reaction was to think our little stumbled-upon gem was not as mystical as I had been imagining. It confirmed for me in the end, though, the nature of travel and how lucky I am to be able to see the world, and run into familiar faces while on these journeys.

The next morning we awoke to prep for our return boat ride. The weather had shifted, and it looked like a storm was on the horizon. Upon returning to the mainland, I asked our boat operator if the dark sky was out of the ordinary. She informed us that it was pretty normal.

Dark sky San Blas

Dark sky San Blas

San Blas stormy morning

Stormy morning San Blas

Dock San Blas

{waiting at the dock for boats out to the islands}

San Blas stormy dock


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