San Blas Islands Day 1

Date of Entry: January 13th 2017

Date of Writing: August 29th 2017

The last 20 plus hours passed at a crawl, and even once we finally drop anchor and the world stops churning beneath me I’m hesitant to step outside of our shared cabin, even though it smells like death itself.  Still, at Renata’s beckoning I do eventually emerge in the late morning sunlight and am welcomed to paradise almost immediately, we are anchored just a short distance from one of a few tiny idyllic islands dotting the incredible turquoise waters, this is the Caribbean at it’s finest.

While the others eat (my appetite is still working on coming back.)  I remember my father’s advice for sea sickness:  jump in the water.  So I ask our captain for permission, and, despite feeling quite weak, take the plunge off the back of our sailboat into the cool and refreshing embrace of the ocean.  I feel a whole lot better instantly, though the swim to shore, and finding a part of the beach that’s approachable without getting smashed onto sharp coral proves a bit difficult.  I do eventually succeed though, two Australian friends following me in by way of swimming, Renata and the other’s joining us in paradise on the zodiac. I take a snorkel but the view’s are not spectacular though still cool, with lots of tropical fish and some still living coral.

It’s pretty funny watching Renata trying to get out of the zodiac, admittedly not an easy thing with the waves, but she does a nice face plant into the ocean, the Caribbean welcoming her home, and I’m just glad I have my waterproof bag I bought back in Ushuaia Argentina to keep our cameras and valuables safe.  Otherwise some cameras will need replacing as Renata manages a fall of some form just about every time we come ashore.  But because she’s awesome she always clambers up out of the ocean with a big grin on her beautiful face.

Renata is visibly impressed and upon arrival we go buy a coconut from one of a few local families that call this island home. Renata also gets me to ask the young man if we can use his cellphone to send a text to her family, being out of touch is not something they are used to.  He kindly agrees though reception is so spotty I’m not sure If the text ever got through.  Once we finish with the warm coconut water and crack open the white Caribbean coconut feasting on the delicious flesh inside.  If only the Brazilian green coconut had this same flavour.

Okay, enough words, time for some pictures and a first glimpse at the incredible paradise that after three days proved to be fully worth 24 hours or so of painful and frustrating sea sickness.  San Blas is likely the most idyllic place I have ever been, and each island seems to better divine the term paradise island than anywhere else I’ve ever been.   The colour of thewater alone….

Still on land, dipping between lounging on the beach and cooling down in the water (the sun is painfully hot for this very white, very Canadian man)  we eventually decide to go exploring through the island which is small enough that you can walk around the entire thing in maybe just over an hour. It’s beautiful and it just keeps getting more and more beautiful as we get more and more alone, and Renata is a willing and gorgeous model.  I still can’t over the contrast of colours, lush green of the palm trees,turquoise waters, and almost white shining sand.

As we keep working our way around the edge of this incredible island, each step making us feel more and more alone and lost in paradise we find Nature’s hammock, a palm tree growing out almost horizontally over the sea.  We take our turns posing and then set up the camera to grab a couple shot, since no one else is around to take it.

This place is paradise.  If you get hot, jump in the ocean, if you get tired stop and rest in the soft sand, if you’re hungry or thirsty, grab a coconut.  (Actually you’re not supposed to do this, because the coconuts is a main source of income for the islanders and i suggest you buy from them,as we’re visitors in their homes first and foremost.)

Renata and I keep walking, making our way towards the corner of the island where a narrow channel of turquoise water the only thing separating one little piece of paradise and another.  San Blas has about 365 islands, one for every day of the year, though only 49 are inhabited, and as we keep walking, and talking, and kissing I can’t help but think spending a whole year here might not be so bad. Maybe one day I’ll come back for a longer period of time with Renata.

We keep going and come across perhaps the biggest coconut I’ve ever seen freshly fallen from the countless palm trees, and we can’t help but stop and pick it up just to gauge how big it really is. Renata’s method is very scientific, and allows me to observe it is in fact bigger than her head.

We reach the channel where the current actually proves to be quite strong.  In fact, on the other side of the island there is a wave break just offshore and the water is much less clear as the open ocean currents drag all manner of sea life up on to the beach.  I have a swim in the channel and the strong current, wishing I had time to swim across the substantial distance, but we’ve been given a time to meet back on the beach to go back to the boat to gather the required materials for dinner, alongside the lobster we’ve ordered from the locals.

So, with regret we head back towards the beach where we first touched down in this incredible archipelago, still snapping photos, swimming, and relaxing as we go.  It’s hard to accept that first thing tomorrow we’ll be leaving this island behind, especially since I can’t really fathom that other islands as beautiful could exist here.  (Spoiler alert:  They do.)

After a trip back to the boat to relax on deck with music, snacks (My appetite is well and truly back now)  and our dog Mani slowly building up a little trust in Renata by not viciously attacking her every time he passes by.  He’s a great dog really, young and excitable, but he loves the water (Jumps in and tries to climb on top of you)  but full of love too, and I find myself just hoping Renata won’t let him ruin her trip in Paradise.  She loves beaches, and with how hard she works back in Sao Paulo to support her family and build a good life for us all, she deserves this utter relaxation in an incredible place.

As the sun goes down we head back to shore and start with the barbecue, our incredible chef and awesome deckhand starting up the bonfire with dried out coconut husks and tossing a ridiculous amount of lobster on the grill as all light fades from the sky, and the sweltering heat is replaced with cool night breezes of the caribbean.  Our first day in San Blas has been pretty damn amazing.

The lobster is delicious and as we sit around the bonfire, trying to dodge the smoke from the flames and our shipmates, who unfortunately all seem to just adore smoking. But as the star comes out, the night sky majestic above the shadows of the blowing palm trees above us, it stops mattering.  We take a moonlit stroll on the beach together.  This is undoubtedly one of the most romantic places I’ve ever seen, and I’m so lucky to be here with the woman I love.

Eventually we’re called back and we hop in the zodiac back to the ship where we spend the night in our cozy little front cabin, going to sleep dreaming of the paradise where we spent the day, and wondering what tomorrow will bring.  Stay tuned.

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