For 4 days we will be playing pirate on a sailing vessel built in 1903. This is Part II.

 

In the afternoon we drop the anchor at one of the many islands of San Blas.

 

How would you imagine a Caribbean island?

 

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San Blas

 

San Blas (or Kuna Yala) is a autonomous territory in the Caribbean Sea, located at the east coast of Panamá. It consists of 365 small to very small islands, of which 49 are inhabited by a group of indigenous people called Kuna. 

 

If you think of a Caribbean island, this is what you would imagine. White sandy beaches, coconut palms, clear, turquoise water with the temperature of a bathtub, corals, starfish and lots of colorful fish. Some would call it Paradise.

 

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The Kuna

 

The Kuna are a proud nation and in contrast to other suppressed indigenous tribes, many Panamanians are rather afraid of the Kuna.

In the revolution of 1925 they fought hard against the Panamanian authorities who tried to eradicate their culture and customs and force them to adopt the hispanic culture. 

 

 

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In the process they declared their independence and proclaimed the short-lived Republic of Tule. 10 days later it is said that indigenous insurgents in canoes attacked the police headquarters in the archipelago and killed 27 people. 

Days later a peace agreement was signed and the Kuna were promised respect for their customs, not to impose the establishment of schools and the same protection and rights enjoyed by other Panamanian citizens. The Kuna in turn declared to lay down their weapons, withdraw the declaration of independence and abide by the laws of Panama.

The Kuna Yala district was created for the indigenous inhabitants, which they would rule for themselves.

 

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The Kuna are hunters and fishermen. Tourism is becoming more and more important as they earn good money with it. They organize the transports from the shore to the vessels, they sell coconuts, crayfish and any kind of seafood and they charge entrance fees for their territory. If you want to enter the territory of Kuna Yala, on top an invitation of a local and the acceptance of the chief is necessary.

 

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Our crew maintains a good relationship to the Kuna, i.e. they invite them for dinner after the tourists have eaten and they sponsor the Kuna parties with some bottles of rum too. That explains, why the Stahlratte is a bit under siege by the Kuna. Or how Lulu puts it: This is the only tribe that multiplies spontaneously without women even being present.

 

At the Island

 

When we drop anchor at the island Coco Bandero, we cannot wait to jump into the water. Almost the first one to do so is the captain.

The rest of the crew is already preparing dinner. A beach BBQ with bonfire, cool beer and a lot or of Rum is planned for tonight. :-P

 

 

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Snorkeling, floating in the water, lazy lying at the beach, extrem hammocking, rope swinging to jump from the ship into the water, climbing the crows nest, surrounding the island (10 minutes, if you stop every 5 steps to enjoy the view)...

 

Stahlratte19.jpg Stahlratte27.jpg  ... enjoying a fabulous crayfish dinner with new friends... (the food is actually outstanding on that ship!) Stahlratte17.jpg Stahlratte18.jpg   ... or talking late into the night sharing a drink and thousands of stories with our fellow pirates.   Stahlratte30.jpg

 

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 We haven’t been that relaxed for years...       

 

... to be continued.