Ustupu - Again

Ustupu Anchorage, Kuna Yala, San Blas, Panama

Ustupu Anchorage, Kuna Yala, San Blas, Panama

Working our way East.  We left Snug harbor and ended up motor sailing down to Ustupu.  We’d been there before and liked the stop. It has  a calm anchorage, limited internet, and quite a good phone connection. We don’t know if we’ll have either for the next couple of months so W/ wants to make some calls, I’ll maybe get a blog post updated, we’ll pass on some medical supplies  Lions Paw gave us to give to the clinic there, we’ll give the school some supplies that we purchased a few months ago and enjoy the nice anchorage before we move to places we’d not been.

On the way down we tried to call Cherokee II ; who we saw heading back to the San Blas , on the VHF but never connected. They had just completed the run to Sapzurro and we had hoped to get some recent info. They never answered and I don’t know if they run without the radio or if the engine noise was too much and the radio was turned down.  They were inside and we had chosen to go outside hoping to get a little sailing in and a little less of the boom, boom, boom that the iron genny makes.

Hobo followed most of the way to Ustupu and they had their wings out (they’re a motor boat) keeping the boat from rolling so they liked the “no wind condition” and relatively flat seas.  We on the other hand would have liked the 10 knts or so that we started with. Just wasn’t to be.

Finally we arrived in Ustupu and made the trek ashore. We picked up Larry and Lena and dinghied into town. There we paid the 15 bucks anchor fee that covered one month’s worth of anchoring in the harbor under their jurisdiction. What it didn’t cover was any river trips. We had been up both rivers last year; up till the Kuna made us aware we were not allowed to go, but this year we were willing to hire a Kuna guide and wanted to see the one river as what we saw last year was quite spectacular. However there were some changes and we were not the benefit of them. One of the Kuna English speakers asked the Sila (Kuna Governor of the island) if they could take us and the answer was no. :(

One change I noticed was that most all the homesteads had privacy fences. The walls to their homes are all made with about 2″ diameter trees, cut to about a 5 foot height and then weaved together. Last year most of the family groupings had their homes close together and then an open space for family gathering, a few meters away there then was another family grouping. This year there were walls similar to what the wall of their hut is built out of and that is now used to fence off their family groupings. In addition, last year I don’t remember on any of their homes or buildings (except for the formal buildings like military, governmental, religious, or education); I don’t remember any locks. This year I saw many doors with locks. Slowly the Kuna seem to be leaving the luxurious safety of their world and entering the stressed world of the Industrialized Nations. The locks I fear are one of the first to show.

Vinancio Mola

Vinancio Mola

After we had delivered the supplies to the school and clinic we walked with Larry and Lena looking for some more Molas. My only hope here is that W./ doesn’t get sucked into buying another… one or two or three. Although Molas are multicolored  and very intricately made,  IMHO there is a point where one has enough.  I do believe the point I”m at and W/ is at, is different.

While looking for the Mola places (one Mola school) and one place that we had met the store owners last year we also stopped at a couple of bakeries. With fresh bread in hand a Kuna restaurant to eat at and a good calm anchorage we were set. On our agenda Ustupu was a chill spot, a place to make calls to the US, keep updated with friends and family, rest, then head E and S some more.

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