Return to paradise 

Photo: Chichime Island, Kuna Yala

Ahh… Back in paradise! Back to the place where this chapter in my life began. A place that always fills me with happiness and magical memories! The beautiful islands of San Blas, Panama. This is the place where I first stepped on a sailboat and where I found my true love, Sailing. 

In fact, we are anchored at the very island where I first walked on the boat and met Captain Cool. It’s called Chichime. It’s one of the more popular islands for sailboats because it has a good anchorage, the island is beautiful and there is good snorkelling. 

CC and I hadn’t been here together since August. We swam to the island and when we took our snorkel masks off, we gave each other a huge smile and hug and welcomed each other to our special place. For this is the place we would spend a week here and there in between charters. We like the isolated islands, but sometimes we like to break up the isolation with other people. 

There is also a great spot for yoga in little Chichime. It’s a flat place with hard sand underneath the shade of the palm trees. It’s on the quiet side of the island. We can hear the wind rustling through the palm leaves as well as the crashing waves of the breakers over the reefs in the distance. We built a nice energy of peace there which instantly gets me in my yoga groove. Sometimes the island children would watch us, giggling as they tried out the poses we were doing. When our practice was over, they asked us what we were doing and then showed us what they had learned. It just added to the already great energy of the magical island. 

Now maybe you can understand our absolute joy to be back here. We greeted the locals and met new ones. The last time we were here, they were building cabanas for tourists. Now they have finished and it was great to see their final product. They are very proud of their work and offer reasonable prices. 

We inquired about lobster and were quickly walked to the shore where they had a basket of about 100 lobster waiting to be eaten! We picked out six for us and our passengers. Humberto swam back to get money while I sat on a bench and observed the activities of the islanders. 

My attention was drawn to the sweet giggles of two adorable island children in their underwear. They were brother and sister and played so beautifully together. They were chasing each other, swinging in the hammock and jumping over the trunk of a dead palm tree. Their smiles were contagious and I involuntary smiled with them. 

Suddenly, the little boy pulled down his underwear and peed in the sand. The little girl came close and said something in the Kuna language. The boy turned around and aimed at her. The little girl promptly pulled down her underwear, sat down and then magically a stream of pee shot up in her brother’s direction. I didn’t even know that was possible!! They both giggled so hard they fell on (a clean part of) the sand before getting up and chasing each other again.   

Next, they had a little sand fight. They are islanders, so they know how to do it right. They only threw sand when their backs were to each other. The girl unexpectedly turned around when her older brother was throwing sand. The sand landed in her eyes and mouth. I was waiting for a cry, but she only laughed and spit out the sand. In a heart warming action, her brother threw sand in his own face so they were equal. My heart melted a little bit. 

The older brother found a non island friend to play with and so the girl marched into the restaurant. Along the way, she passed near me so I smiled and said “Hola!” She gave me the best death stare I have ever received. I kept smiling and making faces to make her laugh. At one point, it looked like I was going to break her, but she held her stare as she walked by. What a tough little cookie!

She came out with a smartphone and called her brother wiggling the phone with a cheeky smile. The two boys looked and came sprinting towards her. I was saddened that technology had come this far and killed the natural creativity and play of children. However, my faith was soon restored. Three minutes later, much to the disappointment of the sister, the boys tired of the phone and ran off to have races and jump off the slanted trunks of the palm trees. The little girl returned the phone, giving me another glare along the way, and came out to be one of the boys. 

This place gives me faith in the human race. Most of the children are like this. They don’t have toys, they just make games with each other and the gifts that nature gives them. And wow are they ever creative because let me tell you, an island with only palm trees doesn’t have much!!! They don’t have phones, computers, TV’s or even many books. We like to give them notebooks and coloured pencils and this keeps them occupied for hours. It’s beautiful!

So yes, I am home. I am back in my paradise. Sadly only for a little while this time, but if it was more, it probably wouldn’t be paradise. 


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