Saturday, April 26, 2008

San Bernardo Islands

This group of islands further down the Columbian coast houses both the local fisherman and second homes for wealthy Columbians, mostly from Medellin and Cali. We anchored off a lovely island with a number of beautiful homes but the locals only use it to obtain (from holes dug in the ground!). They live, totally packed together, on a small island nearby - 1280 people, 780 in residence at the moment. At least half the population is under 16. The local school has two sessions a day. We walked all over the island and were welcomed everywhere. The men were gathered on the wharfs talking and the women in front of the homes (see pictures of both below). The kids were all having fun and like kids anywhere acted up for the camera. This boy on the left put on quite a show to the vast amusement of his friends. The children are very charming and we had a lot of fun meeting everyone.
There is a health clinic there and we met the "Doctora". We also observed one of the classrooms in the school. All the kids were in neatly pressed uniforms and discipline was clearly not a problem. One really surprising detail were the paintings on many of the homes - most of secular Christmas. One example here shows Santa Claus above the door! All the homes are painted in bright colors and some were nicely but simply furnished. We saw an occasional TV set. There is a generator for the community that goes on at 6PM and shuts off at 10.
We spent another two nights here. The weather has been so lovely and mild. Scott completed the installation of our new "Super Wind" wind generator so in a way it's been disappointing that we haven't tested it out at higher speeds, but seriously, we're not complaining.
We're sailing next to Isla Fuerte, a single beautiful island 30 miles further SW. This will be our last stop in Columbia as Scott and I are planning to head from there to the eastern San Blas islands in Panama. Sue and Roy will have a shorter passage to the western end of those islands as they have more time in the San Blas than ourselves.

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