May 16. San Blas, Narcisso, and Monkey Island.

Big red starfish, the pristine beaches of small deserted islands surrounded by turqoise water, rippling like millions of natural mirrors. It’s so beautiful here! We arrive in the San Blas archipelago. Fabien anchors next to a large catamaran, close to a fairy tale palmtree island. We can dive in the water now, and explore the island. Hundreds of little fish shoot away in small coral dungeons when I wade to one of the islands. The feel of land under my feet comforts me, and I walk along the beach to inspect our first island. Unfortunately it is polluted with bottles, plastic, slippers. We couldn’t see that from the boat. The island is not cleaned up because it is under Kuna supervision, I learn a little later. As opposed to the yachtsmen, who oversee some islands too, the Kuna don’t care about the presence of waste from our technological culture.
This first island is uninhabited. My instinct call for something to do and I put some effort in the opening of a coconut, slamming it against sharp stones to no avail. My instinct gives up easily and decides to explore another island. This one has some thatched huts on it so I’m prepared to meet the first indigenous Kuna. On the second island I walk the beach until I’ve almost gone full circle when I see a man. A normal man in western clothes and a baseball cap, hanging out in a small hut. He cleans up the riff and offers me a smoked fish I eat right away. The Kuna shows me a pile of dehusked coconuts they export to Colombia. When I tell him I’m with a group he gets me another fish. With the second fish and some avocados in a bag I swim back to the boat. The smoked fish has to be kept dry, so swimming it back is not an easy task, but I gloriously succeed. My friends taste the smoked fish too and praise me for my herculean accomplishment. The Kuna man’s name is Narcisso, by the way.

I spend the afternoon on the boat reading.

In total darkness we row to yet another island, that we agree to call “Monkey Island”, we light a small campfire with dry wood we gather on another island, and share many Cuba libres with a hint of lime and DJ’s delicious apple shisha. This is, we all do agree on that, perfection in its purest form. We do some more rounds of rum, put some more hot coal on the shisha pipe, philosophize about being in paradise until we get comfortably tired. We sleep right next to the smouldering embers.

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