Home Community Travel Pirates of The San Blas Islands

Pirates of The San Blas Islands

598

11825794_10153386624225700_4498613754751506459_n-768x576A B O U T ~ D A N

Daniel. Dan. Dingo – these are the three most common names that this 28 year-old gypsy answers to.

Originally a primary-school teacher from Southern Australia, one day Daniel packed his unconventionally small backpack and bought a one-way ticket to become a scholar of the world. It would turn out to be a fruitful experiment.

Two years, a dozen countries, six tattoos and one pair of underpants later, he found himself working and living as a captain in the Caribbean. Rarely wearing shoes, always wearing a smile, Dingo Dan recognises travel as the most potent form of education – of place and self.

Panamanian Paradise 2014

As the evening Caribbean breeze freshened on my face the little yacht began to show his true colours. We popped open a bottle of fresh rum. The first drops went over the side to Mother Ocean, a habit acknowledging Her force and asking for a safe passage. After sharing a shot of the smooth-golden liquid we settled in to watch the sun and stars go about their arm wrestle rearrangement, as they have done for eons. The journey had begun.

You can’t underestimate the romantic exhilaration constructed by two pieces of cloth, a stick and a floating base. Harnessing the ancient forces of air and fluid whilst feeding your own instinctual appetites of adventure, connectedness, and being. Moving by sail. It is one hell of a way to move and every part of it makes my soul sing sing sing.

We had set sail from an island nestled deep in the San Blas Archipelago – a place that makes you believe in magic. A place that nourishes your being with the electric pulse of life. Over and over again. Our destination was a marina nestled in the jungle on the Caribbean coast of Panama, about sixty miles to the West. The journey was unusual because only a week earlier I had removed the ageing diesel engine from Chappy, the modest little vessel. We were to complete the voyage using only the power of the wind. Old school, baby.

I was sailing with a good friend and fellow adventurer. A Kuna Indian, indigenous to the San Blas Islands, he was at home on the ocean. He was salt. Our conversations meandered around his people’s stories, lore and connections to the natural – not to mention the usual topics you might expect from two sailors sharing a journey. Stars, women, shitting your pants. There were eternities when we said nothing at all as we were swept up in the briny goodness of being. That didn’t matter. We were connecting.

Every traveller has experienced those sensational seconds when the conscious and that of the universe are locked in a moment of higher feeling. The notion of coincidence is not strong enough to explain the twists and turns of the cosmos that yield this connection. That ignition of now. Whether you are connecting to culture, language, people, places or self – it is the very reason some people travel. It sets our sacred fibres on a course of cohesion. It reminds us of the fragility and force of oneness.

As the compact yacht stiffened up his nose and began surging through the swell towards the infinite horizon, I pulled out the familiar security of my favourite old fleece. It’s the little things when you live at sea. The small comforts that remind us to be hard but to feel soft. Like a hot bowl of soup over the cool night breeze. Or the ribboned dancing star trails of a pod of dolphins rejoicing in a sacred bioluminescent dance off the bow. Turning off all of the lights and electronics and navigating through totality using nothing but feeling and instinct and human. The enchantment of the simple life was, as it always will be, completely intoxicating. Neither of us slept that night because the magic of the sailing was just too bright.

At dawn, bleary-eyed and oh-so-stoked, we altered our course, steering south by west towards the mountainous mainland of Panama. With a light breeze blowing from the rear quarter we gently manoeuvred the twenty-four-foot cutter through a maze of hazards and into the mangrove lined respite of the marina. Two hours later the yacht was machine-handled out of water, and into dirt. A changing of the elements from the dynamic to the static. It was safe for the off-season.

Our fourteen or so hours on the ocean slipped quietly into the past leaving behind an incurable hunger for more. More adventure, more salt, more magic, more connection. The thought of ancient cultures, hidden stories, and magnetic horizons breathed wind into my sails. It drove and still drives me to search for more, to connect to the flow of my inner currents and sail confidently in a direction that doesn’t matter.

11866480_10155888378710048_4269937609473740150_n 11178316_10155360580745391_6771505037431860292_n 11160669_10155360578670391_5394625007948377288_n 12314211_10153792360439861_8008559526264126878_o 13112807_10101022228927130_8554320985610328619_o 13116292_10154012641305700_8438085054259007014_o 11143471_10153479265396655_5113147447366412989_o 11149405_10152841355026903_970452608503854622_n 12309624_10153792359904861_7405641801772884560_o 12304038_10153792354924861_4168930707659081494_o

My name is Sarah, I’m a 20 something year old country girl from Australia with an open mind & a heart full of wanderlust. Introverted social butterfly with uncontrollable itchy feet is me in a nutshell. Like many others, I spent years daydreaming about jet setting around the world; learning and experiencing different cultures and walks of life, attending Yoga classes and health retreats whenever I pleased, diving and surfing the Earths most beautiful oceans, and meeting interesting like minded individuals to share the memories with. A freedom lifestyle with no fixed address. After completing 3 years of a university degree not perfect for me and working long hours in the hospitality industry, I nervously quit my ‘normal’ job to travel the world and haven’t looked back since. My vision is to explore the world, to work a job I’m passionate about, to spend quality time with the friends and family, and when the time comes and I have children, to have the time to spend time with them and watch them grow. Here I am, just got back from visiting the ancient Burmese temples of Bagan, with 37 countries under my travel belt and the happiest I’ve ever been. I’ve created http://www.wallflower-diaries.com/ to share my travel tips, globetrotting photographs and experiences from around the world, and in hope of inspiring others to do the same.

SIMILAR ARTICLES

654
I thought it was going to be weird coming home from another year abroad. 2016 has been a complete whirlwind of unexpected amazingness and self discovery....

697
In late September, I finally found myself in India, wandering the streets of Kolkata and Mumbai; camera at the ready, getting to know people...

814
Singapore is like a second home to me. I have lost count of all the times I’ve stayed in Little India on my way...

608
A B O U T ~ S H A R N I Sharni Honor, lover of music, frolicker in all places coastal, collector of shirts,...