Yesterday we made a dinghy ride all around the island (that admittedly sounds less impressive when you know that the island is only 1.7 miles long ). On the northern side the reef reaches out several miles, we found a pass into the lagoon, but there’s shoals everywhere and taking Pitufa over here would be quite tricky.
There are a few luxorious looking villas on Tintipan, especially in the maze-like lagoon on the western side of the island, but all natives live on a tiny island southwest of Tintipan. We tied the dinghy to a jetty there and took a walk accompanied by a group of children. They proudly showed us the schoolhouse and the door to their medical centre and the shop. The shop was closed, but the owner opened up for us, showed us around in the light of a single candle and we bought some bread.
The island is crammed with houses, there’s only narrow paths between them, no place for gardens to grow things. Some are even built on stilts directly on the reef. We couldn’t find out why the people are confined to such tight quarters, while there’s plenty of space on the bigger islands. We tried to ask the villagers about this fact, but whenever we steered the conversation to this topic the smiles died and we were faced with silence. Apparently that’s a taboo topic…
Today the wind has turned southerly again and we’re pitching uncomfortably in the waves. Unfortunately the skies are overcast, so we can’t see underwater obstacles and don’t dare searching for the pass on the protected northern side which we found by dinghy yesterday. If we had a portable GPS to take it with us in the dinghy and a portable depth sounder we could scout out passes and anchorages… We’ve already written these two items on the top of our shopping list for Panama!