From Linton we moved in to the San Blas Islands. Our first stop was Chichime, then to Mamiputu and finally to the Hollandes
Cays. The Indians are an independent interesting matriarchal culture known for their molas.
At Hollandes Cays, called "the swimming pool" by cruisers, we anchored in 9 feet of water. We could see every spec of
sand on the bottom. Joe dropped a lock overboard and we could see it as clearly as looking through a pane of glass. There isn't
any protection from the wind as there are few islands with any trees on them to stop the wind. There is only the coral reef that
surrounds the islands which protects boats from the swell.
The water was spectacular and clearer than we'd ever seen, but to our surprise there was very little sea-life. And the coral
appeared to be diseased or dead almost everywhere. We found out later that the locals were using bleach to catch squid. They
would inject bleach in to the small openings in the coral to kill the squid, which would then float out of hiding and be caught. The
other result from this practice was that the small islands were littered with empty white plastic bleach bottles having been
discarded in the lagoons and washed up onshore.
Trash was always a real concern to cruisers. Many times cruisers would gather at remote anchorages in the afternoon for
"happy hour trash burns" on the beach. It was a good time to meet other people and dispose of ones garbage properly. On the
pacific side where there were big tides, we'd burn the trash at low tide so as the tide came up it would sweep the ashes to sea.