National Geographic : 1970 Oct
clean and pleasant. They come to Porvenir to sell things to the tourists who fly out from mainland Panama to see them. Patti and I would explore the Panama islands and canal together, living on and off the boat and going on short sailing trips, as we had in the Virgins. Our sightseeing inter lude would end on the Pacific coast of Pana ma; from there I'd set out alone on the next leg of my voyage. First we visited an island plantation that wasn't more than half a mile long but had hundreds of coconut palms, three or four thatched shacks, one man, and a whole bunch of women to harvest the crop. The whole San Blas economy depends on coconuts. After a few days, we went on to Tigre Is land, just off the mainland, where we saw several of the albino Indians for which these islands are famous. There were so many when the Spaniards came that they thought they'd discovered a tribe of whites. We made other stops, one at Pidertupo, where an American couple, Tom and Joan Moody, had built a pretty little resort in na tive style, another at a ramshackle old hotel full of character and creaking planks, built out over the harbor at Pico Feo. Then we powered into Cristobal in the Canal Zone.* Sandy Beach No Place for a Luau It was good to get ashore. Fili, the blind cat, thought so too. How she got off the boat we don't know, but she did. She vanished on December 22. We searched everywhere, even went around showing people her picture. Then, two days later, she showed up again - right in the yacht club entrance-with a raffish-looking tomcat. Christmas came along, and some Ameri cans we'd met invited us to spend it with them. It was nice to see Christmas celebrated with a Christmas tree. We were stuck in Cristobal, waiting for *See "Panama, Link Between Oceans and Conti nents," by Jules B. Billard, GEOGRAPHIC, March 1970. Wing and wing under double headsails, Dove heads out from the Virgins into a squally Caribbean. The boat rolls under this rig, making one sail appear as if back winded. Alone once again-except for his two cats-Robin sets a course for Panama, a thousand nautical miles southwestward. Furling gear allows Robin to roll up the two headsails like window shades without having to leave the cockpit. 518 KODACHROME BYJOSEPHJ. SCHERSCHEL© N.G.S.