We went to Nargana to check out the internet there. And our friends on Caliente wanted to show their guest, Sam, what it looked like.
Nargana and Corazon de Jesus are two small islands close together, connected by a bridge, just outside the Rio Diablo. It is a Kuna village that boasts an airstrip (on a 3rd island), at least one restaurant, a bakery, a small store, and a bank. About half of the houses in town are concrete block construction, the other half are more traditional thatch huts.
We had heard that the school there had internet and would let visiting yachts use it, for a $5 donation. We were amazed to find that it is a large air conditioned room in ground floor of the 2-story concrete block school. There is a satellite dish on the roof, and a server with wifi and about 20 computers in the room. When we first got there, all of the computers were occupied by middle-school children in blue and white uniforms. It looked like 'homework time' in the computer room, as there was
no active instruction going on. Quite a few of the kids had headphones on and looked like they were downloading MP3's, etc.
The connection was very slow, and it took nearly an hour to download all my mail. While we were waiting, Dave struck up a conversation with the guy in charge of the room. He is a well-dressed Kuna, and is associated with 'sea turtle preservation'. He and the turtle-huggers got a grant from the Ford Foundation to build the computer room. He said there are two others on other islands in Kuna Yala.
The main purpose of the internet trip...I found out why the IRS rejected my e-Filed tax return... my name according to Social Security didn't match the name I filed with. I never got around to changing my name officially with the Social Security Administration. TurboTax's advice was to print and file on paper. I had daughter Nicki file an extension instead, and we will handle it in June when we make a brief trip to the States.
We had a nice lunch at Nali's Cafe, where there is a decent dock to dock the dinghies. This is a typical Kuna structure... made of bamboo and sticks, with a thatched roof and basically open-air walls. (Though the kitchen was part of a concrete house). We had a nice lunch of fish, coconut rice, and salad for about $5.
We were met on the dock by Frederico, who has been the guy to 'get anything' for the cruisers in Nargana for years (I have a note about him in our Island Time log from 1995). He speaks Spanish and passable English, and he will hustle water in jugs, and take trash. He has a brother that runs the store, Tiende Eide. I think another brother, Paco, is the guy to talk to in Nargana about diesel.
The only disappointment was for Sam, who was looking forward to getting cash from the bank. (He has spent all his ready cash on molas). The bank has no ATM, and is only open in the mornings. When he went back in in the morning, they would not do a cash advance on a Visa Card. If you have the time to wait, you can get money wired to the bank, but apparently that's the only way.
We were kind of amazed to find that we had no cell phone coverage in Nargana, with either Movistar or Cable and Wireless. They do have phone booths there, but apparently no cell phone tower.
In the afternoon, we took our two dinghies up the Rio Diablo, a fresh water river. We motored up as far as we could go, and then got out and dragged the dinghies up further in shallowing river bed. When we got up as far as we could go, there was a nice pool of clear fresh water, and a very small area of semi-rapids. Sam got water buckets to do his laundry, and we filled up our shower bag for a fresh water shower later. We had fun playing in the cool water.
Late in the day after the river trip, we moved out to anchor in clean water just south of Green Island. The book did not show an anchorage there, but we had noted a large area of sand in calm water, on our way past the area the day before. We found a nice 8-10' spot big enough for 2 boats, approachable in bad light. 09-23.83N 78-37.50W