Piragua Fishing With Kuna Indians In The Darien
El Real, Panama
Fishing is a major source of food and income for the indigenous people of Panama’s Darien provence. We joined them in an attempt to catch our dinner.
My buddy Gabriel and I had just finished trekking for a few days through the rainforest in Darien National Park, and were now staying with a local Kuna family in the village of El Real.
The rainy season was in full swing. But after a few days of it, you soon get accustomed to wearing wet clothes all the time.
Hand-line fishing in the rain now sounded like a lot of fun.
So our Kuna guide Isaac, his brother Alberto, and Isaac Jr. handed us a pair of hand-carved wooden paddles for the journey down-river. Our transportation? A Piragua. This traditional wooden canoe had been used in the Darien for hundreds of years.
Crocodiles Like Gringos
Walking down to the dock in the rain, we passed a cantina full of drunk Colombians. It was 2pm. They spied our paddles and called us over to warn against falling into the river. Didn’t we know the water is full of hungry crocodiles?
After displaying our expert piragua paddling skills in an attempt to ease their fears, they unanimously agreed we were goners. They forced us to have a last dance with them before we became crocodile food…
Thanks for the vote of confidence guys.