Green Wakes April 2012
Paradise lost? Panama’s San Blas islands are idyllic, except for tidal trash: plastic bottles, unmatched flip-flops, chunks of polystyrene. Most cruisers turn a blind eye, but not energetic Italian Simonetta Bartoli, of the 44-foot aluminum sloop Dream. With permission from the local Kuna people, she and her husband, Piero, collect and burn beach trash on every island they visit. In their reckoning, the toxins released are still preferable to choking marine life. No, it’s not a long-term solution, but Simonetta is taking action and setting an example while respecting local ways. If this cruising Italian cares about Panama’s shores, others may just be inspired to follow.