It’s a good thing Élan and I are happy right where we are.
To the north of us, Hurricane Sandy is wrecking havoc on Jamaica and setting its sights on the east coast of the US. To the south of us, Panama City and Colon are rioting.
Have no fear, we are safe from both here in our snug marina on the Caribbean coast of Panama, however we are affected by both. We were planning to make the jump from Panama northward to Jamaica in a week or so. Historically speaking, November is a good time to do that long open-water stretch- in the last fifty years, there have only been 6 hurricanes/named storms in November, and the December “Northers” have not quite picked up yet. Hurricane Sandy has struck a little fear in our hearts, so we will likely be putting off that treck for a extra week or so. Leaving in mid-November should still give us enough time to get north before the northers pick up, we just may not have as much time to dilly-dally around the small atolls along the way.
The current situation in Colon and Panama City is as difficult to predict as the weather. The riots started in Colon when the President made the decision to sell land in the Duty Free Zone (it’s the second largest in the world), which is currently occupied by local sellers, to multi-national corporations. The locals revolted and violent rioting has escalated to shoot-outs, tear gas and police raids. Many, including some small children, have been injured and killed in the crossfire. Major roads are being barricaded, the airport has been shut down, and schools and shops are closed for business.
We are in no danger here on the boat. We are safely located about 40 miles from the city, and isolated by miles and miles of sparsely inhabited jungle. This does, however, mean that we cannot get any of the parts we are waiting for or any fresh food. All of the nearby markets have sold out because the road closures are blocking supplies all over the country. This inconvenience is nothing compared to what those living in the riot areas are experiencing. We are no strangers to eating canned and dried food, but I fear that the average Panamanian may not be so well stocked with non-perishables. Hopefully, for Panama’s sake, an agreement can be reached and peace can be made quickly.
Until the storms to the north and the riots to the south are all cleared up, we will stay tucked in tight right where we are. We just wanted you all to know that we are safe and sound, despite what you may have been hearing on the news.
I’m still working on our “US Trip” blog post, I should have it up soon.
Take care and much love to all,
A & E