07/10/2012, Bocas del Toro
We have received several e-mails regarding the armed robbery where we are at. We are fine. We have been told this hasn't happened in at least 5 years. This sailboat is anchored just outside the marina. Before we moved into the marina, we were anchored next to this boat. This couple is in their 70's that do canvas work and have only been here a couple weeks. Security has been increased at the marina and they are talking about adding security to the anchorage. A $500 reward for the capture has been posted. The locals are upset, they need us cruisers to come to their town and spend money. The cruisers are gathering together this Saturday for a fundraiser for the couple. The marina has offered to move their boat into the marina, free of charge. Many of the cruisers are helping out however they can. We are all stunned and saddened.
Article below from the Panama Guide:
By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - A pair of armed and dangerous assailants brutally attacked an American couple last night aboard their sailboat anchored in the "South Anchorage" of the Bocas Marina, next to Isla Colon in the province of Bocas del Toro in the Republic of Panama. The attack started after midnight last night, during early morning hours today, Sunday, 8 July 2012. The assailants pulled up next to the couple's sailboat at 1:00 am early this morning in a typical Panamanian wooden cayuco. The two assailants boarded the sailboat, held the couple at gunpoint, and tied them up. They ransacked the boat and stole everything of value, including cameras, electronics, a computer, cash, and jewelry. The attack lasted at least two hours, during which time the victims were assaulted and brutalized. The victims were finally able to put out a call for help on the radio at 3:30 am in the morning, after the assailants had left.
A Description Of The Assailants: The two men are described as skinny, black men, medium height, and short hair. They spoke both English and Spanish. During the assault one of them called the other by the name "Emilio." The victims say the men had a "Jamaican accent" but it's unlikely they were actually from Jamaica. It's much more likely the attackers are from the Afro-Panamanian community in the area of Bocas del Toro. Many of the members of the "Afro-Antillean" community are West Indian immigrants from Trinidad, Barbados, Martinique and Jamaica, brought to Panama in order to build the Panama Canal in the early 1900's. There are several concentrated communities of Panamanians who are members of this "Afro-Antillean" community, specifically on Isla Bastimentos and on other islands in the Bocas del Toro Archipelago.
Dinghy Recovered: The assailants took the sailboat's dinghy when they left. After dawn this morning someone spotted a dinghy floating free off of the coast of Isla Carenero. Someone swam out and recovered the dinghy. It's possible (assumption on my part) the assailants took the dinghy in an attempt to keep the victims from being able to leave their boat, and they simply abandoned it near Isla Carenero as they made their escape in their own cayuco.
Police Report Filed: The victims have filed a complaint with the National Police in Bocas del Toro. The woman was taken to the hospital.
A Possible Earlier, Related Attempt? There is a report that some would be assailants - possibly these same two men - tried to board another sailboat at 10:30 pm last night, on Saturday 7 July 2012. Reported these would-be victims were able to "repel" that boarding attempt, and nothing else happened. I suspect the DIJ detectives will be investigating and comparing the details to determine or confirm if the two events are related. It seems like too much of a coincidence to think they might not be related in some way.
Editor's Comment: Obviously this is a very serious attack. I've passed this information along to my contacts in the highest levels of the Panamanian government, as well as the Panamanian news media. I'm sure the National Police and the Department of Judicial Investigation (DIJ) on Isla Colon will be doing their jobs to investigate this case, identify and find the culprits, and to bring them to justice. It's bad that this happened. From what I understand this couple had only been in Panama for a couple of weeks, and the cruiser community is burning up the networks discussing this situation. The Panamanian government, law enforcement, security, and judicial authorities are aware of the situation, and they know that the best thing they can do now is to find and punish the culprits as quickly as possible. If you have any information you think might be related to this investigation or of value, you can report it to the National Police, the DIJ, the FBI, or if you would like a confidentiality firebreak - send it to me. And, I'm sure the community of English speaking expatriates in Bocas del Toro will band together to help and support the victims. For now, let's focus on catching the bad guys. Please spread the word.
07/09/2012, Bocas del Toro
Big day on Kokomo, the engine leaves the fuel dock and goes into the boat. My careful planning worked and the engine went right into place. I drilled a few holes in the engine mounts and bolted the engine in place. Now we will work on getting everything hooked up. The exhaust hose is coming on Tuesday. This will present the next big challenge. I'm sure were up to the task.
Life is good on Kokomo!
07/08/2012, Bocas del Toro
I'm allergic to no-see-um and mosquitoes. Denny and I can be in the same place and he doesn't always get bit, but when he does, he gets tiny red dots, which don't bother him and disappear in a day. Me, on the other hand, get red welts for mosquitoes and water blisters for no-see-ums which last for a week or longer. When we were in Portobelo, I got these bites on my hands and feet that were blood blister bites. They all itch like crazy. Marina's are the worst for bugs. If I stay on the boat, I'm pretty good; it's when I go off the boat. Right now, I feel like I have the chicken pocks all the time. Denny calls me "lumpy".
I went on the internet and found a description of a no-see-um and things people have done to prevent getting bit and what they've done for relief after getting bit. I read that they are plentiful in Florida. The following is a description of a no-see-um: Adult biting no-see-ums are grayish in color with distinct wing patterns, but it is hard to see the details with the naked eye. When biting, or when they are resting, the wings are folded, scissor-like over the abdomen. The eyes on each side of the head are black and the biting mouth parts protrude forwards and downwards. Eggs are minute, cigar shaped and mostly black in color.
To prevent from getting bit, I've tried:
Light up coils (photo above) (helps, we have one lit from 3 pm-11pm)
Skin so soft (doesn't help, smells bad)
Lemon Eucalyptus (helps, smells bad)
OFF (depends on where we are, sometimes it works, sometimes not)
Baby oil (doesn't help, feels greasy)
100% DEET (this works, but isn't good for you, I use it about once a week)
Crotamiton - got this at the Panama Pharmacy (helps, no odor or greasy)
Took for 2 weeks B1 vitamins (Doctor in Mexico suggested it - didn't help)
Fan (helps, except for my feet at night because the fan doesn't reach there)
Covering up with a bed sheet (helps but I get too hot)
Put up the no-see-um and mosquitoes net on the door to the bedroom (helps)
Vanilla extract & water mix (doesn't help, but I had a nice shiny looking tan!)
Bounce dryer sheets (tried it for a short period because Denny doesn't like the smell)
Haven't tried yet:
Preperation H with Vitamin E and Aloe
No-See-Um Spray, 4 oz. for $9.95 (probably will order a bottle)
Vinegar & Water Spray - half & half, spray on sheets 30 minutes before bed. This may work if you use top sheet, we don't because it's so hot all night
Relief from after getting bit I've tried:
Little stick called "after bite" (it stings, helps temporarily)
Systra cream - got this at the Panama Pharmacy (helps, can go threw a tube in a couple days)
Take Claritin an anti-histamine (it helps, I take one every day)
Rub vinegar with a cotton ball (when I have so many bites, it helps but temporarily)
Solarcane (helps for a short period)
Hot water (see below) - this helps, but heats up the cabin
Cortazone Cream (helps but I go through it fast)
Neosporin Cream (helps heal faster)
I use Q-tip swabs and a small cup of boiling water. I dip the tip of the swab into the boiling water and then quickly dab the swab onto the bite. This does work.
Haven't tried yet:
"Ivy-Dry" Super a zinc complex with benzyl alcohol, camphor and menthol.
Tea Tree oil
Epsom salts on a wet washcloth
If I've missed something and you have anything that might help, please share! Thanks!
07/07/2012, Bocas del Toro
Yesterday was the final touches before the new engine gets put into Kokomo. After making all the cuts and doing all the grinding it was time to patch it all up with some fiberglass work. As a kid age 14, I had a hydroplane as a boat and each year before I could put it in the water I had to do some fiberglass work on it. Everything I have done in the past 10 days I learned in wood shop, metal shop or from my Dad growing up. No amount of advanced calculus would help me here. Where does advanced calculus help anyhow? To bad all the good classes in school have been cut, because of funding most kids would benefit from a few lessons in the trades. Back to the boat, tomorrow we will set the new engine in the boat, we spend the next two weeks waiting for parts and setting things up. All is going as planned so far.
Life is good on Kokomo!
07/06/2012, Bocas del Toro
Yesterday was another test of my intelligence. I spent most of the day trying to take a flange off the c/v joint that connects the shaft to the transmission. I tried several different ways to get to the hex head screws. One included taking the shaft out while the boat was in the water. Lucky for me, because of the zinc, I couldn't do this. Then while eating lunch the light bulb went on and I was off to the store to buy a $3.50 tool, 10 minutes later the problem was solved. All I needed was a hex head on a socket attached to two extensions. Easy right? Sometimes it helps to remember most problems have an easy answer.
Life is good on Kokomo!
07/05/2012, Bocas del Toro
It's been 9 days since we pulled into the marina.The old engine is out and the new one is sitting on a fuel dock a few hundred feet away. What I've learned is nothing is as easy as it should be. To make the engine fit we have to modify the engine compartment on Kokomo. New footings for the engine mounts because there is not a standard location on engines for mounts. Some cutting and fiberglass work as the stringers are in the way of the new bell housing. The biggest problem to be solved is running a new bigger exhaust hose. I had to take a sawsall to Kokomo to make proper modifications. Tomorrow I drill a bigger hole threw the hull. Some custom work will be needed to connect the exhaust from the engine to the muffler as Sabre and Yanmar's design teams are not friends. All in all things are going well and we expect to be underway around the end of the month.
In the photo above I'm grinding the engine mounts. Thanks Kelly for the shirt!
Life is good on Kokomo!