On board Beatitude, I carry a reasonably extensive supply to meet the most common emergency medical needs. I have needed very little of it until Shelter Bay. One reason, I am sure, that I am using more of it now is because we have been here for five months and fellow cruisers are aware that I am a resource to meet their medical needs. Shelter Bay is a very busy marina which sits on the Caribbean side of the canal. Most every sailboat that crosses the canal ends up in the marina for a few days. And then there are a sizable group of people whose boats have been in the marina for a few years. At any rate, I’ve practiced more medicine, pro bono of course, in the past two or three months than in years of previous cruising. Our salon and cockpit has become a makeshift emergency department. I’ve drained abscesses, sewn and stapled lacerations, splinted broken limbs, treated skin infections and various rashes, examined eyes for foreign bodies, and even consulted on more serious problems such as gastrointestinal bleeding. I’m thankful that I’ve been able to help my fellow cruisers in some way. It’s a small way of giving back to a very nice community of folks.
As I type this, I am sitting in the Atlanta Airport, waiting out an 8 hour layover before flying into Melbourne, FL for work in a “real” E.R. I’ll work ten twelve-hour days out of the next twelve days, and I’ll be flying between Wisconsin and Florida on the other two. Once again, I am thankful for the flexibility my profession allows me to work as I do. While in the United States, I will pick up additional parts for the generator and the engines. Then, on April 7th, we fly back to Panama, hopefully for the last time. If all goes as planned — prayers will be greatly appreciated — we’ll depart Panama on Beatitude within one week of our return. We need to have our vessel in Florida by the second week of May in order to begin the next phase of our adventures.
Meanwhile, our comfortable daily routine continues. We’ve now gotten into the habit of rising early to walk our 2.5-3 miles through the jungle before the sun rises too high in the sky, bringing with it it’s intense tropical heat and humidity. We revel at God’s creative beauty, breathing in the floral fragrances of the dawn hours, listening to the diverse songs of the many species of birds which inhabit these forests, marveling at the long, loud, cries of the howler monkeys, and photographing as much as we can. We’ll never forget our time we’ve lived in Central America.
We don’t do really video, but here is a short one consisting of a few random clips from the past few days: