Beatitude: Makeshift Emergency Room

Shelter Bay Sunrise from Beatitude

Another Sunrise on Shelter Bay

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.

Packing an incised and drained abscess in our salon

Splinting a young girls broken arm. She fell from a tree. (This is screen shot of a video, which is why it is blurry… sorry.)

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.

Two of Cindy’s latest paintings, a toucan and a woodpecker, as seen through the window from our cockpit.

One of the stream of Megayachts which make their way into and out of the marina. The 164-ft long Aspen Alternative can be chartered for only $185,000/week + expenses!

We took the shuttle into town to find a notary for some insurance paper work. It was remarkable easy to get it done. This is our friendly notary.

This is inside the complimentary shuttle van that takes cruisers into Colon and back. On this day, we had some entertainment by this young cruiser.

My incredible winning scorecard from last Sunday’s game of Mexican Train.

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.

On one of our early morning walks

Walking on the docks at dawn.

A little crab scrambling across our path.



The long-billed hermit hummingbird

Momma and Baby Howler


Proof of Evolution?


This little guy is cracking open a pod for breakfast.

We don’t do really video, but here is a short one consisting of a few random clips from the past few days:

10 thoughts on “Beatitude: Makeshift Emergency Room

  1. Dr. Carey I am in awe of your makeshift Emergency Room, makes me smile to see your work again. Pray that some day I will be able to work with doctors with your caliber again.

  2. What great memories you guys have made in your travels! So thankful you went for it & it’s worked out so well! I will miss your blogs on your sailing…but look forward with you on your new adventures seeing the states here! Great game of Mexican train (very impressive )

  3. Enjoyed your blog Carey. Love that God has used you to minister through medicine this way. I went into nursing in my mid 40’s and spent the first 5 years out of school in the ED and loved it. —-Helen Jones
    PS….We would love to get together when you and Cindy are in the Orlando area.

  4. Thank you for sharing what God is doing in your lives and how you continue to be obedient servants. Love hearing of your widespread adventures.

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