Once again I have to leave Carla and Nacho behind. Delivering Eleanor home has been quite an adventure and has taken around 18 months, how time flies? The addition of my father put a wrench in the delivery but has brought so much to Carla and I. How does the saying go? “When you make plans, LIFE HAPPENS”? I must say he loves Panama. His cardiologist has taken him off some of his heart medications. He lives peacefully now in his little beach house with no television or internet and turns to his kindle and surrounding nature for entertainment, priceless!
I’m leaving for the states in a few days. Carla and Nacho will come for a visit three weeks after I arrive. Then I’m off for Panama with Eleanor, FINALLY!
All of my creative energy has been diverted to the production of “The Minimalist Sailor” which we will start filming in June/July. Carla, my father, and myself are all so excited about the project, it’s a Dorsey team effort :)
I must say I’ve been somewhat upset lately. There are a few American boats in San Blas that are making relations between the Kuna nation and the sailors quite difficult. They aren’t happy with Kuna regulations and instead of abiding by them, they are contacting lawyers in Panama city, and even involving the USCG in Kuna matters.
I was voicing my concerns to this on the San Blas Crusiers Facebook group and was quickly deleted from the group and conversation. In order to be heard, I started the group San Blas Sailors, I really hate censorship! It is my firm belief that as sailors, it is our responsibility to respect other cultures as we travel no matter what our personal feelings are, especially when they are so vulnerable and can’t defend themselves from us. But if we think about it, bullies very rarely take on someone their own size. Carla and I came home to a deflated dinghy last week, both tubes in our dinghy have been punctured. I’ve never had such a problem in all my years voyaging and I’m not feeling like I want to
share much these days. Anyway, here is the first blog I wrote on the San Blas Sailors group:
Cowboys and Kunas.
Okay, I have to get this off my chest, once again I’ve lost sleep over what is going on in the San Blas and I would like to share my thoughts today.
There is a war going on in the world. It’s not covered by Fox News, and its soldiers are fighting from every corner of the globe. The soldiers are you and they are me, and this war is taking place on the front of humanity itself.
We are a rapidly evolving species unlike the shark, lizard, or amoeba, who have not changed for thousands or millions of years. If we are to walk into a structure built by man just a few hundred years ago, we have to duck as we enter. We are much taller than our ancestors just a few generations ago.
When I was crossing the Pacific alone in 2007 my mind began to wonder at sea. The Pacific is vast, and it’s easy for a man to get lost in his own thoughts on a 28′ sailboat. I ended up throwing most of my books overboard as I couldn’t let modern philosophies and ideas pollute the pure thoughts and ideas that were being generated by my heart. Some may call it solitude-driven insanity, others clarity. No news, no phones, internet, or television during my eight-month journey, Just time with my soul, and time to get to know who I am at my very core. It was the best and most rewarding time in my life.
Somewhere between the Galapagos Islands and the Marquesas (thirty days at sea) everything negative about humanity (war, slavery, the preoccupation with killing, destroying nature) all started to make sense. How can western mankind have the ability to create such beauty (music, poetry, art), yet manage to destroy nature (my God) every step of the way? Eusociality.
Here is the Wiki definition of Eusociality:
Eusociality (Greek eu: “good/real” + “social”), the highest level of organization of animal sociality, is defined by the following characteristics: cooperative brood care (including brood care of offspring from other individuals), overlapping generations within a colony of adults, and a division of labor into reproductive and non-reproductive groups. The division of labor creates specialized behavioral groups within an animal society which are sometimes called castes. Eusociality is distinguished from all other social systems because individuals of at least one caste usually lose the ability to perform at least one behavior characteristic of individuals in another caste.
“Eusociality exists in certain insects, crustaceans and mammals. It is mostly observed and studied in the Hymenoptera (ants, bees, and wasps) and in the termites. For example, a colony has caste differences; queens and reproductive males take the roles as the sole reproducers while the soldiers and workers work together to create a living situation favorable for the brood. In addition to Hymenoptera and Isoptera, there are two known eusocial vertebrates from the order Rodentia, which includes the naked mole-rat and the Damaraland mole-rat. Some shrimps such as Synalpheus regalis are also eusocial. Several other levels of animal sociality have been distinguished. These include presocial (solitary but social), subsocial, and parasocial (including communal, quasisocial, and semisocial).”
After further study of eusocial societies, I came across Harvard professor Edward O. Wilson’s research and book on the subject and my thoughts on human-behavior expanded even more.
Eusocial societies are societies where its collective, together, build what an individual can not. There is a division of labor, and the working class of the society does not raise their own offspring. Sound familiar?
Edward O. Wilson’s thoughts on human evolution as a eusocial society were highly controversial. Firstly, nobody wants to relate humanity to the ant, bee, or the wasp world (the borg). Have you ever watched ants go to battle with other ants? It’s brutal and unforgiving. Secondly, he observed that during every generation more and more humans choose not to reproduce (homosexuality). This being a definitive evolutionary marker that proves that the human race is evolving into an advanced eusocial society, certainly food for thought?
These ideas rolled around in the corners of my mind as I was sailing in-between Polynesian islands. The differences between the French and the Polynesians were drastic, black and white really. Two distinct types of humanity that are fundamentally different. One who respects and worships the earth, the other who destroys it while worshiping a human figure in the sky. The story was one of indigenous men being dominated by western men, and indigenous man inevitably losing, and pushed farther into the forest as they are not nearly as aggressive or territorial as the white man.
When I was a child I always chose to be the indian in “cowboys and indians”, yup, I was that weird kid. I liked the idea of running free with the horses and nature far better than branding it, herding it through chutes, not to mention dominating and destroying those who saw nature as their God. The more I thought about it, the more it all made sense, and the more I realized I can’t live in the west.
I’ve never been successful living in the western world anyway. I see mankind herded into cubicles by the television, fear, and each-other. Watching humanity enslave itself into a eusocail corner makes me quite sad. I am an indigenous man in my heart and soul. All I yearn for is freedom, peace, the sea, and tranquility. But that’s not a reality in today’s world, is it?
There is an unseen war being fought between eusocial and indigenous men, actually it’s more of a slaughter. The indigenous have been enslaved, murdered, and herded to reservations. Reservations are nothing more than graveyards where indigenous philosophies will perish with their men forever. Forests will be destroyed, and the west will build cities upon their graves, same old story.
By the time I got to Australia, all I wanted to do was come back and live with the Kuna (Guna) Indians in the San Blas Islands of Panama. During my absence, Panamanians had managed to build a road through the Darien jungle, connecting the west with the indigenous culture that had captivated my heart just a few years prior. They were protected by the jungle until then, only trading and having a good relationship with sailors from the far reaches of the globe, real sailors! Now I watch my fellow “sailors” (cruisers) disrespect, belittle, and jeopardize the very fragile last bit of an indigenous society that I love and hold close to my heart.
We have to take sides on this matter! We don’t have to fight their battle for survival as it will be gone forever in the blink of an eye, but we have to decide in our hearts if their struggle in this last ditch-effort of survival as a culture is worth our support, or at the very least our compassion?
Ever since I’ve returned to Panama my heart has been quite low watching what I consider to be the most beautiful place on earth perish forever. Watching my “friends” nickle and dime the Kuna into the modern world and bringing in outside forces to govern it, “supreme court in Panama city”, really? Shame on you, you are attacking the very thing I cherish and hold sacred, I take it personally.
Many American yachties that I know don’t take the time to learn Spanish. Let me give you a Spanish word of the day, “enemigo” (enemy, not my amigo), that is what you are making our community of sailors to the Kuna when you bring in outside forces to govern them.
I’ll leave this page up for a while, truthfully Id like to give it to someone who won’t censor it and will try to reestablish the positive link that the Kuna and sailors have had for so many generations until recently. At the very least, it’s been a venue where I could express my thoughts on the matter.
As soon as my father passes I will return to the Pacific to live with indigenous men of Polynesia. A place where men don’t run and cry to the authorities (mommy and daddy) when they don’t get their way like spoiled little children wanting more, more, more, bigger, and cheaper! A place that is even more insulated from the west.
Enjoy the Paradise the Kuna are sharing with you today, at the very least, try and manage a shred of compassion. And next time you complain about them trying to sell you another “fucking” mola realize it’s their commodity, the only way they can make a buck to buy food that was so plenty before we stuffed ourselves on their food supply (over fishing) and trading it for paper. And as far as the Congreso (Kuna government), that is their battle, not ours, mind your own business!
If you can’t manage respect and support, try and find the decency to sail to Bocas Del Toro, Las Perlas or somewhere else, which is considered part of Panama and is covered by your cruising permit, lots of western convenience and you won’t do as much damage to such a delicate society.
My wife tells me my words are too aggressive, for that I don’t apologize, because the actions of a few have really hurt me with a very sensitive subject. I have also complained about the fees, hid from the Congreso boats, and have been annoyed by mola sales. But the reason I spend most of my time in Linton, and not San Blas is because I can’t afford it and some of you are putting it even further from my grasp, as the Kuna are increasing fees because they don’t want us there. Some of you don’t even acknowledge them as a separate nation. They have a set of defined fees for cruising, anchoring in certain places, and using certain islands. Some cruisers were horrified that after not complying with Kuna laws, they were threatened. What would happen if you went to the US, Australia or England and refused to pay their fees or comply with their laws? The Kuna are not violent, they are protecting the rules set by their nation.
Quick story. I’m about to produce a film “The Minimalist Sailor”. I bought a professional drone in order to get my aerial shots. I’m returning to the States to pick it up in a few weeks and am truly dumbfounded by what I have to go through to take it for a test flight. I would have to register it with the FAA, buy insurance, and pay public parks in order to fly it for a 1/2 hour test flight. Let’s not forget what we love about Panama, and the freedoms we enjoy here. If you can’t afford to go on a cruise you don’t go, if you want to visit New Zealand and can’t afford to go, you don’t go. There is nothing different with the Kuna Nation, if you can’t afford to visit, don’t. We are visitors here and it is my belief that we, as sailors, have a responsibility to set a positive example as we travel.
Peace, Sail far and live slowly.