welcome to our blog!

This blog tells the story of our 22-month sailing journey from Oakland, California, to Bristol, Rhode Island, aboard our beloved Bristol 32 sailboat, Ute. Please feel free to browse through the archives (partway down the sidebar to your left) to see pics and read stories of our adventures in North America and Central America . (Sorry the first 3 months of the trip are missing - they vanished somewhere in an internet cafe in Mexico - but all you're missing is CA, Baja and Western Mex).

If you're trying to track us down now that we're landlubbers, try us at uteatlarge at yahoo dot com. Thanks!

Friday, October 20, 2006

a moment in history....

can't believe I almost forgot to mention...that we will be transiting the Canal on the very day that the citizens of Panama vote on the proposal to expand the existing canal - a 5 billion dollar project that naturally has sparked major controversy and red-hot debate. The essential problem is that the biggest, most modern container ships being built today are actually too large to fit through the Canal in its current incarnation - hence Panama either has to expand the Canal to secure its monopoly on its transoceanic commerce, or watch as another Central American country steps in to build a bigger, and therefore better, canal.

These are interesting times for Panama....in a way, they're damned if they do, damned if they don't. I can certainly sympathize with concerns over who will foot the bill, and who will reap the real benefits of the new canal....but to sit back and watch someone else grab up the canal would be tragic. The canal is an inextricable element of this country's identity...but what a young country it is....and, as we Americans are learning in our own young country, you can't stay on top forever.

Geographically speaking, southern Nicaragua and Mexico's Tehuantepec region both remain suitable locations for a canal, just as they did a little over a hundred years ago, when Teddy smiled upon Panama instead (or shall I say, Colombia).

Nicaragua has been blowing a lot of smoke lately about building the next Canal. I will now bite my tongue and refrain from sharing my (obviously biased) opinions as to whether or not the government of Nicaragua could gets its act together to build anything more complex than a sandcastle.

It's probably naive to think of it as a Panamanian issue, anyway, or even a Central American issue, since I would bet that a chunk of the support, funding, and pressures are coming from Japanese and Chinese commercial entities.

anyway, time will tell.....


Anonymous said...

Looks like that vote was a, uhh, landslide 77 to 22! They agree with you Ute, but I think the locks are already big enough for a Bristol 32. You must have amibitions for a larger vessel.


Anonymous said...

How did the election turn out? Are we transiting the Nico canal next, or one mexicano?