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Captain’s Log: Feb. 23, Cristobal, Panama

Aboard Zuiderdam

I promised a picture of my adopted family in Panama, so here they are.

This photo below was taken somewhere around 1995 or 1996 when I was sailing on the Noordam as Chief Officer. It was published in “Inside Passages” last year without any explanation.


The cruises we were doing at the time were going from Acapulco to Balboa and back, and so on the occasion of the inaugural call to Balboa, Captain van Lansschot challenged the agent to arrange the presence of Miss Panama, who was chosen as Ms. Universe or something in that category. To our great surprise, the agent answered he could arrange that, no problem.

So on the day in question Captain van Lansschot was eagerly awaiting the arrival of the delegation of the port, including Miss Panama. I had a bit less faith in the agent’s power, but you never know, so I attended as well.

The young lady in the picture was who showed up. Apparently she was Miss Kuna for that year, and before we knew it, Captain van Lanschot and myself were made honorary members of the Kuna tribe. We did both forgo the ritual tattooing though.

On our current run to Cristobal we are welcomed by members of the tribe, and it feels like a homecoming every time.


1 Comment
  • Laurea

    I had the pleasure of purchasing some of this tribes handiwork on the last stop to Cristobal Feb 13th…which was also my birthday, a very enjoyable experience and wonderful day on Gatun Lake.

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