Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Tragedy in Las Bocas del Toro

A confession: I sometimes act dismissive toward my wife when she tells me some of the beaches are not safe in her home country of Mauritius. My pledge is to not act this way again, after reading this article:

A fisherman off the northeast coast of Panama found the body of a Santa Monica High School English teacher Sunday, three days after he was swept off a beach and drowned, his friends said Sunday…

The article goes on to explain how this particular beach did not have any warning signs posted: Apparently, the local government in Bocas del Toro thinks giving people fair warning might hurt tourism.

May Mr. Lutz’s soul rest in eternal peace and I wish to send my personal condolences to his family. There is nothing more devastating than the loss of a child, and one can only hope the Lutz family will have their pain healed through time and whatever spiritual resources available to them.

But this should be a stark warning to all of us who travel to or wish to live on an island. Read as much as you can about the country you are visiting, and get to know what the dangers are. If you find an isolated beach that looks appealing, perhaps it’s better to ask the locals about it first. And never ignore a posted warning no matter how calm the ocean may look calm at the moment. All it takes is one wave to sweep a person out to sea.

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