Here is a collection of the group emails in the process of evolving our plans. Most recent at the top.

But keep in mind that no plans are final and that flexibility is key... we'll know a lot more when we get there. I have never seen an eclipse from where I thought I would be before I went there.

From Alexis - February 9
Some packing suggestions
From Jon (via Alexis) - February 8
Jon suggests taking a boat instead of a plane
From Lee - January 23
Lee has information for anybody hanging out in the Miami Airport
From Alexis - January 4
Some very helpful correspondence between alexis and a phoojournalist living in the area
From Alexis - December 30
Alexis' latest findings about the politics and travelling situation where we're planning to go... lotsa links
Via mr.13 - December 19
A bit of disturbing news about the safety of our current destination in Panama
From mr.13 - December 12
Update on 13 re: his plans, lots of info he's discovered, some useul links, what he's bringing, tentative schedule.
From Max - December 9
Panama, Darien, maps, general planning
From Alyosha - December 8
General update on where the plans now stand
From Alexis - December 8
Some worrisome info about Colombia
From Alyosha - December 3
Article in the Guardian about death squads in Colombia
From Alexis - December 5
Some Darien info and some medical info
From Max - December 1
A couple notes re: Colombia, Katios, and his web page for the event
From Alyosha - November 29
Lots of general info: planning, visas, vaccinations, Panama vs. Colombia, solar filtration, Carnaval, intra-group communication
From mr.13 - October 29
Still more info on Katios and Darien
From mr.13 - October 17
More info about the park in Colombia and ideas on how to get there
From mr.13 - October 6
Still planning on Colombia; details about Los Katios National Park
From: Demopoulos_Alexis/
Date: Sun, 8 Feb 98 19:07:09 -0500

Meanwhile... Here's what the Burford backpacking book says (apparently this is the second edition and the first edition was more focused on Darien), I've paraphrased, of course:




I hope this helps.
From: Demopoulos_Alexis/
Date: Fri, 23 Jan 98 3:40 AM

Hello Alexis,

use email, but if you want to call, my new number is 507-228-6965, I will get in touch with a guide for you next week and let you know how I get on. I think a hike would be very slow going and there is not much water around due tot the drought, hiking in the Darien is immensely uncomfortable and risky (due to insects which specialise in giving humans nasty diseases and snakes, not to mention a whole host of other parasites). One-day hiking is better, selecting a destination, setting off early and leaving in mid-afternoon. You can also hire horses in most places, these sturdy mulish horses can take you through the jungle easier too at a slightly quicker pace than walking (and less danger from snakes), with a horse, you can cover more ground and get alot from one day.

What I think may work better is to hire a boat, as the planes are full. Between ten people, we could hire a cool boat here in Panama and a person who knows how to use to whisk down to Jaque. The trip would take about 12 hours, but is amazing, as we could go through the Pearl Islands and check out some cool coastal parts of the Darien. We take the guide with us from Panama, so we can go anywhere (a medium sized motor boat can get a short way up the Darien's rivers. This means we can get to a great spot to witness the eclipse. To hire a plane is about $900, a kick-ass fast cruiser would (I estimate) cost around $600 (maybe some more for gas, depending on where we go). Depending on
what deadlines I have for the pictures, I may contribute more for the boat, as I may use it to dash back to Panama City and send my photos, before returning again. I am trying to find out if the Embera Indians do any kind of ceremony for the eclipse, as I thought it would be cool to see, but haven't come up with anything yet though.

see above.

Well let me know if you think its a good plan and I will tentatively
organise the boat.
cheers - Jon

From: Lee Schneider <>
Date: Fri, 23 Jan 98 3:40 AM
I just booked my flight tonight. I arrive in Panama City on February 22 around 2:00 in the afternoon, and my returning flight is on March 9, some time in the morning. Geoff was surprisingly close to coming, but alas, with tons of work to do in the next couple of months and an untimely setback this week at the hands of the flu, he had to pass. I'm working on learning how to say "which to way to Jaque" in Spanish, but I'm very interested in any preliminary thoughts on how/where to rendezvous.

Oh yeah, here's a tip for anyone with a long layover at the Miami airport (mine is 4 hours): the American Airlines guy said the airport hotel has a pool and health club on the roof. It seems that if you tell the right person you are an American Airlines passenger, you can get a day pass. Though it doesn't fire me up as much as lush, equatorial landscapes and celestial phenomena do, it beats the heck out of the game room.

Now I have to see a guy about some shots.

- Lee

From: Demopoulos_Alexis/
Date: Sun, 4 Jan 98 15:11:37 -0500

Subject: jmitchell, guides, jaque

Hello Alexis,

Thanks for your mail and the invitation.

Some friends and I intend to visit Panama in February with the loose excuse of a solar eclipse. The best viewing area will be around the city of Jaque. We had initially planned to fly into Panama City, then fly down to Jaque. From Jaque, we had intended on hiking down and camping on the Pacific coast. This may be naive, given the stunning photos in your collection, esp. "Colombian conflict engulfs South-Eastern Panama."
You should be OK, as it is rare that the FARC or ACCU attack tourists, however, keep an eye out on the net and in the US major dailies for any change. It would be advisible to hire an Embera Indian guide, if you want to go hiking, which I can help you out with when you arrive here.
On the other hand, perhaps Jaque is far enough West to avoid trouble.
Not really, although there has not been much news out of Jaque, which does not neccessarily mean that there is none.
Feel free to let me know what you think or to plan to accompany us if you want to.
You're all mad. But it seems like fun, I will probably come down with you to Jaque to see the eclipse, although I probably will not go on the hike with you.

Anyway, I am in the process of moving house and therefore cannot give you a telephone number right now, will do later this month though.

cheers - Jon

From: alexis
Date: Tue, 30 Dec 1997 15:01:26 -0500

Subject: darien gap

I did a brief Altavista Search on Panama and came up with two disturbing sites. Amnesty International and a group called FOR outline some disturbing trends in the Darien Gap on either side of the Panamanian-Colombian border. Essentially, colombian paramilitary groups run excursions into panama to terrorize the locals, while colombians freeing the paramilitary groups attempt to get food and water in panama.

What remains to be determined is whether the PACIFIC COAST SIDE is dangerous. Check out the links at:

In brighter news, there is a group called ANCON that has trans Darien Gap expeditions and a variety of other wildlife/nature hunts. They have a number of locations, although they all appear to be too far north. Difficult for me to tell because my maps aren't so good.

Their available waystations are at:

Lastly, there are some passably interesting factoids about the transamerican highway plans at this (heavily business oriented site):

Happy new year,


From: "Jon Mitchell"
Date: Mon, 15 Dec 1997 11:10:57 +0000

Subject: Re: darien panama

Dear Eric,

The park is a virtual war-zone, while it is possible to visit the area, an intensity of fighting between rebels and irregular paramilitaries means chances of kidnapp or injury at the hands of either much more likely. North bit of Kuna-Yala is OK. I don't see this changing soon, if you want to follow the situation, best to keep looking on the internet. Panama has many other extremely beautiful national park land which is much safer, you might think about the western provinces - no risk. If you like dangerous adventure travelling though, it is just the ticket. But get as much info as you can before leaving Panama City.

Hope this helps - Jon

From: "mr.13"
Date: Thu, 11 Dec 1997 18:04:42 +0500

Subject: timing

"When you go to the Darien, commend yourself to Mary... for in her hands is the entrance and in God's, the way out" -Carved in stone somewhere in the Gulf of San Miguel.

Hola mis amigos,

I hope you can read my attached files
(Microsoft Internet Explorer most likely still available free)

have GPS (global positioning system) will travel
we can now find anything on the planet
compact and easy to use
I also have:
Whisperlite camp stove
a good first aid kit with syringes
water purifier/filter
we need to make sure thet we don't have duplicates of certain supplies and gear
light travel es muy importante
someone told me
"organize your gear and money, then bring half the gear and twice the money"

Yellow Fever, Hepatitus A, Typhoid, Tetnus and Diptheria immunizations complete, as well as anti-malarial Lariam (taken weekly $8-11/pill) and Ciprofloxacin to shake Montezuma's Revenge (diarrhea) just in case.
Rabies is good but i didn't get it (maybe I will).

Jaque is definately the best viewing location
weather: low cloud cover, little rainfall (this time of year)
surroundings: jungle, ocean, rivers, Native tribespeople
political climate: haven't heard a damn thing, and that's good!
Dial 202-647-5225 State Dept Info

I haven't heard any accounts of this little trek but this is what I make of it:

there are regular flights to Jaque's airstrip from Panama City
Jaque is a very remote village of 1000 on the Pacific coast near the Colombian border
it is accessable by air, sea or foot only
the people are appparently very friendly and helpful

from Jaque we hike one to two days southeast along the Pacific coast to the tiny village of El Guayabo
I suspect this is a Choco or Cuna village, but don't know for certain
another 3-6 hours hike (I'm guessing probably more), hopefully there's a path, south to Punta Guayabo Chiquito between two ocean coves
Long. 78Ü 02' 50"
Lat. 07Ü 57' 37"
Optimum Viewing Point

from Jaque we'll be in the rough
drink from rivers
bath in sea
man, I better bring some tequila

I don't know of the coastal terrain
rugged or beach or both
It's supposed to be coastal plain
hopefully there'll be nice beaches to bathe at
and maybe we can find a hot spring or two
We need to bring in food and water of our own
which makes light travel essential (water weighs alot, but gets lighter as
we consume it)
it will be in the 80s and 90s and very humid
60s and 70s at night
(who knows what El Nino is doing to this area?)
keeping hydrated is very important
water and emergency hydration pills are important
I'm bringing enough dehydrated food for two or so people
I don't know how much we'll need we can most likely buy meals from the villagers

round-trip chicago-panama city for about $550
round-trip panama city-jaque about $85

my timing is not set yet
Feb 10 fly to Panama City
Feb 22 fly to Jaque
Feb 26 Eclipse
Mar 14 fly to Chicago

I figure 3-4 days minimum travel time from Panama City to Eclipse Zero, so
for people coming down for a shorter time, i would suggest Feb 21 to Mar 3
depending on the flight schedule to and from jaque.

47, can you figure out first night accommodations for me since you'll be
staying somewhere in panama city when I arrive?

*There's a 11,400 ft volcano called Volcan Baru north of City of David in western Panama.
(I want to climb it)
*Festival Carnival is Feb 21-24 with the best celebrations in Las Tablas on La Peninsula de Azuero and in Panama City. This unfortunately cuts travel time to Jaque.
*Western Panama is more mountainous and therefore we're more apt to find hot springs.
(I haven't found any data on this yet)

Check out //
It's got lots o' tid bit news

Gear Supplies Necessities

Day pack is nice
Sleeping bag
Long Sleeve Shirt
Sierra cup
Eating utensils
Deet insect repellant
Water purification tablets
Security wallet
Foot first aid
Tourist Cards/Visas
Immunizations and Health certificate
Toilet paper
Sun glasses
Zip lock freezer bags keep your gear dry when crossing rivers

I'm outta here, gotta a date


From: Max Abramowitz
Date: Tue, 9 Dec 1997 15:41:31 -0500
Subject: Re: As it stands

Panama sounds a lot better to me then death and destruction in Columbia. The ticket is nearly $200 cheaper to boot. At least from NYC.

From the stuff I read the Darian Gap is a tough journey. The Darian Gap isthe only break in the Interamerican. Two week journey during the dry season.There is very little desire to make the journey easy, because this wouldonly facilitate drug traffic between Columbia and Panama. The boat soundslike a good idea, but the only boats I have found references to are ferriesbetween Panama and Columbia.

I would suggest looking at the Lonely Plante Destination Panama page formore info. I have a link for in on my page I also have "glued" the mapguy referenced in his previous email together with the "other" map shouldgive you a better idea of the entire area. See the map link on the columbiapage. If you find any info more maps etc. send it my way or guys way and we willadd it to the page.

Something else is coming clear. I think we are divided into two groups:those who can travel for three+ weeks and those who can not. It would bepretty cool if the former does some scouting for the people who do not haveas much time to spare. Guy, you Laurie and I scouted out that cool parkbefore your sister and buzz arrived at the twinsburg twins festival. Kindof like that except let's hope we can avoid the bad trip.


From: Alyosha
Date: Mon, 8 Dec 1997 20:51:41 -0600 (CST)
Subject: As it stands

After talking with 13 and doing some reading, it looks like Jaque Panama is the best target for the moment. (which is sort of cool because when 13 and I pored over the maps a year ago, that was what we talked about... and now circumstance has led us back to our original destination)

Not only is it reachable, and not only is panama a lot safer than colombia at the moment (aren't you glad we sent our boys in there to get Noriega?) but on the pacific side of the isthmus there's dramatically less rainfall and cloudcover in february (3mm compared to 70 in turbo), making for a surer view of the event. Also in Panama we get 2 more seconds of darkness.

It seems pretty feasible to hike down the coast... Darien National Park is there... but also we might wanna consider getting a guy with a boat to help us out. That can't cost much more than a guide through the dariengap, which is $12 a day or so.... and if we hired him, as a group, for aweek, he could bring us to eclipse zero right down the coast, at the twolittle coves on the detailed map at he could help us go for food if we needed it, or emergencies, andalso our collective return after the eclipse. Besides which, we could possibly prevent him from going blind without the proper solar filtration. it's something to think about anyway.

13, you told me you found out some info about the area around jaque....what specifically did you learn?

I'm gonna start looking into what it takes to get there specifically, airfares and boats and all that and I'll let you know.

Also I was wrong before... carnaval is the 24th this year not the 3rd ofmarch as I thought. that's pretty perfect, since that's the end point ofthe party, not the beginning... although we don't know how long it'll take us to get to our syzygy spot, I read somewhere that there's a big carnaval in panama city. Although I can't find the web page anymore that talked about it. Anybody have any idea?

Cool. That's the scoop as it stands for the moment. If you're going to, you need to start on rabies and HepB pretty soon, since their vaccines are each a series of shots over a period of weeks.

Also, it's a shame that the 13 december is gonna be a full moon, because the Geminid meteor shower is that night, but its 50-80 shooting stars per hour will be drowned out by the moonlight. Oh well. So long as we're guaranteed a new moon for the eclipse. (which we are).

I don't know what else to write.

From: Demopoulos_Alexis/
Date: Mon, 8 Dec 97 19:19:37 -0500

Subject: Re: two more names for the list

Rick's neighbour, Kevin spent three months in Colombia. The area he stayed in -- northern coast by Santa Maria -- he says is stunningly beautiful. He also said that his girlfriend was kidnapped there (escaped by stealing a jeep and other incredible stories) and that such experiences were not uncommon. He advised the Panamanian side (Jaque) and indicated that it should be stunningly beautiful. Other points he mentioned:

He read and agreed with the state dept. sheet, including the warnings. The state dept sheet, coupled with prevailing rumours, indicate to me that at the very least, we should all buy "kidnapping insurance." Which apparently pays both the ransom and the negotiation fees. .

Oh this will be fun!


PS: Guy, you buy the kidnapping insurance, and I'll kipnap you!

From: Alyosha
Date: Wed, 3 Dec 1997 09:37:56 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Article in the Guardian

Monday 30 nov


A rightwing death squad killed up to 14 peasants, burned 22 homes andforced 300 people to flee into nearby mountains in northwest Colombia.

Poilce said the massacre, the fourth in 10 days, in the remote, rural areaof Dabeiba in Antioquia province, took place on Wednesday or thursday butsurvivors only managed to reach the main town to raise the alarm yesterdaymorning. The death squads routinely target civilians suspected ofsympathizing with leftwing geurillas.

President Ernesto Samper called an emergency meeting of his securitycouncil today to discuss the violence.

-- Reuters, Bogota.

From: Demopoulos_Alexis/
Date: Fri, 5 Dec 97 17:40:43 -0500
Subject: Darien Gap

Hey gang,

I recently looked up the Darien Gap and Turbo in a couple of travel guides: Lonely Planet's "colombia" and Footprint's "Ben Box South america." They all indicate that there is a fee and a permit to enter Katios National Park ($10, obtainable in Turbo) and they stress the importance of making sure the right entry/exit stamps are procured because of widespread corruption, etc.

on page 914 of the Footprint book there is a rather worrisome paragraph, paraphrased here: "Anyone considering crossing the Darien Gap overland should bear in mind that the area is becoming less safe because of drugs, bandits, guerilla activity on both sides of the border, but especially in Colombia and as far into the country as Turbo. New Tribes Mission (after the kidnap of 3 missionaries) has withdrawn from the area, a main source of assistance in the past." They go on to strongly advise travelling only in the dry season, travelling with companions, and hiring Indian guides ($12/day/each) via the village corregidor.

As far as diseases go, they give a pretty nice summary which basically says, be prepared for: malaria, yellow fever, dengue, leishmaniasis, hepatitis A, Rabies (dog bites are common), as well as the usual tetanus, diphtheria, and polio vaccines. Since I am the MD, I will look up these tropical diseases and put together a reasonable summary for everyone later. These diseases are not common in the US and so I don't yet have a working knowledge. Some of these are no brainers, everyone should take malaria prophylaxis, which in this chloroquine-resistant area means larium (expensive) which should be started one week before leaving to watch for side effects. There are reasonable alternatives if Larium is too toxic. Everyone should have a Hep A shot (why not). And you might as well get a Hep B shot (series of 3), these are effective and there's no reason not to be protected. Yellow fever is probably required by law to visit these places. I don't really know much about Dengue and Leish, but I'll look them up. Everyone should have a tetanus shot within 5 years of today.

I think this area is dangerous.

I think the wildlife is dangerous.

I think we should hire more than one Indian guide (they're cheap).

Oh yes, I recently heard of a case of cerebral malaria in a 3 month old at New york Hospital nextdoor. This is strange, since children at risk are usually between 6 months and 3 years old. But these latter statistics are based on the local population, whose mothers have been exposed and whose mothers passed them immunity across the placenta (duration of 6 months before lost). So this 3 month old caught a bad case of malaria because her mom had never been exposed, and therefore couldn't pass along IgG to her infant, which would have conferred protection for at least 6 months. That infant isn't doing so well. I think an alternative locale should be considered, but it's hard to turn down jungle and mountains to 15,000 feet.

yers, Alexis

From: Max Abramowitz
Date: Mon, 1 Dec 1997 09:26:55 -0500
Subject: Re: further eclipse info

Just a couple of notes.

1. I have to double check this, but I think we can get food in the park.Not the Four Seasons, but simple & cheap.

2. From what I read about the darian gap it is a tough journey. Alternativeroute take a boat.

3. I work with a Columbian and when I told him I was going to Columbia hewas very excited...until I told him where. The part of Columbia we aregoing to has a history of "issues". Banannas, peasants, and land lords allthe good stuff guerilla insurrections are made of. More info on this as myconversations with Juan Carlos develop.

4. I am pretty sure we need to get permits to stay in the park. We can getthe permits in Turbo or another city which name I forget. For those not inthe know Turbo is not that nice.

If anybody has other info. send it to me.


From: Alyosha
Date: Sat, 29 Nov 1997 16:15:39 -0600 (CST)
Subject: further eclipse info

13 you're going for sure. Max I assume you're still planning on going ifyour back is better. Brady I hope you can go...keep the door open, andpass this info on to Brigitta since it'd be great if she could come.Alexis last I heard you were up for it. Benj you've said you're there.Likewise Micheline. Lee, you mentioned something about showing uplast time you mailed me. And Leo & Sti you have a four-day-old baby and Ithink it's high time she saw an eclipse.'s where we stand.

13 and I are meeting in Panama city in the third week of Januarysometime. From there, we plan on hiking down, through the Darien Gap,to Colombia. On the border with Panama, but inside Colombia, is LosKatios National Park, where the Eclipse should be well visible. Therewe'll do some preliminary scouting.

In addition to NASA's standard eclipse page, they have justpublished another, with some more detailed information. It's at

13, since you've done lots of work with maps and research while I've been in Africa, I'm gonna ask you to outline what you've found out and send itto the list of people above. What we need is that everybody who mightbe going keep in touch as the date approaches.

Once 13 and I get there, we'll have a better idea of what we're talkingabout, but since we're only gonna be 3 weeks early or so, thatunfortuantely doesn't leave a huge window for everybody else to figure outhow you all should proceed. that's up to you... we'll get you the info assoon as we can manage it, either through the net down there if we can findit or by phoning one of you and asking you to send the info to everyoneelse. Any volunteers?

also, i was talking to laurie yesterday. she left for guatemala today...she says she's heard nasty stories about the darien gap being soincredibly dangerous right now... so we should be cautious... not rule itout, but have an alternate itinerary ready if the situation becomesinsupportable. we'll get more info when we get there i'm sure, but alsowe can keep a watch on the state dep't warning sheets,, and try to find out more from other sources. I'd like to think there'll be increased security due to all thepeople who want to see the eclipse, but who knows? But we should stayflexible to stay safe.

As far as health requirements, check out, the first is the Center forDisease control and the second the World Health Organization. Basically,you should have vaccinations for yellow fever, cholera, typhoid, and takeLariam for malaria. If you really have bad reactions to the Lariam, thereare alternate prophylactic regimens available, but this is definitelyfalciparum country (i.e. cerebral malaria, i.e. the deadly one) so don'tfuck around. I recently nursed a good friend through it from start tofinish and its a bad thing. Also you might want to consider astring of rabies shots (it's a series of three) and possibly meningitis,although that isn't a huge problem in this area. We won't be anywherenear a hospital so be smart, but Alexis, if you come, we'll have a doctorto save everyone's lives.

OK on to entry requirements. We need to be able to be in either Colombia or Panama, to stay flexible depending upon closer information. None of us need visas for Colombia... Ole, Benj, Micheline and Brigitta,you should double check on and probably call aconsulate to be super sure. As for Panama, I can't find a generalconsular information page for them, so you four will have to make a coupleof calls... US citizens don't need a visa for a 30 day stay. I know this is a lot of info, and not even really about the eclipseitself, but a party in the jungle is worth a bit of planning for.If anyonehas any other ideas or knows other people who want to come, lemme knowand forward this letter. Bythe way I should point out (not really necessary) that in the park on thePanamanian border, we'll almost certainly be camping, and that a severalhours' hike away from anything. 13 can tell you more about that, sincehe's done the park research. but you'll need camp stuff, maybe a hammock,and probably basic first aid stuff and water purification tablets orsomething. We'll have to figure out about food, too.

Also, everyone will need solar filtration... you can't stare at the sun...I use a piece of #14 welders' glass... aluminated mylar glasses are goodbut they can scratch and let uv rays through... on nasa's eclipse page,there's a list of sources of solar filters, but a local weldingshop or planetarium should be able to help you out. If you get welding glass, make SURE it's #14, and if you buy the mylarones, get a couple extra... they're super cheap, and if we have too many, maybe we can save some local people from premature blindness through our generosity. Additionally, mardi gras, or carnaval, or whatever you want to call it, is march 3rd next year... that doesn't leave us much time, especially since the partybegins well before that date and ENDS the 3rd... does anyone knowanything about what might be going on anywhere near where we'll be?

Cool. I think that's about it for now. Keep in touch and lemme know howyour plans develop. And I'll see you in Colombia if not sooner.


From: "mr.13"
Date: Sat, 29 Nov 1997 18:43:38 +0500
Subject: Eclipse over Katios

ok here is a bunch of info on the eclipse, katios & the darien gap. if you guys have been researching as well please send me everything which isn't included in my package.

guy, i may not make it down by the third week of january. i'm still uncertain about my timing but i'll know very soon. it's nice to see so many people interested in this event. it will be amazing

i found a 100 meter jungle waterfall directly under the center of the eclipse (well, it appears to be within 1km of eclipse zero, if anyone has better maps we'll know for sure) the waterfall (salto) is called salto de tilupo and is on the tilupo riverin parque nacional los katios about two and half hours hike north of thevisitors center at sautata

gotta go


Note : there were a lots of attached files with this piece of mail... the links to them will soon replace this note.

From: "mr.13"
Date: Fri, 17 Oct 1997 17:50:16 +0600
Subject: umbra

New idea...

SALTO DEL TILUPO. At nearly 100 metres, this is the highest and most spectacular waterfall in Parque Nacional Los Katios. It is DIRECTLY UNDER (within 3 kms of) the center of the eclipse and can be reached along a path two and half hours hike from the Visitors Center. The path can be muddy in parts even during the dry season (Dec - Mar), but we can clean up and take a refreshing shower in the pool at the foot of the waterfall. From this vantage point we can take in the glory of 4 minutes and 3 seconds of totality with minimum jungle canopy above and a misty rainbow between us and El Sol.

To gain (legal) entry to Los Katios, we must get a permit and pay an entrance fee and accommodation costs at Inderena in Turbo. From Turbo there's motorboats daily to Sautata, where the park's Visitors Center is,for $10 and take about 2 hours. There's a house there for about 20 visitors for $6/person (or $2/tent) which serves meals for $3 but food is limited because it's shipped in from Turbo. I don't know if many people will be there but there is an eclipse happening. The Park Rangers are apparently very friendly and well informed.

As far as arriving in Columbia, I have a couple ideas, but I don't know your plan of attack. I know you want to be there in January to scout outthe scene, but where are you going to be between Mali and Columbia? What'syour plan post-eclipse? I can have 4 weeks off work, so it looks likeFeburary 13 -March 13 (time before and after the eclipse). One consideration is:

1. Fly to Panama City
2. Bus along the Canal to Colon
3. Boat to Turbo

Another idea is:

1. Fly to Cartagena (round trip?)
2. Bus to Turbo

I haven't planned any interior travel (Bogota, Medellin, Cartagena, etc.) but I'm totally up for it. The Caribbean sounds tempting. There's supposed to be beautiful reefs off the coast. Cartagena sounds amazing. Turbo sounds shity, but interesting. I don't know. I've been spending most of my time researching Los Katios and the Golfo de Uraba area and routes to and fro.

I am also wondering if you're planning on stopping in the U.S. If you do,maybe we can enter Columbia together. If not, then we can hook up down there. As soon as you get this, lemme know your itinerary. I have to buy plane tickets as soon as possible. I'd like to meet you soon after I get there so we can get to Los Katios safely, cheaply and efficiently. And it'll be cool to finally hang with you.

The waterfall sounds to good to true. This is going to be a fucking incredible event. It'll be the realitive dry season with the lowest average cloud cover of the year, beautiful temperatures and , for me, the perfect escape from the Chicago Winter. Que bonita!


From: "mr.13"
Date: Mon, 6 Oct 1997 11:56:13 +0600
Subject: columbia

My research continues.

I have one spectacular Katios idea which I'd like to express to you, oh my brother. I need to know your plans toenter the country, asap! I would prefer entering with you, especially giving my idea.

I would like to fly into Panama City and, from Panama, trek over the Darien Gap which separates Panama and Columbia, thus entering Los Katios Park. There's a Park Ranger Station about 3 or 4 hour's hike south of eclipse zero. With this message is encluded maps and detailed info onthe trek. I really think this would be a wonderful, beautiful and thrilling prelude to this Celestial Event!

One concern I have is the possibility of not having a very good view given the dense jungle canopy, so we may have to find a village with open areas, like perhaps the Ranger Station at Cristales, which is the above mentioned station and only about 7 or 8 kms from Eclipse Zero. We may also choose to view it from the delta of the Brazo Leon River (nearPunta Coquito) which is directly across the Golfo de Uraba / bahia Columbia from Turbo (and very remote). I have not found any info on thisarea except that supply boats pass once or twice a day between Turbo and Cristales (Los Katios Park). This opens the possibility of entering Columbia from Panama, via the coast, from Puerta Obaldia, Panama. This route is supposed to be less dangerous than the mountain pass but less interesting as well.

After the Eclipse we can travel to Turbo, via supply boats, and spend some time in Columbia proper, cities or otherwise. I've read some net-posted traveler's accounts of these routes, which contained mixed reviews, but most of them were very favorable, despite guerrilla rebels(FARC), drug traffickers and banditos, ha ha.

Anyway, we definately need to settle on a basic plan, so let's stay in contact as much as possible. I'm sure we have different plans of attack now, but I'm not used to travelling in other countries. I would like to travel as a team for this one. This is an interesting area of the world. I think travelling as a pair from the start is the way to go. Tell me what you think and let me know if you are going to stop back in The States beforehand (which would be very cool). I need to make you several gimlets. I have'nt made any for a while.

Right now I'm in Marc's (23) bar Kokopelli and, as I write, I'mdrinking an Absolutely Fabulous Ice Cold Absolut Gimlet ala 23.

Alright, Bro, my addresses are:

1534 North Oakley Boulevard #3F, Chicago Illinois, 60622
fax (773) 862-5322
Nicks (773) 252-1155

*Optimum Point Long 76' 40.5" Lat 7' 48.5"

Please use whatever means possible to communicate...



P.S. Hablas Espanol? Mi Espanol es muy malo, Ahora.

P.P.S. Maybe we can go to the highest waterfall on this planet, Angel Falls in Venezuela?

Too many possibilities.............