Hi, someone just brought this thread to my attention.
I really appreciate the kind words and the recognition by many of you that it took a massive amount of time and effort to share what we experienced on the Rio, all while trying to see all of the angles on the subject of crime and cruising as fairly I could. It's complicated.
The subject is nonetheless thought-provoking and, as you can tell, it all provoked me to think a lot about it.
As for the L&A article, it was NOT an interview with the widow in the Dryden case.
It was an interview with the other piracy
victims (the Parsons) who were robbed in a seperate incident on the lower Rio.
I did not hawk the Parsons for the story. They shared the facts with me and we discussed it together. They thought it would be good to get their story out, all done with genuine concern for other cruisers and to provide cruisers with facts about the aftermath of the attack. It was an eye-opener for me to hear the story, and not easy nor fun to write the article.
Just to make sure the facts are crystal clear, L&A does not pay much at all for articles and what little it did pay, I donated ALL of it to the Parsons to help offset the insurance
deductible they "ate" on the loss of all their gear
Nobody has profited from "dirty laundry" nor sold out, nor done anything except try and share valuable information. I can see how one might easily jump to such conclusions and I don't take any offense whatsoever, but I assure you all that everything has been done in pure heart and clear conscience.
And sure, there have been a few very bitter and angry comments come my way out of the Rio Dulce about the article, but those few hostile comments have been far outweighed by postive comments, even from people on the Rio to the effect that BOTH the L&A article and the Indigo Moon PART ONE on Guate are well-written, unbiased and pretty much on the mark. Is it all fun? Hell no! But, nonetheless it is important to the the safety
of the fleet and that is the point.
PART TWO on Guate, soon to come, will include information on the issues El Jeem raised above and much more about the fabulous things we enjoyed while visiting the Rio.
I would suggest that we all may do well to withhold final opinions.
True, there are many other places in the world that you can go and not worry quite so much about risks, but I can also say with conviction that no other place in the Caribbean
I have been to offers such a tremendous experience in terms of natural beauty and amazing history
(the Maya, who developed the most advanced pre-industrial culture in the entire world).
Right now, as we speak, people who I met on the Rio personally (and respect), are taking brand new steps to try and bring real change to the security
situation and to improve the flow of safety
I will put all the new information that has come to light in PART TWO.
No matter what our individual impressions are at this point, we can all be supportive nonetheless and hope that real changes (not mere window dressings), are actually taking place and that real differences will be made such that the Rio's stature is soon restored as one of the premier destinations in El Caribe and well worth enduring any risks that remain.
I for one hope so. The Rio Dulce is a magical place and I have no greater wish than for cruisers and locals to be on the "same team" so as to develop goodwill and trust that will again make cruisers feel safe about visiting one of the most amazing stops in all of El Caribe.
All the best and thanks again everybody,