High Tides and Pounding Waves

Something is going on in the Pacific Ocean, and I have heard that there are unusually high tides and large waves all along the coasts of Central and South America. Some say it is the season, and others say that this is something bigger than anything that usually happens. It is affecting Panama and there have been warnings to stay out of the water and use extreme caution in all Pacific beach areas.


Yesterday I decided to go out to La Barqueta and see what was going on. There were definitely high waves and pounding surf!

There were police and guards posted at the public beach area to keep people from going anywhere near the water. When I got within sight of the water the surf was the loudest I have heard.

Ooh, I almost forgot to include the video!

There is a lot of concern now about the state of the earth. The high tides and waves are only a part of it. There is increased volcanic activity in Nicaragua and Costa Rica, our neighbors. The weather has been very hot for this time of year, and people say the it is because the earth is unusually hot which means we are at an increased risk for earthquakes. There was a 5.1 today in Nicaragua and a lot of activity in Chili. We are supposed to be in the rainy season but it hasn’t rained for days. Some days have been hot and humid enough to make even me unhappy, and though the humidity of the last couple days is a bit less, a cooling rain would be most welcome.

After checking out the beach, I knew I was in for a couple more hours on the bike to get home, so I headed inland.

I hadn’t done this long a bike trip in a while, and there was a lot of mind over matter. The first hour out I was thinking – I am hot and tired now. Why do I want to get more hot and tired? Why do I want to see again what I have seen 100 times? I’m 5 miles out, 5 to return, 10 miles total – that’s a good ride so I can turn around. Then, 7 miles, 10 miles, more of the same calculating. I forgot my MP3 and I’ll be bored soon, so I should turn back. On the other hand – I want to see the beach. If I can’t do 40 miles in one day, how do I think I can travel and do 40-50 miles day after day?? I had better get with it!! Once I got out past familiar areas it was more fun and my attitude improved a lot.

On the way back I had a decent tail wind for the first hour, the road was flat, I exchanged greetings with people as I passed, and I had a great time. Then, I was back in the familiar areas again, it was after noon and hot, and the gradual incline from the south part of town to the north started. I could just call Joel to come pick me up. What? You can’t cycle 40 miles?? You have to get picked up?! You know you can’t do that if you are traveling. I could get a drink, something cold with sugar (I passed one too many gas stations with a fridge full of cold drinks and eventually I couldn’t resist). I’ll just go to the next cross street and then I’ll call Joel. Well, maybe just another 10 blocks and then I’ll call. This went on in my head until I made it to the Pan-American. I stopped to rest in a bus stop, where a sweet guy with some of his teeth wanted to teach me the name of every town and neighborhood around (*sigh* I just want to rest). Now it would silly to call Joel when I was this close to home. The rest break and the last of my soda revived me enough to get back on the bike, and I concentrated on moving the pedals around and around until I made it home.

I have learned that so many factors go into bike riding and a big one is attitude. If I’m excited and psyched up for a certain ride it goes much better. If I can get lazy, it’s too tempting to slack off. It’s harder when it’s really hot, of course. And, like anything, I have good days and off days. But, I try my best to keep on it and I’m definitely stronger than I used to be. With any luck I’ll be successful on the road trip planned for late June. But, that will be another subject and other blog posts.

For now though, it is now Thursday afternoon and I am happy to report that it is cloudy, it has rained a bit, and there is thunder in the distance so maybe we will get a bit more! Yeah!


About Kris Cunningham

We live in David, Chiriqui Provence, Republic of Panama! This blog is about some of our experiences in our new country.
This entry was posted in Exploring the Area, Miscellaneous, Panama, photography and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to High Tides and Pounding Waves

  1. oldcameraman says:

    The high waves are from a system called Mar de Fondo in Spanish = Ocean swell in English. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swell_(ocean) ) . The ocean swell two weeks ago was caused by extremely high winds between New Zealand and South America. The current swell started between Australia and South America and has travelled over 10,000 km. It is associated with the developing El Nino system.

    The force of the wind piles up the water and the water starts moving as waves. An article from Mexico gave a very good infographic about the cause of these particular swells and it is amazing. The force of those winds can create mountains of piled up water between 100 and 300 meters ( like a building between 10 and 30 floors !) Here is a link to the Mexico webcam twitter feed which supplied the infographic. Very interesting. I hope you can read it and maybe share it with your readers. https://twitter.com/oscarosuna10/status/595427464022794240/photo/1

    Another article I read stated that these two particular swells (2 weeks ago and the one currently) are indeed caused by climatic changes according to meteorologists.


  2. Nice one! Where do you plan to do a mulit-day ride? Keep us posted on the ocean behavior … and thanks 🙂


    • I think the ocean behavior will be returning to more normal in the next day or two, or at least the warnings are supposed to expire tomorrow afternoon.
      There is a gal who is going to bike from Panama City to Mexico, starting next month. I hope to join her for the David to Nicaragua part, and I’ll probably be meeting up with her in late June.


  3. oldsalt1942 says:

    Thanks for the pics and vid. Towards the end of the video you can begin to get an idea of how big those waves are. I’ve only been down to that beach once, but the whole area around there reminded me SO MUCH of south Louisiana with the rice and sugar cane fields.

    I think those condos are going up on the idea of “If you build it they will come.” but I’m not so sure, especially having to trek out to get ANYTHING.


    • Someone has already come and inhabited the condos and big houses, so who knows. From what I understand though most of them are vacation homes that are vacant more than they are occupied. If they can sell the condos I’m sure they don’t care what people do with them. I love the beach but not enough to live out there and give up everything we have here, especially for a beach that is too dangerous for swimming. Cedo’s son in law and another guy died out there trying to save someone who was drowning in a rip tide, and there have been many more.

      Maybe big houses are OK, and a resort, and a 3 story condo building though they look a bit out of place in this natural environment but huge high rise condos?? Oh well, they didn’t ask my opinion.


  4. Anonymous says:

    thanks for your report. i admire you for sticking with it, and for psyching yourslef there and back. yes, when one gets chatty and we’re tired/hungry/heatstroke/sick, we don’t really want to chitchat! we have another round arriving at the end of the weekend, though last night at low tide, the waves were rolling upriver…

    national geographis has a yourshot assignment that ends monday, and it’s about reporting ‘climate change’ in your area. put your area on the map… http://yourshot.nationalgeographic.com/assignments/climate-change-your-life/#discussion


    • Hi Lisa and thanks for stopping by. I’m not sure why you are showing up anonymous, but your IP is the same.
      So, you are feeling this in your area too? I’m not surprised since I heard it was all up and down the Pacific coast.
      Cool National Geographic thing, thanks so much!


  5. thanks for your wave report. i admire you for sticking with your itinerary, and for psyching yourself there and back. yes, when one gets chatty and we’re tired/hungry/heatstroke/sick, we don’t really want to chitchat! we have another round arriving at the end of the weekend, though last night at low tide, the waves were rolling upriver…

    national geographis has a yourshot assignment that ends monday, and it’s about reporting ‘climate change’ in your area. put your area and feedback on the map… i’ve been too sick to get out, but will do so soon… http://yourshot.nationalgeographic.com/assignments/climate-change-your-life/#discussion


  6. schuttzie says:

    Very interesting about the waves! I love your self dialogue, haha, we have to physch ourselves up sometimes. I’m the same when we go to the gym to work out. You are doing great and you can’t be too hard on yourself.


  7. Rod says:

    Good job Kris! ‘Way to hang in there and gut it out.



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