Journal Entry  -  October 13, 1999  -  Day 32

Wednesday Evening Position Report
8:00 p.m., Central Daylight Time

6 Degrees, 59 Minutes North


81 Degrees, 34 Minutes West

Days Run:

69.9 Nautical Miles


5.83 Knots (Average)

Total Run This Leg:  2,740.4 Nautical Miles
Total Average Speed:  5.2 Knots
Hours / Days This Leg:  527.5 Hours, 21.98 Days
Distance To Go This Leg:  207.4 Nautical Miles
Estimated Time Of Arrival:  9:00 a.m., Friday, October 15, Balboa Anchorage
Present Course:  90 Degrees due East, the trackline for entry into the Gulf of Panama and the Balboa anchorage.
Winds:  Westerly at 10 Knots
Seas:  1 Foot
Swells:  8 Feet from the Southwest
Barometric Pressure:  1010 Millibars
Air Temperature:  76 Degrees
Sea Temperature:  79 Degrees
Visibility: 10 Miles
Skies:  Partly Cloudy
Sea  Floor:  The closer USS New Jersey gets to Panama's coastline, the shallower the depths become.  Beneath her at this point the ocean depth is 918 Fathoms or 5,508 Feet.

Position:  USS New Jersey this afternoon at 3:45 p.m., Captain Kaare Ogaard altered his course from a continuous and lengthy heading of 117 Degrees Southeasterly, begun October 1 off Mexico, to a heading now due East at 90 Degrees, to bring the Battleship into the entry trackline for the Gulf of Panama and Friday's Balboa anchorage position.

The New Jersey is now 18.5 Miles Southeast of Isla Jicarita, the closest point of Panamanian land that she has been to so far.

Correction:  The headline in this morning's report should have spelled correctly the first land visible in Panama, Isla Montuosa.

Panama Is More Than The Canal...

According to recent U.S. Department of State figures, Panama's population growth rate is 2 percent annually on top of an overall population of an estimated 2.82 million people.

It occupies the Southeastern end of the isthmus forming the land bridge between North and South America, and comprises a land mass of 29,762 Square Miles, which is slightly smaller than South Carolina.  Panama's capital, Panama City, on the Pacific ocean, has a population of 827,828, and Colon, on the Atlantic ocean side, has an estimated 140,908 people.

The majority of Panama's ethnic groups are Mestizo, of mixed Indian and European ancestry, amounting to 70 percent of the population, with West Indians making up 14 percent, Caucasians 10 percent, and Indians six percent.   Eighty-five percent of the population is Roman Catholic and 15 percent Protestant Evangelical.

The official language of Panama is Spanish, and 14 percent of the population speaks English as their native language.  Various Indian languages are also spoken in Panama.  The literacy rate is about 90 percent overall, 94 percent in urban areas, and 62 percent in rural areas.

Life expectancy in the North-South bridge of the Americas is 74 years. The workforce comprises some 910,000 persons, with 32 percent in government and community services, 27 percent in agriculture, 16 percent in commerce, restaurants and hotels, 9 percent in manufacturing and mining, 6 percent in transportation and communication, 3 percent in construction, and 4 percent in finance, insurance and real estate.

Panama's terrain is mountainous, the highest elevation being Cerro Volcan at 11,468 feet, and the nation has a coastline of 1,786 Miles.  It is a tropical climate with an average daily rainfall of 1 inch during the Winter months.

Panama's Gross Domestic Product, in 1997, amounted to $6.5 Billion, with an annual growth rate of 3.6 percent.  Her primary natural resources are timber, seafood and copper.  The country's finance, insurance, canal-related services, and the Colon Free Trade Zone account for 72 percent of the GDP.   Agricultural products, such as bananas and other fruit, corn, sugar, rice, coffee, shrimp, timber, vegetables and cattle amount to 11 percent of the GDP.

The people of Panama, their culture, customs and language, are predominantly Caribbean Spanish.  English is a common second language spoken by the West Indians and by many in business and the professions.  More than half the population lives in the Panama City-Colon metropolitan corridor.

Panama is rich in folklore and popular traditions.   Brightly colored national dress is worn during local festivals and the pre-Lenten carnival season, especially for the traditional folk dances like the "tanborito." Lively salsa, a mixture of Latin American popular music, rhythm and blues, jazz and rock, is a Panamanian specialty.

Submitted by Bob Wernet onboard the Sea Victory.


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