The Panamanian rainforest has a canopy just like all rainforests around the world. Surprisingly, some islands ten miles off the Panamanian coast have a rainforest canopy as well.

Rainforest trees are tall with few branches down low and leaves mostly at the top where there is sunlight for photosynthesis.

Tall rainforest trees need to have excellent root systems in order to survive. They actually have roots that spreads out like a massive pancake at the base of the tree. There are no giant taproots pulling water from deep within the earth. When there is so much rain there is no need for taproots. Horizontally spreading roots just beneath the surface creates a strong attachment to Mother Earth guaranteeing the tree will remain upright for a hundred or more years.

When rainforest trees are on islands close to shore, wave action may erode the ground covering the roots exposing them to the elements, and eventually the roots may not have an adequate hold on the earth to keep the tree upright, and the tree falls over levering the root complex into the air.

I saw a similar root pattern in the Isle of Pines in New Caledonia where cyclones had uprooted tall pine trees. Their root complex was tilted ten or more feet in the air.

Some of the fallen rainforest trees continue to thrive on Escudo de Veraguas in Panama. These are trees with attitude. I call them the NEVER QUIT TREES of Escudo de Veraguas

The tree in this picture would have died in most places around the world, but this tree is special. It continues to dominate the landscape.

The relentless tree has enough residual root system to not only keep the tree alive, it has enough roots to support a small forest. It becomes a small rainforest within a bigger rainforest.

The fallen tree not only refuses to die, it sprouts new branches that rise straight up into the sky from the fallen trunk. Those new branches create a forest within the forest.

The branches closest to the root complex are the largest because they get the lion’s share of nourishment from the roots. Those branches farthest from the roots are smaller, but they still reach into the sky.

This never say die, never quit tree demonstrates the relentless force of life that keeps on keeping on in the face of apparent disaster, and it does more than just survive, it thrives.

Never Say Die coconut tree

This is a NEVER SAY DIE palm tree in Escudo de Veraguas. The tree may have fallen over, but it refuses to die. The tree trunk makes a ninety degree turn skyward and continues to produce coconuts.

Roots are important. As long as you remain connected with your roots you survive.

People who lose contact with their roots wither and die. They forget who they are, and when they get uprooted, it’s game over. If they had stronger roots, they would have had the resources to survive.

If your roots are strong, and you are relentless, you can overcome adversity, and like the NEVER SAY DIE trees of Escudo de Veraguas, you will not only survive, you will thrive.

People get beaten down by life and listen to the voice of fear telling them the challenges they face are insurmountable, and it’s not even worth trying. Instead of believing in their strength to endure and overcome, they give up.

The most consistent failure of the human species is giving up too soon. If they had persevered relentlessly, they would have grown through their challenges and emerged a stronger person on the other side.

People are much stronger than they feel.

When I started my second sailing voyage around the world, I had to have complicated abdominal surgery four times to regain my health before I set sail. But that was not the end to adversity. Four days before we planned to drop our dock lines and sail offshore, I fractured my left hip socket, which delayed our voyage another ten weeks while my hip healed. Once I got out of my wheel chair and on crutches, we finally set sail. It was’t until Panama that I donated my crutches to other people who needed them more than me.

I had plenty of opportunities to quit and it would have been easy to fold my tent and go home. Fortunately I had strong roots that supported my 70 year old frame, and although the winds of adversity blew hard, I was not totally uprooted and my dreams survived.

I am still not all used up, and so I will keep on keeping on.

I aspire to be like the NEVER SAY DIE trees of Escudo de Veraguas.

It’s never over until God says it’s over, and until that happens, I will relentlessly move forward in the direction of my dreams.

Never say die!

Captain Dave

Captain Dave - David J. Abbott M.D.





Exit Only

See what it's like for a family to sail around the world on a small catamaran

Captain Save Our Souls

Awesome music video that captures the essence of what it's like to sail offshore in a catamaran around the world when conditions are less than perfect. David Abbott from Too Many Drummers sings the vocals, and he also edited the footage from our Red Sea adventures. This is the theme song from the Red Sea Chronicles.

Red Sea Blues

Sailing up the Red Sea is not for the faint of heart. From the Bab al Mandeb to the Suez Canal, adventures and adversity are in abundance. If you take things too seriously, you just might get the Red Sea Blues.

Red Sea Chronicles Trailer

If you like drum beats, and you like adventure, then have a listen to the Red Sea Chronicles Trailer.

Red Sea Chronicles Episode 1 - When Flying Fish Attack

Flying fish assault Exit Only in the middle of the night as we sail through the Arabian Gulf from the Maldives to Oman. And so begins our Red Sea adventures.

Red Sea Chronicles Episode 2 - Pirate Alley

Sailing through Pirate Alley between Yemen and Somalia involves calculated risk. It may not be Russian Roulette, but it is a bit of a worry. Follow Team Maxing Out as they navigate through Pirate Alley.

Red Sea Chronicles Episode 3 - Aden, Yemen

Stopping in Yemen was just what the doctor ordered. We refueled, repaired our alternator, and we made friends with our gracious Yemeni hosts. We also went to Baskins Robbins as a reward for surviving Pirate Alley.

Red Sea Chronicles Episode 4- Gate of Sorrows and Sandstorms

After you survive Pirate Alley, you must sail through the Gate of Sorrows (Bab Al Mandab) at the southern entrance to the Red Sea. The Gate of Sorrows lived up to its name with fifty knots of wind and a sandstorm that pummeled Exit Only for two days. Life is good.

Save A Tree Bookstore

Although I like the feel of a paper book in my hand, I love trees even more. When people purchase an eBook, they actually save trees and save money as well. Ebooks are less expensive and have no negative impact on the environment. All of Dr. Dave's books are available at Save A Tree Bookstore. Visit the bookstore today and start putting good things into your mind. It's easy to fill your mind with positive things using eBooks. No matter where you are or what you are doing, you can pull out your smart phone or tablet and start reading. You can even use electronic highlighters and make annotations in your eBooks just like paper books.