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Tune in to Martin Mitchinson's New Interview on CBC Radio!


Friday, October 24, 2008

Martin Mitchinson, author of The Darien Gap: Travels in the Rainforest of Panama, is interviewed by Sheryl McKay on CBC Radio’s North by Northwest. Originally aired on Sunday, October 19th, the interview can now be found on the NXNW website at: cbc.ca/nxnw. Martin shares the amazing true story of how he travelled to Panama’s southernmost province, Darien, by sailboat, foot and canoe. His 18 month journey involved navigating physical challenges, native politics, and the constant risk of kidnapping.

The Darien Gap is:

· just over 160 km long and about 50 km wide

· Panama’s southernmost province

· where the Pan-American Highway ends just sixty miles short of Columbia

· the only missing link in what would otherwise be uninterrupted highway from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego

Mitchinson learned to travel as the natives, moving silently through the rainforest, gliding alone in a narrow dugout. He found temporary shelter in native communities, not staying in any place for long since gringos are easy targets for kidnappers in Panama. With two Kuna guides, he followed the route Balboa took when he made his historic crossing to the Pacific.

This is one of the few books that focus specifically on the Darien Gap, its history and its inhabitants. Mitchinson is one of the few travellers to have survived the journey through this roadless backwater, and perhaps the only writer to tell the story in such spellbinding and luminous prose.

Martin Mitchinson has been a travel writer and photographer for the past ten years. He was born in Saskatoon and raised in northern Alberta, where he later worked in the oil fields to support his travels to Central and South America. He now lives outside Powell River, BC. The Darien Gap is his first book.