How to Move a 5,000 Pound Block Using the Moon, Two Boats and a Tree Trunk

Here’s a head-scratcher for you: How do you move a 5,000 pound concrete block sitting on the beach 165 feet into the bay when you don’t have a crane or a barge?

Well, if you’re a Panamanian, all you need are two 10-foot boats with outboard motors, a rope and one metal bar.

And, oh yeah, the moon.

The Plan

Josh captured this feat in four different videos. I’ll link to each video at the end of the article.This was in fact the challenge we were facing when we were planning to use the block as a foundation for a dock on an island off the coast of Panama.

The Panamanians who were helping us came up with the plan: Tie the block to the metal beam, position two boats on opposite sides of the block, tie the beam to the boats and wait for the tide come in. They were confident the plan would work. We, on the other hand, weren’t.

Yet, the tide did come in, and the boats and the block slowly began to rise. Once they were floating, the Panamanians motored out to their drop off point. However, while waiting for instructions, disaster struck.

The Disaster

With a loud ping, the beam started to kink. One of the Panamanians began to untie the rope to drop the block, but didn’t move quickly enough. The block pulled the rope out of his hands and cinched against the other boat, bending the pole, pitching the Panamanians into the water and capsizing both boats.

Within seconds the boats were gone, outboard motors and all. Fifteen thousand dollars in equipment sat beneath ten feet of water. Josh said, “That’s a crazy conclusion to my movie. I didn’t expect that one.”

Or was it?

The Recovery

Within 90 minutes the Panamanians had both boats out of the water, the motors cleaned and a thick tree cut down to replace the metal beam. The way the Panamanians saw it, the plan didn’t fail—it was the beam that failed.

The only problem was the block was still under water. Again, no worries. The Panamanians dove down to the block, tied it off and tied the rope to the tree trunk that replaced the metal beam. Each time the tide lowered, they would take out the slack and cinch the rope.

The Conclusion

Eventually the tide started coming in again, and, just like before, lifted the boat. The Panamanians eventually got the block in the right position where they successfully dropped it.

So, who needs a 15-ton crane and a barge when you have two rickety outboard motor boats, the moon and Panamanians with brains and audacity?

The Videos

The third video shows both boats sinking.

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About Park

Park Wilson, co-founder of Emerging Terrains, has been living and actively investing in the Latin American real estate markets since 2007. His boots-on-the-ground approach to scouting and choosing properties has led to the purchase of more than 6 miles of Latin American coastline. To reach Park, please e-mail him at Read More

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