From the National Geographic Sea Lion in Costa Rica and Panama
Dec 25, 2012 - National Geographic Sea Lion
Granito de Oro & Ranger Station, Coiba Island National Park
Last night we left the Gulf of Panama behind and early this morning the National Geographic Sea Lion entered one of the most pristine marine parks in the Central American isthmus: Coiba Island. This marine park was a former penal colony; however after removing all prisoners to other facilities around ten years ago, the government of Panama is keeping this jurisdiction protected for future generations.
After breakfast our first destination was the famous islet of Granito de oro. With an overcast sky and placid waters, we disembarked ready to explore the underwater life; without forgetting the hermit crabs on the surface that amused us with their unpredictable march in search of food.
Guineafowl puffers, bicolored parrotfish, reef cornet fish, Moorish idols and at least a half a dozen white tipped reef sharks were some of the premium stars of this activity. On the other hand, on the surface the kayakers observed turtles and eagle spotted rays as they were opening up to an activity that it is always relaxing and heartwarming.
Just before lunch, some adventurers welcomed the opportunity given by our expedition leader Bernal to join in a repositioning kayaking to the main island of Coiba. After covering three miles, guests aboard the ship or kayaking arrived to the ranger station in order to celebrate together with a delicious picnic lunch.
The afternoon opened up with all different kind of alternatives. Some guests decided to have a second snorkeling or kayaking opportunity, while others discovered some of the natural enigmas on the premises. In my case, bird watching became a great satisfying mission of the day. At least twenty five species of birds in little more than an hour! Yellow headed Caracaras, bare-throated tiger herons, crimson backed tanagers, gray-necked wood-rails, red crowned woodpeckers and the list goes on and on!
Indeed today Coiba Island provided a day full of emotions connecting us with its natural beauty.