From the National Geographic Sea Lion in Costa Rica and Panama
Jan 8, 2013 - National Geographic Sea Lion
Granito de Oro Islet & Jicarita Island, Coiba Island National Park
After navigating during the night from the Pearl Islands, National Geographic Sea Lion dropped her anchor next to a little islet known as Granito de Oro (“Little Grain of Gold”). We went out on deck to have a nicer view, and as the sun illuminated the islet, we could see the white sand and a couple of coconut palms moving with the rhythm of the peaceful wind.
We were so eager to get to shore, but we had to eat a good breakfast first before taking the Zodiacs to shore. Kayaking and snorkeling were the morning activities. The water was warm enough to enjoy the snorkeling. So we geared up and went for the adventure.
To our surprise, lots of fishes decided to meet us as we entered the water. As a parade, they swam next to us, ignoring all possible encounters. A huge bed of hard coral was lying in the bottom of the ocean. This park is well known for having the second biggest coral reel of the eastern Pacific. It’s also part of a very important marine corridor that connects other marine parks from Costa Rica to Galápagos.
Our wish was to stay in this little paradise, but our expedition leader encouraged us to explore other areas of this huge park. So, back on board, we navigated to the southernmost part of this protected area. As we navigated, a huge pod of Pantropical spotted dolphins bow-rode the vessel and several brown boobies escorted us. We could see the white sand on the shoreline of Coiba Island, but as we approached our destination called Jicarita Island we were amazed by the beauty of it.
Huge cliffs were part of the topography of the island and it was an ideal rockery for seabirds to nest. So as soon as we dropped anchor, we grabbed our gear and went to explore the island by Zodiac. The area itself is known as an exotic terrain and we could see the layers of the basaltic and sedimentary formation of this island. Frigatebirds, brown boobies, yellow-crowned herons, bare-throated tiger herons, black hawks and many other birds delighted our eyes as we cruised around the island.
It was another great day of our adventure through Panama and Costa Rica.