From the National Geographic Sea Lion in Costa Rica & Panama
Jan 22, 2013 - National Geographic Sea Lion
Isla Coiba National Park
“Forget not that the earth delights
to feel your bare feet
and the winds long
to play with your hair.” -Khalil Gibran
We awakened aboard National Geographic Sea Lion to overcast skies and a light breeze blowing. After sailing over 200 miles yesterday afternoon and evening, we arrived just before breakfast at Coiba National Park.
The crew lowered Zodiacs and kayaks from the lido deck and, armed with snorkel gear and beach towels, we headed ashore to Granito de Oro, “Golden Nugget.” Imagine cartoonist Gary Larson’s simple island drawing with a few palm trees, add a rocky outcropping with coral and marine life, and this was our morning’s paradise. Legs swung over the Zodiac onto beautiful beach that was moving in bits and pieces. Hermit crabs! Hundreds…no, thousands of them! The broad expanse of sand was covered with their intricate patterns of crisscrossing tracks. Double and single kayaks permitted gliding along the water’s surface for a little more personal time of exploration, and donning snorkel masks and fins allowed us to peek below the surface at the ocean’s bounty. Among the treasures seen were parrot fish, angel fish, Moorish idols, pufferfish, surgeon fish, trumpet fish, and by a few lucky souls, green turtles.
As the morning progressed the sun began to play peek-a-boo from the clouds, and by midday the breeze had cleared the sky to reveal the radiant golden orb against a backdrop of blue. Sea Lion repositioned a few miles to the main island of Coiba, where the galley and crew brought a picnic lunch ashore.
The afternoon was spent enjoying the refreshing aquamarine waters, delicious breeze, abundant sunshine, cool shade, powder-soft sand, and walking trails of this gorgeous area. Back on board, we rounded out the day with an early evening talk on Panama’s culture, followed by recap and tasty dinner. What a lovely day to finish up our visit in Panama.