Barro Colorado Island and the Panama Canal

Mar 30, 2019 - National Geographic Quest

National Geographic Quest spent the night in Gatun Lake after our transit concluded through the Gatun Locks. We were taken to our morning destination of Barro Colorado Island as that morning’s sunrise unfolded. Nearing shore, the brightening day made clear a lush band of forest surrounding Barro Colorado’s outer portions.

This island is one of the most comprehensively studied island in the tropics, the operations of which are directed by the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. Right after breakfast, we geared up, Zodiacs were deployed, and we onboarded and were in an instant on shore and ready to explore.

Guests entered the trail complex in teams, accompanied by expedition staff and local scientists who study this verdant and thriving ecosystem. The sightings of wildlife were great for each group, and guests were delighted to hear about the research initiatives and the natural history of the tropics.

All of this took place after our ship’s passage through the first of three locks of the Panama Canal. We returned for lunch and waited to next be taken through the two subsequent locks. The day having ran a good part of its course by this time, we gathered on the sundeck to enjoy an impeccable sunset as we dance to the rhythm and sway of local music. What a day, what a day!

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About the Author

Cristian Moreno

Undersea Specialist

Cristian is a Panamanian born in Chile. He grew up in Panama City until the age of 19 when he returned to Chile to go to college where he received a degree in metallurgic civil engineering. Since 1995 he has been working as a freelance naturalist in Panama. Specializing in bird watching and ecology, he also has a passion for indigenous cultures, hiking and trekking. He is a certified scuba diver and is often found exploring coral reefs along the Caribbean coast of Panama.

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