Bona Island and the Bay of Panama
  • Daily Expedition Reports
  • 25 Jan 2022

Bona Island and the Bay of Panama , 1/25/2022, National Geographic Quest

  • Aboard the National Geographic Quest
  • Costa Rica, Panama & Colombia

We crossed the Panama Canal last night and made a stop on Bona Island. Seabirds nest on this beautiful rock formation covered with vegetation.

It is a privilege to see great numbers of birds. Populations of the seabirds depends on the seasonal upwelling, which creates a major change in water temperature during the onset of the dry season. Trade winds blow across the narrow Isthmus of Panama, producing planktonic organisms that establish and diversify the sea. This diversification supports the birds and creates major fisheries in the gulf.

It was amazing to see blue-footed boobies right at the beginning of the Zodiac ride. We also spotted brown boobies, brown pelicans and nesting frigatebirds. Oddly-shaped wings make frigatebirds look gracious as they glide in the sky, until they begin flying quickly to harass brown pelicans fishing near their nesting sites.

Toward the end of the cruise, we spotted a peregrine falcon. These falcons, common migratory birds of prey, spend winters in the Neotropics.

We returned to the ship to enjoy a great lunch as we started the long cruise of 180 nautical miles to Coiba National Park. Pantropical spotted dolphins joined a bow ride with us. Later, we enjoyed a nice presentation on Panama history, a cocktail hour and a recap session.

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