Day 9 |
Mar 24, 2012

Coiba, Panama

By Claudia Holgate, Climatologist

Co-ordinates: 7º27’S, 81º42’W
Weather: Overcast, clearing later and very hot
Air Temperature: 31C
Wind speed 4.6km/h North Westerly
Pressure 1007 hPa

Today was an unexpected landing, as our initial itinerary was designed for us to land at Cocos Island. However, after the Costa Rican authorities wanted us to clear customs on the mainland, we changed the itinerary and it has resulted in a number of surprise benefits. The first is that we get to add another country onto our itinerary as we are now visiting Panama and this visit is to Coiba and the little island of Granito de Oro.

What a jam-packed day it has been. We started out at 7:30 this morning with a jungle walk taking the monkey trail from one beach to another, walking through the beautiful canopied forest of this nature reserve. It is called the monkey trail for good reason and many White faced Capuchin monkeys were spotted on the walk. The birding in the morning was also good, with Common black hawks, White faced Caracara, Blue-grey and Crimson Backed tanagers amongst some of the spectacular birds that were seen. Last year the trail was muddy and slippery, this time round it was dry and relatively easy walking.

The walkers came back to the ship at around 9:30am, just in time for those who chose not to walk to start heading out to the wonderful little beach on Granito De Oro. With its golden sandy beach and palm trees, it is indeed paradise. Snorkeling was on offer with our Marine Biologist, Uli, who took groups out in the morning and showed them some of the spectacular creatures in the coral reef. White tipped shark, Hawksbill turtle, white spotted puffer fish, Moray Eel and Butterfly fish to name of few of the colourful and curious animals. The water was tepid and visibility really good, so most of our guests took the opportunity to spend some time in the water enjoying the wonders of the coral reefs. For those who didn’t want to snorkel or had had their fill, the option of just lying under a palm tree reading a book, or taking out one of the kayaks for a bit of a paddle was also on offer.

At 4pm, we offered a second walk, this one from the Rangers station, where we had the chance to meet a pet crocodile. The walk was very hot and strenuous, even though we kept it as late as possible. We heard many birds, but birds like most animals, stay well hidden in the shade until it is much cooler before showing themselves. We did spot a Black hawk perched on the tree right by the jetty, with its outstanding yellow cere and yellow legs, it was a really good sighting, getting our birding guests very excited on the Zodiac.

After a long and hot day, we all came back to the ship and had a quick shower before heading off to our daily Recap & Briefing, where we covered what we had seen for the day and the magical places we will visit in Costa Rica tomorrow. Another fine dinner was served in The Restaurant before we all headed for our beds for a well-deserved sleep.