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Day 4 |
Mar 31, 2012

Coiba, Panama

By Claudia Holgate, Climatologist

Co-ordinates: 7º27’S, 81º42’W
Weather: clear skies and very hot
Air Temperature: 31C
Wind speed 6.3km/h North Westerly
Pressure 1010 hPa

We are nearly half way through this jam-packed, 7-day itinerary. Our landing today was at Isla de Coiba and the tiny island of Granito de Oro (translated as “Little Grain of Gold”). We arrived when the tide was quite high and there was only a small patch of beautiful golden beach on Granito de Oro.

There were two activities today; one was a walk through the jungle. A reasonably short walk (about an hour and a half) and moderate in difficulty when the trail is dry, such as it has been this whole trip. Patri, our ornithologist, and Hans-Peter, our botanist, went off at 7am and 7:30 for two walks through the forest with 2 local guides. They didn’t see any monkeys, but did hear and see quite a few birds. There was a second walk at 10am, which also saw birds and had amazing sightings of a King Vulture landing just a few metres away from them. Other exciting bird sightings were a Grey-necked Wood-rail, Lance-tailed Manakin and Black headed Saltator.

My task today was to set up the beach for the second activity: snorkelling. We had large group of snorkelers out in the water and Uli, our marine biologist showed the guests the wonders of the underwater world. Some of the magnificent creatures they saw included the butterfish, a white tipped reef shark, a yellow phase of the Pufferfish, and a hawksbill turtle amongst many, many other species of fish. I had the opportunity for a short swim and saw in excess of twenty species of fish. As it was so hot, the hotel department set up a beach bar, serving beers and soft drinks and keeping everyone hydrated and happy. At half past twelve we reluctantly had to head back to the ship as our destination tomorrow is over 200 miles away and it means that we have a half day at sea. Not a bad thing for some, as the last few days have been very energetic and tiring, so it is good to be able to relax a bit.

We may relax, but in fact it is always busy on the Silver Explorer. Claire Allum gave a lecture in the afternoon on living in the Tropical Forest, about her experiences as an ethno-archaeologist working in the tropical forests, a lecture that is always a hit with the guests. Then there was tea and trivia with Rapa Nui, our historian, followed by a Recap & Briefing. My favourite part of the recap tonight was Uli showing a video he had taken today of a hermit crab that decided to change his shell for a new one. As he did this, he realised that the new shell was too small, but before he could change back to his old shell, another hermit crab jumped into his old shell, leaving him with a less satisfactory abode than before. A really excellent piece of footage.

Tonight was the Venetian Society cocktail party and dinner, so after recap we welcomed our Venetian Society member guests to The Theatre for a cocktail party and had the chance to chat. Then, off to another wonderful dinner in The Restaurant to end another excellent day on board Silver Explorer.

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