Thursday, December 11, 2008

Isla Coiba National Park in Panama

Wednesday, December 3

6:40: Into the Zodiac to head to a ranger station at Isla Coiba National Park. Some people for bird watching (including Bev) and some for the early morning stretching with the wellness staff person on board. After dropping off the 2 zodiacs, the ship heads down the coast about 20 minutes to a smaller island.

I took the stretching option. Beginning stretching with a yoga basis. Did learn some new stretches. After stretching, we all head over to the other side of peninsula to check out "Tito"--the large crocodile. One of the station staff station trows the crock a raw chicken leg. Big crock!

We see a couple sea turtles heading back to the ship. After breakfast back on the ship we head to a small island--snorkeling, laying on the beach, kayaking. Lots of pretty fish: a variety of damsel fish and puffer fish varieties, reef shark, a bunch I don't know. No starfish.

We take the option to kayak back to the ranger station for lunch (about a 40 minute paddle. We get there before the ship.

Our next leg is the longest leg of the cruise. We set sail after everyone is back on board. We take sort detail in the middle of the afternoon to follow some Humpback whales. We then are under power until about 11 AM the next day when we bet to a couple islands in the gulf of Panama.

During the afternoon, one of the Panamanian naturalists who seems to know a lot of the history of the area offers a 45 minute lecture on the history of Panama (mainly concentrating on the Panama Canal. According to him, the citizens of are very proud of the canal. The passed a referendum to expand the canal. The expansion is being paid for by increased tolls. (A standard size for international cargo ships is "Panamax"--the maximum sized ship that can go through the canal. They are building the expansion to fit the standard now used in a lot of ports (most dimentions are about 160% of Panamax--leanght, width and draft.

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