6.20.2008

Santa Catolina and Isla Coiba

Steven and Jessica came to visit Panama and us. I have been looking forward to this since the tickets were booked months ago.
We spent the first several days at our home. Zeus got more than his usual attention. Note the necklace of flowers. We walked down river to collect bananas and up river to the water fall. We hiked part of the distance to the source of our aqueduct, and they caught up on sleep.
Jessica stalking horses.
Steven makes a friend.

For the second half of their visit we headed to Santa Catalina. To break up the trip we stayed one night in Santa Clara. We happened to be traveling on Fathers' Day. It turns out only Carnival has longer lines for buses headed out of Panama City. All the people who live and work in The City return home to visit their fathers in the country.

With some difficultly we worked our way to Santa Catalina the next day. We arrived late and stayed in the first hotel we could find with space.

The next day we move to this picturesque cabaña right on the beach.

The day after that we rented a long board and took turns catching waves.

I was told by a surfer that, "You can catch a ripple in a toilet with a long board." With the combination of a long board and steady waves we can now all say, "I have surfed."

Towards the end of the day a group of four strangers asked if we wanted to share the cost and go to Isla Coiba the following day. We had been looking for more people for this same reason so we took advantage of this serendipity. Isla Coiba (the largest island off the cost of Panama) is part of an even larger national park.

This experience was the highlight of our trip. We snorkeled around the smaller island of Granito de Oro inside the park and we all came out of the water grinning and awestruck.
We saw sea turtles that looked just like this picture. The color, coral, and ocean clarity were similar as well. It was like swimming in an aquarium, there were turtles, sharks, an octopus, a giant ray, eels, and uncountable fish of every color. I doubt we'll ever snorkel in a place that beautiful again.

At first they were cute, then there were too many of them. All of these are hermit crabs devouring the rind of a pineapple. They made an odd tinkling noise as their shells bumped into each other.
Jessica nicknamed this dog Chicken Wing. He lived at the restaurant near our beach cabaña. He is perhaps the ugliest dog in Panama and that´s saying something.
I can honestly say we have done more interesting things in the last week than we did on our honeymoon. Speaking Spanish and knowing our way around helps a bit.

We are now back in the Panama City and it occurs to me that The City is very good for a short list of things:

*Restaurants
*Shopping
*Movies
*Ice cream
*Hot showers
*History
*The Canal

We have exhausted all these options save the last two in a mere one and a half days. Foy and I never have enough time to get work done in the City but we run out of touristy things to do pretty quick.

Tomorrow our current guests leave on a jet plane and we will reconnoiter with our new guests, a PC couple to head back home with us for a few days. Then back to the City for the Swearing In of Group 61.

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