Panama Pacific Coast 2010

N 07° 37' W 81° 44'

A flight abruptly ended

May 17, 2010

During the second night we were anchored at Granito de Oro there was a bit of rain and it was quite windy, up to 20 to 25 knots.  The next morning as I cleared space on the fore deck to do some skipping (“jump-rope” in the USA – since the exercise bike died, it is a fairly easy form of aerobic exercise that I can do when the dinghy is not on the deck) I noticed a beautiful blue and silver dead fish lying on top of a coiled line.  With its huge, spotted, wing-like pectoral fins, it was a spotted flying fish, perhaps 6 inches long, that had presumably tried to fly during the windy period and was carried up onto Tregoning’s deck which is at least 6 ft above the water.  Sadly, we could tell that it was a female because where she had presumably struggled to get off the pile of rope, hoping to flip back into the water, there were several blobs of small, yellow eggs.  We had noticed quite a large number of flying fish shooting off to the left or right as we had cruised along in the dinghy.  Expiring in panic on our deck seemed a rather ignominious end for a fish that would have been so startlingly graceful when it launched itself to skim out of harm’s way above the water.

After two nights and three excellent snorkels near Granito de Oro we moved for a night to Bahía Machete just to the north of the Park Headquarters on Coiba.   The next morning we snorkeled on a flat coral reef in the middle of the bay and then towed the dinghy around the rocky shoreline towards the Park Headquarters.  There was some coral and a reasonable number and variety of fish but the water was not as clear as at Granito de Oro and there were none of the dramatic drop-offs into deeper water.  Still, we felt we had already got our money’s worth and knew that most snorkel sites would pale in comparison to Granito de Oro.  We would undoubtedly return to Coiba another time and explore the extensive coral reefs at Bahía Damas (which the Park Ranger said was acceptable as long as we anchored well away from the coral) so we decided that we would leave Coiba the next day and explore another part of the National Park.

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