Isla Coiba

We started off early, getting some sandwiches para llevar (to go) from the French bakery.

We've arranged to met up with the family from Holland for an epic journey to Isla Coiba, home of a former penal colony that allowed it to remain free of human development.  Part of the same volcanic island chain as the Galapagos Islands, Isla Cobia has been on my list for a while now.  It's exotic, hard to get to, and has an amazing amount of biodiversity on the island and in the waters that make up the national marine park. 

The boat ride was long, just over two hours.  We arrive at the ranger station and pay the per person 20$ entrance fee.
On the way to the snorkeling spot we were treated to a pod of 4 or 5 humpback whales!  I tried to get a few shots with my dinky camera but it's really impossible to capture the feeling of seeing whales in the open ocean.  Huge smiles across my children's faces today! 
The next surprise was seeing two green sea turtles mating, which the captain said was a pretty rare sight to see.  Again, not the greatest photos, but here they are.

The snorkeling at Coiba was terrific.  Tons of amazing tropical fish, jellyfish, and even a reef shark...spotted only by Luis.  By the time he got our attention underwater the guy was swimming away.  Others in our group saw a pair of hammerheads and more sea turtles.  While I was quite anxious about snorkeling in legendary shark infested waters I soon got over it.  As long as I keep my face in the water I am distracted by the undersea world. When I come up to get my bearings and to make sure I haven't swam too far away I get panicky, surrounded by so much water where I cant always see my kids gets to me.  It also helps that I hold hands with someone for a while.....

A long day ends at a little beach restaurant back in Santa Catalina.

Our last day in Santa Catalina...everyone wants to stay longer!  Its a relaxed surfer town with great waves.  Jack and Maya have been surfing already four hours this morning.  After just learning Maya can catch a wave, stand up, and ride it all the way into shore while Jack continues to build his skill and confidence.  We will soon be off to Panama City to end our trip.  One more bus ride!.....or maybe two. 

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