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    Is This the Isthmus? Tour – Panama Part 10

    Tuesday, July 25, 2017
    Bocas del Toro, Panama

    The pier at Coopeguitour in Bocas del Toro, Panama.
    The pier at Coopeguitour in Bocas del Toro, Panama.

    A small islet in Bocas del Toro, Panama.
    A small islet in Bocas del Toro, Panama.

    Hunting for dolphins in Bocas del Toro, Panama.
    Hunting for dolphins in Bocas del Toro, Panama.

    At 9:20 am, I showed up at the office / pier of Coopeguitour, the little tour company with the oh-so-catchy name (ultimate sarcasm), for a seven-hour boat trip around some nearby islands. After around 20 people piled into the boat, we headed off toward a bay to see some dolphins, where the driver turned off the engine. We sat in silence for a good 15 or 20 minutes, but saw nothing but water. It’s not like I expected Flipper himself to swim up, stick his head out of the water, smile and wink at me, and yell, “Welcome to Bocas del Toro, mate!” but Jiminy Cricket! I was about to ask for 20% of my money back, when we moseyed on down a ways to where some other tourist boats were floating around. Suddenly, dorsal fins started sprouting out of the water all over the place, much to the delight of pretty much everyone on board. Of course, a smartphone camera frenzy ensued.

    A dolphin in Bocas del Toro, Panama.
    A dolphin in Bocas del Toro, Panama.

    Come kick back in a really dirty, uncomfortable chair Bocas del Toro, Panama.
    Come kick back in a really dirty, uncomfortable chair Bocas del Toro, Panama.

    A yellow house in Bocas del Toro, Panama.
    A yellow house in Bocas del Toro, Panama.

    Next, we headed over to a shallow spot in the middle of the water between islands to go snorkeling. I told the tout who sold this tour to me that the main thing I wanted to do was go snorkeling. He said we would get to snorkel for two hours, but we actually only got 45 minutes. He lied just to get me to take the tour. Nevertheless, it was pretty awesome seeing all of the neon-colored fish, brain-shaped rocks, psychedelic corals, billowing sea anemones, etc. But, it was not as mind-blowing as the Phi Phi islands in Thailand. Maybe it’s because the sun was not out. One frustrating thing was my mask kept getting fogged up, so I kept having to swim back to the boat to clean it.

    A scarlet macaw in Bocas del Toro, Panama.
    A scarlet macaw in Bocas del Toro, Panama.

    Aquamarine waters in Bocas del Toro, Panama.
    Aquamarine waters in Bocas del Toro, Panama.

    A jungle scene in Bocas del Toro, Panama.
    A jungle scene in Bocas del Toro, Panama.

    Next, we stopped off at a place festooned with various wooden piers, plank walkways and a restaurant–all situated over the water–where everyone but me placed orders for dinner, which they would come back and eat later. I skipped it, because the price was too high; I brought some snacks along with me instead. There was a nice scarlet macaw hanging out at this spot. Next, we stopped off at a small islet for two hours, where everyone just hung out on the beach, swam or went for a walk. Damn it! We should have hung out here for an hour and snorkeled for two hours! Most of the time, the sky was a dark grey, but a few times when the Sun peaked through the clouds, the water turned a vibrant aquamarine color.

    Getting beachy in Bocas del Toro, Panama.
    Getting beachy in Bocas del Toro, Panama.

    Kicking back in Bocas del Toro, Panama.
    Kicking back in Bocas del Toro, Panama.

    Where's Waldo? I mean the sloth, in Bocas del Toro, Panama.
    Where’s Waldo? I mean the sloth, in Bocas del Toro, Panama.

    Following that, we headed back to the dinner spot, where everyone chowed down for around an hour. I just relaxed in a hammock. It was really nice sitting on something comfortable for a change. After we piled back into the boat, we stopped by another small islet where a bunch of tourist boats were clustered around a bunch of trees. This is where we were supposed to see a sloth. Really, all we saw was a little ball of fur, like, 200 feet away. I had to zoom in like crazy to even get a crappy photo of it. I’ll bet a professional paparazzo with a 48″ telephoto lens could not get a good, sharp photo of that sloth. Our boat squeezed in between some others for literally two minutes, turned around so the people on the other side could also take photos, then took off again.

    A starfish in Bocas del Toro, Panama.
    A starfish in Bocas del Toro, Panama.

    A ramshackle building in Bocas del Toro, Panama.
    A ramshackle building in Bocas del Toro, Panama.

    As we sped between these spots all day, quite often the water was really rough. This made for a very bumpy ride, causing the front of the boat to lift up and slam back down repeatedly, which made my spine chatter. Our final stop of the day was another shallow area, where we spotted some nice, orange and gold starfish. At least they were close up and we could actually see them glimmering underneath the dappled surface of the water. Later that evening, back in my room at the hostel, I heard some loud and sloppy yet lively drumming out back somewhere. When I went to investigate, I found out it was a high school marching band practicing.

    Words and photos ©2017 Arcane Candy.

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