Snorkelling Tour

Trip Start Dec 14, 2007
Trip End Nov 04, 2008

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Flag of Panama  ,
Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Its 5 months today since we started our adventure. It feels longer, but at the same time not a day of boredom. So today we decided to "try something new"...snorkelling.

Suprisingly we had never tried this activity, and given the amount of fish, coral and other creatures floating around these waters it was not the easiest decision. Both of us were not at all comfortable with the fish when we decided to do it, but "what the hell"...we had to try.

And guess what? It was one of the best experiences we have ever had...

We joined a tour boat (Jampan $25 tour 2) which would take us to:
- Dolphin bay
- Islas Zapatilla
- Cayo Crawl
- Hospital Point

It was only 3 of us on the boat which made it better and faster. The other person was a retired USA expat living in Costa Rica who incidentally had a wealth of experience in scuba diving and snorkelling so helped us with our first try.

We were not sure we would see any dolphins as all along our trip there is always promises of dolphins and whales but it really depends on the season, etc. However the dolphins seem to live in this bay all year round and they love to jump on the waves produced by the tour the show was magnificent (see video)

We then moved on to Islas Zapatilla (flip flop or sandal islands translated literraly) where we would try some snorkelling. Islas Zapatailla is part of a National Marine Park so it is protected (and requires and additional entrance fee of $10 per head). Off we jumped into the water and after a few minutes of playing around with our masks and snorkels we got the hang of the snorkelling is just like swimming around a huge fish tank!

We initially thought the fish would swim away when they saw us, but if you move around slowly they dont feel at all threatened and just go around their own business, peeking at you from time to time, or even coming closer to have a better look.

The coral around the area was magnificent and we are not sure how many different species of fish we saw, but sufficient to fill quite a few chinese restaurant fish tanks...

After about 2 hours of snorkelling, and then a short walk along the Island pathway, we sailed to a restaurant based on the water of Cayo Crawl. Excellent lunch for $10 and on to Hospital Point, where the experts say the best snorkelling and scuba diving can be found.

As novices in the snorkelling business we were not sure if it was the best, but it was certainly amazing. We just regretted not having a water camera to take pictures of it! No need to say we are both going to buy our own mask and snorkel for other areas of the Carribbean or Pacific along our trip.

We ended the evening having a couple of beers with Kip (the US expat) at Hotel Bocas del Toro. They have a great terrace to the sea (on the sea) there, and as with most bars around Bocas they have happy hours daily from 5-7pm. Beers go for 75 cents, so even after 9 beers in between 3 people we only had to sort out $6.30 balboa.
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