Written by luchoranas on 20 Feb, 2005
It was a nice, sunny Sunday, 8am, in Panama City. Fifteen adventurers decided to camp in one of the most beautiful coral islands in the Pacific, Isla Iguana, which has been a wildlife sanctuary since 1980 and was an intriguing destination for everyone in the…Read More
It was a nice, sunny Sunday, 8am, in Panama City. Fifteen adventurers decided to camp in one of the most beautiful coral islands in the Pacific, Isla Iguana, which has been a wildlife sanctuary since 1980 and was an intriguing destination for everyone in the group. Everybody who went there could only speak of the beauties they found.
A six-hour bus ride was passed quickly with stories, jokes, and songs until Pedasí, a nice little town at Panama’s southern end. From there, a fiberglass boat took 30 minutes to reach the island, which wasn’t very far out, but the wind and waves made the ride a little bumpy.
Arriving the island through above-cliché-type crystal-clear water, just as in the Caribbean Sea, a 4-foot Carey Sea Turtle beneath the boat gave us a welcome, and in the sky was a cloud of magnificent frigatebirds (yes, the ones with the big red balloons on their chests), the largest colony in the Central Pacific (and I thought I would have to go all the way to the Galapagos to see it!). Something was telling me that this trip would be unforgettable, and it was!
As soon as we reached the shore, we saw that it was made of fine tan dust--not sand as we knew it, but pure coral sand (made from millions of coral-eating fish’s depositions... yeak! But if you stop thinking about it, it was the nicest sand ever!). "Can we hit the water now?" I asked my friend and leader of the group, Abdiel. "Who’s stopping you, bro?" he replied.
So I fixed my tent, put on my mask and snorkel, and suddenly I can’t remember what happened next. I was like in space, with no sounds besides my own breathing, blue everywhere, quiet, everything calm and feeling a rhythm through all my body... unbelievable. I could see 10 meters in any direction easily--so much so that I freaked out and went out for back-up! Then it appeared: coral, every color of fish, eels, sea snakes--I had to let my senses shut down for a fast recovery.
It was 5:30pm, and we were looking at the compass just to know from where the sun would rise the next morning. It would rise from the other side of the island, and we were just in time to go for a fast scouting. It was a tiny island, so we supposed that there wasn’t a chance of getting lost. We found a path that let us across the island’s jungle, but not without the intimidating "crunch, crunch" of literally thousands of crabs (different species of them) that lifted their claws at us all the way. Fifteen minutes later, and with not much sunlight left, we saw where we would take pictures the next morning. Back in the camp, the rest of the group was already organizing the bonfire and the food.
Chorizo was cooked by the bonfire in a soft, fluffy bread, with marshmallows for dessert. Everybody was telling the group how amazed they were, what they’d seen already, what would be the next day's plans. And then, from nowhere, the wine and sangria (boxes) appeared. And with the grape juice, the guitar made its appearance too. The whole night was spent singing along to our favorite songs beneath the stars, until the moon appeared. "No way... can you see everything glow?" The moonlight transformed the whole beach into a silver corridor. A tropical island, a terrific night, our friends, wine, and a guitar... could we have asked for more?
Oh... the next day, I didn’t wake up for the sunrise shots, but we did more snorkeling, island-exploring, and something I can’t forget to tell--even a WHALE came to the island for visit!
For more information, visit Isla Iguana at IPAT.