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I arrived in Panama City on the 18th of April by bus at Albrook Mall and had to talk to about five different cab drivers that would take me to the Amador for less than $5. The Amador is a causeway that jets out connecting three islands off the east side of the entrance of the Canal on the Pacific Ocean. Karaka was anchored as close as possible to the messed up dingy dock off the second island on the Amador, Isla Pericos. Continue reading
I took a little break from the heat of Santa Catalina when i finally had a few days off the second week of April. I went to Boquete in the mountains of Panama. I met up with Steve from Karaka and we climbed to the highest point in Panama, Volcan Baru at 3,474m. We planned to hike up and camp overnight so we left at 12:30pm and got to the top just after sunset around 7:30am, saw the sunrise and we hiked back down. It felt so incredible to be up in the mountains again feeling the fresh cold dry mountain air. I was so glad that we decided to camp on top too.
So i left the crew on Karaka behind and had a great time working guiding kayaking trips to Isla Coiba. Things changed rapidly as they always do and the decision was made for Karaka to go to Panama City and skip Ecuador all together. At first i was upset about this because i had bought a plane ticket to Ecuador but that is the way things go. So i ended up staying longer and there were lots of trips so i worked a bunch and really got to Know Coiba and the town of Santa Catalina. I had a great variety of clientele, mainly from the US and Canada but some other countries in Europe and South America. There were even a bunch of Outward Bound Canada folks that came down who were friends with Michael and needed a vacation away from the cold of Canada to take in the heat of Panama. It was great to have these folks on the trips. I had a small apartment and I pretty much just went and relaxed in the air-conditioning in between my trips and then either had a day or two off in between to chill, surf and do my laundry then I was right back out on another trip.
Paddling in the tropical heat was a whole different experience. It was wonderful but very different to paddle for over an hour so most of the time we paddled very little and spent a lot of time snorkeling. The weather changed from really hot and muggy with tons of bugs to just sunny and hot to sunny and hot with a nice breeze. Camping at the base camp site at Playa Machete was fantastic. We either stayed their or we stayed in the Cabanas at the ranger station depending on what the clients wanted. Coiba is a whole other world to explore! and i felt fortunate to have connected with Michael for the opportunity to work and live in Panama for two months!
Campsite at Playa Machete, Isla Coiba
Kayaking the coast of Isla Coiba