Oh, thank you, Lord! A great night’s sleep! I’m feeling rested for the first time in days! Good thing, too, because we have a full day ahead of us.
Today we’re going to Isla Iguana!
This morning, Neymi had our breakfast and a lunch packed bright and early. So far, each morning we’ve been eating something different! It’s wonderful to have such a variety of really tasty food. This morning it was a Panamanian sort of pancake with fried apple and fresh banana on top with a side of scrambled eggs.
*** PANCAKE PIC, US HASING GREFAS ***
We hurriedly ate our food so that we could make it down to Playa Arenal promptly at 10 a.m. to meet Irbing, our captain. Devin arranged the whole trip for us to Isla Iguana, so all we had to do was grab the already-prepared cooler, drive to the beach, meet the captain, jump in his boat, and cruise over to the island! So nice to not have to prepare too much.
After we presented our passports, Irbing loaded us up, including putting life jackets on us, and we were off! It was about a 20-minute motorboat ride to get to Isla Iguana.
*** POSTCARD BOATS IN WATER AT LANDING ***
Once we reached the coral reef, Irbing slowed way down and we were able to peer over the edge of the boat and see fish and rays! We unloaded our stuff, Irbing anchored the boat and set us loose. When a captain brings people over, he ties up for the entire time you’re there, until you say you’re ready to go. I thought it was a nice touch, not having to flag down a ride home.
The tide was out when we got there and we were told that the reef would be ready for snorkeling around 2 p.m. It was only about 10:30, so while we waited we explored the beach area a little and immediately found several iguanas! Actually, they come out when people arrive because people equals food. The kept their distance, but you could tell that they were just waiting for us to drop stuff. As soon as we started “dropping” food, they would without apprehension, run up and eat it right there. They even liked our banana peels! Some of the braver iguanas would take them out of our hands.
*** IGUANA PICS + COLLAGE ***
Crabs! Crabs everywhere! Hermit crabs and these large, blue and orange ones! It was hard not to step on them, there were so many! The big ones would dig deep tunnels under the sand and sometimes when you’d step, you’d fall deep into their hole.
*** CRABS + RED HEADED LIZARD COLLAGE ***
As we were exploring, another boatload of people arrived. Americans! A couple of women and several children. We walked over and introduced ourselves and as usual began inquiring about their experience here. Come to find out, one of the women, Allison, is a resident of Panama and lives in Playa Venao – the beach we were at last night! When we mentioned that we were there, she told us that she saw us! Go figure!
We got acquainted for a few minutes and then the group of them headed over to the other side of the island to swim while they were waiting for the tide to come in for snorkeling. We decided to follow their lead and trek through the little forest ourselves, in search of a pastime.
*** VID: ISLA IGUANA TRIP WITH THE FAMILY, FAST MOTION… ***
Fast-motion trek through the trees to the swimming beach.
The forest opened up to a tiny beach with a forceful current. It looks benign, but once you get in, the breaks are pretty rough! We stood in the water for a bit then grabbed our snorkeling masks for a little peek at the ocean floor. Coral. Tons and tons of loose coral. So much coral that it was painful to walk around on the bottom. While on that beach, Allison invited us to her house on Friday! How cool! We definitely want to hear about their 7 years in Panama.
*** 2 BEACH PICS ***
It’s time to snorkel now, so we head back through the forest. Sure enough, the tide is in, so we grabbed our gear and hit the water. Kristian and I went out alone at first. The boys were apprehensive about going out that deep. Allison kindly offered to let the boys float on life jackets, which was perfect! We finally persuaded them to come out and see all the amazing tropical fish. We didn’t take any pictures underwater, even though we had purchased a waterproof camera pouch specifically for the occasion. Maybe next time. It was awesome, though. I loved that the boys were having this experience. I can’t wait to take them out again!
After a couple hours of snorkeling, we were beat! And beet red! We signaled to Irbing that we were ready to leave and he quickly helped us load up once more for the ride home.
*** BOAT HEADING BACK TO MAINLAND ***
*** KOLE N MAMA WITH DRIVER IN BOAT ***
*** HAPPY KARTER IN BOAT ***
Back at Cafe Limon, Neymi was preparing a Panamanian dinner for us. She served us a green pepper and onion stuff chicken breast, some cheesy potatoes and broccoli, lobster salad and cooked carrots. We haven’t had so many vegetables since we arrived in Panama. It was wonderful!!!
*** VEGGIE PLATE AT CAFE LIMON PIC ***
Exhausted, we decided to call it a night. Until tomorrow!