Monday, July 9, 2018

Day 10- Tranquilo Bay, Pouring Rain, and Relaxation

This morning we awoke to torrential rain, thunder, and lightning. Not bad, for 1 out of 10 days thus far in a tropical ecosystem where it is either rainy or rainier! With umbrellas in hand, we met for breakfast and tried waiting out the rain so we could travel by boat to Zapatilla Cay to learn about the sea turtle research being done there on population density, reproductive biology, and migrations. The Bocas del Toro archipelago is a rich nesting ground for hawksbill, leatherback, and green sea turtles. The panga would have to land close to the sandy beach and everyone would have to wade out of the boat as there is no dock there.

The sky cleared a bit. Some chose to stay back and others decided to make the boat trip, with the likelihood of getting wet on the way. The water was rough and choppy and the sky greyed again. The swells increased. About two thirds into the boat trip, it was decided to head back as it was too unsafe to go any further and a landing would have been risky.

A drenched Kathy returns!

Soaking wet!

After drying off, we gathered in the lodge and Jim gave us an overview of sea turtles, nesting, and sea turtle research in Panama. He showed us a video of the man we were to meet who has dedicated his life to saving the sea turtles. Chencho Castillo was a former turtle fisherman who one day questioned why he was killing so many of these magnificent creatures for money, gave up turtle fishing, and has devoted his life to protecting the turtles. We were sorry not to get to meet him or the research team on Zapitilla Cay, but were glad to be safe.

The afternoon was free for bird watching, hiking, snorkeling, and kayaking. Standing on the porch of the lodge, we spotted a couple sloths in the cecropia trees. One sloth was carrying its baby on its tummy. 

Several of us went off to hike a forest trail with Jim to a creek where we could watch hummingbirds bathe in the water. On the way we spotted another sloth literally hanging from a tree. 

Just hanging out!

Jim and Jay's sons gathered up more water apples for us.

When we finally got to the creek, it was so quiet and peaceful. We sat on the benches and just enjoyed the solitude and sounds of the forest. It wasn't very sunny so the hummingbirds were not interested in bathing. We did see a few take a quick dip. On our way back we spotted the tiny red poison dart frogs on a rotted log. It was dark in the forest so I had to take the photo with a flash which makes them look orange. They were actually scarlet red and no bigger than a nickel. Beautiful but extremely toxic!

We made it back to the lodge for dinner and back to our cabins to pack for our return to Panama City.

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