Today we visited COIBA, one of Panama's newest national parks. The main island and its surrounding smaller islands and waters make up the world’s third largest marine park, with only the Great Barrier Reef and Galapagos National Park being larger. Coiba once housed a prison so there has been no development here and a small park headquarters and research station is all that remains. UNESCO declared Coiba National Park a World Heritage Site in 2005.
First thing we anchor just off a tiny island called GRANITO DE ORO or "Little Grain of Gold". The reef around this desert island shelters a large variety of beautiful marine life and some our snorkellers see large schools of fish, a turtle and two white tip reef sharks. Naturally Dawn is in the thick of it and Richard is gently patrolling in a kayak! Quite a few guests try some kayaking and many swim off the beach. From Granito de Oro we sail half an hour to the main island of Coiba. Here we enjoy another wonderful beach BBQ lunch which has been set up by the ship's excellent galley team. We also have time to wander a trail and take a look at the adjacent beach to see Tito, the resident crocodile! He's pretty big so we keep our distance.
Early afternoon we up anchor and begin our sailing of over 175 nautical miles to the Gulf of Panama. As we sail east, Elliott gives a presentation about the Panama Canal.