Weather: Sunny Hot light wind Distance: 6 NM
Dinner: Tuna Pasta
Sitting in the Shade at the ANAM station I pack all the food for the 12day expedition into the tapered stern dry bags; Allison fills the water containers, two 6 liter dromedary bags and four 6 liter wine bladders. We are a bit nervous as despite a previous phone conversation were we were told we would be allowed to do the circumnavigation, over the last three days at the ranger Station with some clients from Fluid Adventures, the head ranger had kind of changed his tune. He had not yet said “no” though he was also seeming to be concerned about safety; in my opinion now he had seen one of the party was a girl, he wasn’t so keen to let us go. We had let the subject slide as we needed to focus on providing for the clients we were guiding for the last three days ( in exchange for a small wage that paid for most of our food for the expedition, free transport to Coiba and our park permit paid for, we had agreed to guide 3 clients for three days on Coiba prior to our personal trip, good deal done). Now however we were preparing to leave and were also preparing to be told no and then paddle back to the mainland and explore the coast.
We set the boats by the water, no one gave us any attention, we loaded the boats; 18 liters of water in each, equal share of food, pots, cooker, small cooler, kitchen bag, etc. Some rangers came over smiled and marvelled at the boats, then with our small knowledge of Spanish let us know how cool they thought our trip was. Getting in our boats to leave we pushed out into the calm bay in the golden evening light, no one came to stop us. It was 4pm there was 2 and a half hours or so till the sun set, we weren’t going far, just 2 nautical miles around the next headland, and looking back as we paddled off towards the western edge of Coiba island, I expected someone to wave us back with a stern look, no one appeared. We were on our way, and we still weren’t shore if we had permission or not to be doing what we were about to do, though that just made it all so much more exciting.
That night we camped at Playa Machete in a nice little clearing in the coastal littoral forest, we cooked up pasta as the high tide lapped at the low hanging tree branches; a beautiful orange sky greeted us to our first wilderness camp spot on the island. A possum came sniffing around on dark, though continued on his way without hassle, the night was alive with insects, frogs and bats flying about. I was so excited at finally being underway on a kayak journey I had dreamed about doing since I first brought some clients here to this very camp site two years ago, I couldn’t wait to see what we would see. I had no expectations really, just knowledge that this trip will be amazing and that not many other people had done what we were about to attempt. This is something special and we are also doing it in Folding kayaks!