Monday, June 4, 2012

Isla Coiba Feb 3rd 2012: Howlers in the Trees

PIMarch9th Belize(c)JaimeSharp_20080313_07001 (2)
Trip Log:
Distance: 6.5 KNM
Weather: Sunny too overcast too Slight showers
Dinner: Tuna Pasta
IMG_4162Tonight a coconut fell from a palm tree and landed with a thwack right between us, and there was only about a foot of space between us, the coco nut even bounced onto my foot. That was a good sobering reminder of how dangerous falling coconuts can be, the hard small green air to surface missile could have hurt one of us severely. At this point I we stopped trying to tie up the solar shower in that particular place and looked elsewhere.

We had a slow lazy start to the morning today, enjoying our non sandy beach, we swam in the sea, bathed in the creek and ate pancakes for breakfast. Now only a mere 6KNM from completing our circumnavigation of Isla Coiba, we were in no rush to get there.
Granito De Oro and rainbow.

Aiming to camp tonight somewhere near the ANAM station where we started at, we wanted to avoid the cruise ship hordes we sighted in the distance arriving this morning in the large thumping, floating resorts, so we headed to the forest Trail of “los Manos”. Sitting in the shade of an overhanging tree, by a gurgling stream that flowed over a rocky point into the salty sea, we watched across the turquoise waters the tiny yet stunningly beautiful island appropriately titled in Spanish “Isla Granito De Oro”( Grain of Gold Island), become a hive of activity. Boats raced from the cruise ships, multi colored umbrellas went up, along with deck cheers and tables ( we even imagined the luxurious food spread that was more than likely put upon those tables); Another boat came towing sit on top kayaks, we giggled at the luxury of it all as we snacked on nuts and chocolate in the shade. Both we and the cruise ship passengers will say “we visited Isla De Coiba and Isla Granito De Oro” but what different experiences they will be; we just kayaked around Coiba, and tonight we plan to stealth camp on Granito De Oro; both Allie and I fell very privileged we have had the chance to experience this amazing island in such an intimate and special way. We can only imagine what the cruise ship clients will remember.. the turtles that are abundant around the little island, Being pulled behind a power boat on an inflatable ring in a stunning place that was called….. hmm I don’t remember, Panama it was! Or perhaps some will remember the place and quote informative text they read in books prior there visit or on the info panels at the ANAM station, I am not a big fan of cruise ships and I will stop here with my bias towards them.

Howler(C)JaimeSharp0030Walking up the trail behind us we left the cruise ship hordes to enjoy paradise and we came across the allusive Rufus Howler Monkeys we had been hearing the whole time we sat beneath the tree on the beach and in the far distance deep in the trees during the entire trip. Now they were right above us e us, these little monkeys let go a megalithic roaring cacophony that alluded to a monstrous devil waiting to eat your soul, not a small brown primate. No wonder the Spanish conquistadors who came to colonize Latin America thought the forest full of demons and beasts.

The sun sank on the horizon and rain clouds built, as we paddled across the small gap of water to the tiny golden sand island that is “Isla Granito De Oro”; as we paddled across a Rainbow came into bloom over the tiny Islet. A large school of big Tuna or similar, milled about on the surface feeding and splashing as we paddled past, then right next to Allie surfaced a Huge golden turtle, Allie’s jaw dropped as she cruised quietly past this big gentle giant who slowly sunk into the depths again.

Looking back at Isla Coiba and the nine days we spent circumnavigating it.

Tonight we camp under the half full moon on a gorgeous island, we have done our yoga, eaten a big pasta meal, showered under the solar shower and now drift off to sleep ready for our next step, the paddle back to the mainland. We are sad and emotional to be leaving this magical treasure that is this island paradise called Coiba, an oasis of untamed life in and ever more industrialized world. What an unforgettable yet hard to fully grasp adventure this has been; I would love to spend more time here, 25 days would almost be enough perhaps? Good night Coiba thank you for accommodating us and sharing your beauty.
The gold beaches of  Isla Granito De Oro (Grain of Gold Island)

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