We are going to need a bigger boat, cover…
It rains hard and I mean really hard every time we go out on a boat trip, back in March during our trip to Belize, we got goose bumpy cold and soaking wet on our boat trip Too Wet to Snorkel but it was still tons of fun.
Even though it was rainy season in Panama we ventured out on a couple of boat trips to see some of the beautiful archipelago of Bocas del Toro.
Our first trip was disgustingly wet, the day started out quite sunny and full of optimism but ended up with us being bounced around on choppy seas using the life jackets to ward off stinging rain! The tour was billed as dolphin watching, snorkeling, visiting Cayo Zapatilla and seeing sloth. Unfortunately we chose CoopeGuide Tours very badly. The captain wasn’t a guide at all just a really, really bad boat driver. 4 boats hounded one dolphin, we didn’t see any sloth, was asked to pay more money, $10 to enter the marine park (we refused to pay) and the snorkeling spot had poor visibility. On a sunny day the deserted island of Zapatilla would be paradise, but when it’s stormy it was just a huddle of sad people on a very thin strip of beach in the rain, waiting for the boat to come back through rough waves to pick us up. All in all a rubbish $70 trip. Admittedly the captain couldn’t do anything about the rain but it was just a badly run tour, even the young happy German girls complained in perfect Spanish to the captain, which didn’t make me feel so bad for feeling grumpy in this wonderful destination.
But not to be defeated we tried again, I was determined to get in some good snorkeling come rain or shine.
We originally booked with Be Nice Nomade Tours to go on an eco tour at Green Acres chocolate farm with snorkeling in the afternoon but for some reason were told it wasn’t available. So we got a refund and then negotiated a cheaper tailor-made tour for just us two with Jurado (his English was fab), this turned out to be a great day. We started out towards Isla Solarte, where we got lucky and came across 2 dolphins. Along the way it was interesting to see some big gringo properties nestled in the green lush hillside and then in contrast some of the local waterside house huts.
Jurado took us into the mangroves, even with tree cover we couldn’t escape the torrential rain that came down, the blue crab took cover too. With rain coats on we stopped to take a muddy wet walk into the forest, it was brilliant.
Jurado showed us chocolate pod trees and we got up close to see a sleepy 3 toed sloth curled up all cosy in his tree.
I practically squealed with excitement at seeing my first sloth, which made Jurado laugh a lot!
Once we were back in open waters the storm passed and the forest hills steamed in the warmth of the sun. We went on to snorkel in three different spots. I saw loads of big chunky orange starfish, they feel like rocks rather than the squishy fish feel I was expecting. I did put him back carefully where I found him! Visibility was great, I was able to view all sorts of colourful fish and coral.
Jurado gave me a mermaid tow at the back of the boat while snorkeling, which was a blast. I love the photo Mr E took in the boat, where in the background I’m supposed to be under the water but all you see is my floaty big old bum sticking up!
As it was just us on the boat, we had a fab trip with a captain that was safe, knowledgeable and keen to ensure we had a fun trip.
Hooray what a great time! it’s never too wet to snorkel..