Day 35 – Kayaking Bocas del Toro

Today was absolutely amazing! I started the morning with absolutely no plans and a slight hangover from yesterday. I made myself and my mates a few stacks of pancakes first thing. I then downed two coffees with the full intention of doing nothing for the whole day. I laid around for a few hours listening to music, watching Netflix, and laying in the sun. I got hungry around noon again, but didn’t want to eat a huge lunch because Saturday’s at Mamallena’s are all-you-can-eat pizza nights. I settled for a light second breakfast at this place called The Açaí Shack. It wasn’t two expensive and everything was made right there in front of me. It was a perfect mix of fresh, cold, and sweet to jumpstart my afternoon.

I walked around the island for a few more minutes. I really wanted to check out the airfield here because the planes fly in extremely close overhead. It looks like they are going to take out the whole village every time they land. I ventured back to the hostel for a little while, but boredom quickly crept up on me. I spontaneously decided to rent a $15 kayak for four hours. I grabbed my GoPro and launched from the dock off the back end of the hostel. I first headed northwest towards a small beach called Playa El Istmito. The waves weren’t too big too handle, but I was capsized once upon arrival. The beach itself was scattered with remains of drained cincuenta and coconut leafs. There was a group of locals playing soccer, using two sticks in the sand as goals on each side. The view of the bay was extraordinary from the beach so I waded in the water for a bit.

Next I cast off from the beach towards the middle of the bay. This was a blast–trying to paddle against the incoming waves. Thankfully, I wasn’t capsized again. I was sure to approach each wave directly perpendicular. My next stop was a giant sandbar in the middle of the bay. The ocean floor gradually sloped up to this massive sand formation. The water was so shallow around the sand bar for at least 20-30 meters. I was actually just pushing myself though using the paddle. Most of the sand bar area was covered in seaweed, but there were small patches of sandy ocean floor everywhere. I spotted a huge orange starfish sprawled in the middle of one. I turned around to go find it again but lost it.

I kept moving towards the tip of the island. I made my way through a group of anchored sailboats. Some were large catamarans while others were just small little houseboats. One of the catamarans was from Jacksonville, Alabama. I crossed a channel towards Isla Carenero, which is Bocas del Tori’s neighboring island. Paddling through this area was exhausting–the waves generated from the speedy ferries were daunting. There was an even mix of ferry captains who either went slow to avoid tipping me or went fast to see if I could survive the waves. It made the experience exhilarating. I headed directly for a open beach area on Isla Carenero. Upon my arrival, a group of three locals boys were playing the water. They kept looking at me so I knew they wanted a shot with the kayak. They sprinted over to me as soon as I offered. It was more fun watching them enjoy the kayak than it was for me. Their faces were lit up ear-to-ear with smiles.

I utilized the break as a rating opportunity. I used my only $1 Balboa coin to get a water from the nearby Aqua Lounge Hostel. The hostel had a great kick-backed atmosphere and friendly staff. There are cutouts in the deck all over the hostel that lead straight into the ocean. The hostel itself is literally built on stilts over the water. I climbed a tower there to get a view of the whole area. You can’t see it in the video, but in person I could see all the way to the mainland. There were faintly-colored blue mountains off in the background. They complemented the lush green vegetation of the beaches to make for a spectacular site. I let the locals take the kayak for about 20-30 minutes then jumped off the tower to get back into it. I made my way back to the hostel on Isla Bocas del Toro. I was tired at this point, so I let the three Brits take the kayak out for a spin. We sat at a dinner table for almost an hour and a half slamming all-you-can-eat pizza. This is my view right now as I write this:

Tomorrow I plan to do two or three dives with a local dive shop called the Diving Pirates. They have the best rates on the whole island–$70 for two day dives and $100 for two day dives and a night dive. I’m really excited for it. I’ve been going through diving withdrawals (nitrogen withdrawals, maybe? since leaving Utila. After tomorrow, I will have dived off three different islands in Central America, which is pretty cool to me. I’m looking to fly out of here on Monday to spend the last two days of my trip in Panama City. I cannot believe this whole adventure is almost over. I’m so sad to leave this trip, this lifestyle, and the nature behind, but I’m ready to come home. It’s been the most amazing experience of my life.


Countries I Have Met People From:

USA

Mexico

Germany

Belgium

Hungary

Costa Rica

England

Ireland

Switzerland

Belize

Israel

Czech Republic

Australia

South Africa

Guatemala

Nicaragua

Colombia

Taiwan

Japan

Italy

Canada

Austria

Norway

France

The Netherlands

New Zealand

Burkina Faso

Malta

Scotland

Brazil

Finland

Vietnam

Spain

Wales

Panama

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