Snorkeling at “kayak’s distance”

Kayaking Panama

At the end of September I was talking about the beautiful snorkeling you can enjoy right at the dock and its surroundings but, that is just one of the “very many” options, so if you feel a little more adventurous we can get in the kayak and go!

Blue-striped Grunt

Tranquilo Bay’s site is fortunate because it is in a relatively secluded area.  Historically this means the place has a very low population density that allows us, today, to enjoy well-preserved coral reefs in a “kayak’s distance” from the dock.

Moon Jelly and Snorkeler Bocas

The kayak can get us to the reef where we can jump in, enjoy as much as you want and then, change the scenario by going to other coral reef, or a mangrove lagoon.  Or we can check the mangrove roots while surrounded by glass minnows and schoolmasters, colorful sponges, and coral heads, that the juvenile fish use for their protection.

Tranquilo Bay Dock

Different coral formations, fish, sponges, echinoderms, and many other creatures inhabit the shallow flats covered in soft coral whereas, the animals inhabiting a coral covered underwater cliff, mangrove lagoons and roots, and deeper coral heads are another set of animals all together.  Both sets of animals are all in a “kayak’s distance”.

Year Round Snorkeling Opportunities

Snorkeling Bocas del Toro

Bocas del Toro archipelago’s interior waters are calm throughout the year.   Tranquilo Bay is located in a very calm mangrove bay where waters are clear and snorkeling is a “must do” year round.  September and October are the months that you have the best chances to get the best snorkeling conditions.  These two months usually have extremely calm water and dry and sunny weather that give the great light and visibility to enjoy the vibrant colors of the reef creatures.

Panama SnorkelingStarting at the dock, you may surrender to these underwater creatures’ beauty. Featherduster worms, crabs, snappers, glass minnows, angelfish, and many other colorful fish will surround you as you enjoy the perfect temperature of Caribbean waters.

Tropical Fish Bocas

Underwater Panama

Longsnout Seahorse

Since I wrote the post “underwater garden” and after struggling to choose the pictures that will go with specific text, an idea started growing in my mind.   We should share all the beautiful “underwater flowers, butterflies, bird, etc.” that surround us in an underwater photo series.

Something happened a week ago that sped up the first post of this series. After many years snorkeling in different spots around the archipelago, I have not been lucky enough to find something so I started to think it was a legend. But it was not and it seems that my bad luck is gone because I finally found a Longsnout Seahorse, in its bright yellow form, simply gorgeous … here are some pics for you to enjoy.

Longsnout Seahorse - Hippocampus reidi 2

Longsnout Seahorse - Hippocampus reidi 7

Maybe it was not so much bad luck, as it was great camouflage. Longsnout Seahorse - Hippocampus reidi  4

**Edited to correct name from Longnose Seahorse to Longsnout Seahorse.

Underwater Garden

Today I realized, here at Tranquilo Bay, we all share the same way to describe the amazing coral reefs that surround us. It seems the simplest and most descriptive way we found, just one word, Garden.

An underwater garden were flowers, butterflies, birds, bees morph into unimaginable shapes, with colors impossible to describe as corals, crabs, fishes, sponges, worms, … that will change your concept of alive forms.

Here are some pictures that show you what I am talking about.

Snorkeling Panama Panama Snorkeling Snorkeling Bocas del Toro

Fall: The Best Season

In Bocas del Toro, Panama, fall on the Western Caribbean Slope is generally our best weather of the year.  We don’t get the same number of guests as in the high season, but the ones that are here did their homework.  Enthusiasts of all different types use this time of year (Sept/Oct) to maximize their opportunities at Tranquilo Bay Eco Adventure Lodge.

Birding Panama

Birdwatchers come for the fall bird migration and beautiful weather conditions.  The volume of raptors in huge kettles over the Caribbean coastline and islands is a marvelous spectacle.  Seven hundred and thirty thousand raptors were counted just a couple of days ago.  They were followed by the Warblers, Tanagers, Orioles, and so many other exquisitely painted flying visitors.  The birds you can photograph from the canopy observation tower alone make this time of year worth the trip.

Panama Bird Watching

Wildlife Panama

Wildlife photographers come for the light and clarity.  Photographing wildlife in the Neotropics can be difficult at any time of year, but September/October bring plenty of sun and lower humidity creating stunning sun-drops beneath the canopy and clear landscapes.

Snorkeling Bocas del Toro

Snorkeling and diving conditions in the Caribbean Sea are at their peak; the favorable weather translates to calm water.  The wave action at other times of the year can affect visibility.  Not that those conditions are bad, they’re just not Bocas’ best.  Just wait until you feast your eyes on the diversity of corals and tropical fishes that light up the water with a rainbow of color here in Bocas del Toro.

Fishing Panama

Another great reason to come at this time of year is for the fishing.  Wade fishing conditions are perfect for Snook and Jack Crevalle.  Because the sea is so calm, there are rarely waves at river mouths.  The fish congregate into smaller target areas because the natural current patterns are not disrupted by rough conditions.  The rip lines are easy to find and with fewer waves, much easier to access while wading.

While offshore fishing in September and October, the typically flat seas are a dream.  School size Yellow-fin and Black-fin tuna bring plenty of action on light tackle.  Big Wahoo are the best offshore prize while fishing in Bocas del Toro, Panama, with 75 pound Wahoo taken regularly during the fall season.  This is also the best time of year to see a Whale Shark in western Panama.

Kayaking Panama

Oh, I almost forgot, all the reasons mentioned above to vacation in Bocas del Toro during the fall, also make it a great time of year for sea kayaking.

See you next fall.