Here’s a few visual tidbits, of middling quality and interest, to tie you over in case you’re not diving any time soon and you’ve already scrolled through all the search results for scuba on google images.
Every single dive around Coiba Island had reef sharks.Read more
Under the waves we had fun, but Bocas Del Toro and all that was around has a lot to offer topside as well. Here are a few stray thoughts and observations, necessarily incomplete, for when you find yourself there, because you should.
There is a bit of a Wild West feel about the town, like anything could happen and some rules are a little blurry. It’s not a beach side chillin’ destination, there’s a strong whiff of adventure about the place. A backpacker town to some extent, BDT has visitors from all over the globe. Among others we met a Mexican biologist doing research on sea cucumbers, a Spanish divemaster student working his way up the Americas, an Australian on his walkabout, a German graphic designer living in Argentina, a bunch of Dutch dudes, even kids from Laval. One of whom had the unfortunate idea to tell Gen he was born the same year she was first certified as a scuba diver… So I had to turn off his air under the water. Just kidding. Sort of. They were a bunch of pleasantly over excited newbies on their first salt water dive ever. They were very happy we took a picture of them.Read more
I wrote my piece about diving in Bocas Del Toro hurriedly, it was after all a vacation and an adventuresome one, pure chillin’ time was limited, we were always on the go. I forgot to mention some of the cool things we did with Bocas Diving Pirates, including hunting/eating lionfish.Read more
Bocas Del Toro is a very chill town, and Bocas Diving Pirates is a very chill dive shop. Chill but professional, don’t let the laid back vibe fool you, these guys are good, real good and they work hard. You don’t have to touch your gear unless you want to. The instruction quality is also excellent. I was listening to el jefe Alex instruct new divers before a DSD and everything was on point, precise, yet humorous. This is not the kind of shop where they “forget” to ask for your certification card or where the DMs dive by intuition rather than by decompression tables. Oxygen rescue kit on every dive, not something we’ve seen very often on our travels. The crew was super nice and quickly made us feel like part of the team, besides Alex, we got to know Omar, our DM Charlie and our groovin’ dancin’ boat stearin’ captain Bernardino. That’s one reason I prefer smaller dive shops, you get to make connections with people (provided you’re not a jackass to start with), and that takes the diving to a different level. You get to know the DM(s) and they get to know you and how you dive.Read more
After three days in Coiba we came back a little bit crusty, bug bitten (in my case), and very pleased with the whole adventure. Back at the dive shop we fulfilled the age old ritual of drinking a few beers and stamping log books, our DM Cory (from Calgary) spent some time with us generally chatting, which was very nice. A tropical downpour started unannounced and a white horse galloped by. The image was a little surreal. Then a white truck from our hotel that night showed up, also unannounced, so we did not have to walk in the rain. Now that is service. We passed however, since, you know, beers and divers. Then we ate pizza at the topless mermaid place and it was very good. We spoke with our new dive buddy Bonne who was also eating there (granted the amount of places to eat in Santa Catalina pretty much insures you will run into people you have already met) and we met an Australian surfer dude pretty much traveling around the world surfing and working odd jobs here and there. That guy was on to something. We meet quite a few of those travelers that seem to be on an extended walkabout, Europeans and Australians, not a bad way to spend your days, not at all, my North American mind wonders at the financials of it though. My repressed surfer self is more like meh, they’ll figure something out. It seems a very different world to me than when I backpacked across Europe in the late 80’s… When most of the people we have met so far would not be born for almost a decade…Read more