Panama Day Four

Panama Day Four

The morning started with light rain and a walk into the forest. The tide was low when I returned to the house. (13 foot tides in panama.) Exploring the beach was the plan for the rest of the morning. I walked to the mouth of the Rio Negro and started to back track looking for shells in the sea weed. This was my most productive day of shelling. Cowries, cone shells and a plethora of shells that still need to be identified were found. The shell bag was now full and starting to rip in various places. I walked back to the house observing the different round rocks along the beach. I decided to eat lunch, although I had no idea what time it was. While eating lunch with Cesar, Miguel the Captain and guide from yesterdays expeditions walked barefoot up the dirt trail. I fixed him lunch and he ate broccoli for the first time in his life. I worked on my Spanish. Cesar said he needed to give Miguel a ride, so we loaded the cooler up and traveled to his fish market where it was payday for Miguel. The beach close to the fish market was a turtle protection/ hatchery area. They released over 20,000 leatherback babies last year. I talked to the person in charge and learned a lot. He showed me whale bones that washed up a while back. The whale was over 65 feet. I held the back fluke bone. This area of the beach was also where they make Panga boats for the locals. It was nice talking to the boatbuilder. The beach was breathtaking, and the sand was black. After leaving the beach, Cesar took the 4 Runner through dirt roads to the top of a mountain, by far the steepest road I have ever been on. The horses we passed on the way looked haggard as they trudged up the wet red dirt road.

Brian Holaway

I have been a Shelling Guide to Cayo Costa State Park since 1995. Many people know me as the Shelling Guide and Captain with Captiva Cruises over the past 20 years. In 2016 I began solely offering private small boat charters to the islands of Pine Island Sound including Cayo Costa State Park, Cabbage Key, Useppa Island, Pine Island and North Captiva. I am a certified Florida Master Naturalist, licensed USCG Captain, avocational photographer, seashell enthusiast and passionate about the history, people and culture of Southwest Florida, especially Cayo Costa. I volunteer as a member of Friends of Cayo Costa State Park and have great respect for the heritage of Cayo Costa. My goal is to provide guests with an overall experience and appreciation for the waters, islands, shells, plants, marine life, wildlife, history and people of this unique area of Southwest Florida.

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