What an amazing day, I’m full of hope for Coiba and the rest of Panama’s seas! We met today at the incredible home of Jean Pigozzi,high on the top of his Simca Island, for a lunch with the Minister. His daughter joined him on the trip in the Presidential helicopter, which landed right at Jean’s helipad. The lively discussion between Ricardo, Jean, Sylvia, Biff and all, was very productive, and there were several action items that came out of it. If implemented, it would be really beneficial for marine life, the people that live here, and for Panama. I am not at liberty to share specifics, but everyone, even those like Jean and Biff who have spent a decade working on protection in Coiba felt very encouraged by the discussion! Hopefully we will see action on this very soon!
After our tour of Jean’s house and the Liquid Jungle Lab, some of us headed by boat into the pristine mangroves, and then hiked to a beautiful waterfall for a swim. The coastline is simply spectacular here, and Jean has done a fantastic job protecting it, as well as encouraging science from around the world in his lab!
The other part of the group took a spin around the islands in the Presidential Helicopter, Biff taking aerial photos and Sylvia showing the Minister the Under Sea Hunter out at the banks. The UnderSea Hunter will continue transects and collections on Hannibal Banks through the 11th, we can’t wait to see what they learn!
We regretfully have to leave Coiba tonight for the 24 hour trip to Panama City. Though it’s hard to say goodbye to this beautiful seascape, I think we have made a real impact with this visit! I am optimistic that when we return, it will be even more vibrant than it is now, the very definition of a Mission Blue “Hope Spot”!!