animalia, Central America, natural wonder, Panama

starry nights in Santa Catalina

Bec / 18/03/2013

The sleepy, secretive surf haven of Santa Catalina lies on the Pacific coast. Dark super-fine sand stretches in all directions around the bay where we stayed at Oasis Surf Camp. The flat sea bottom gives up smooth baby waves for several metres making it ideal for learning to surf before moving out the back to have a go at the bigger surf.

Oasis is located at the end of the road out of town and then a walk through a stream, across super hot sand if you arrive near midday. Our feet were perpetually covered in sticky black grains. The isolation and perfect weather gave us a chance to wind down, swim, try surfing, enjoy a drink at the bar, sleep under palms trees and count crabs at night.

Dinner at Jammin Pizzeria was reached after a stream crossing, a decent walk and a gravel road and it was worth it – wood fired pizza, homemade bases and a Rottweiler cruising around looking for scraps. He escorted us to the end of the gravel road when we departed, if only he had a head lamp to light the way in the dark.

Ernie, Peta and I hit a small bar after dinner for a few beverages, stayed a little too long before stumbling home. I have some scratches and bruises but I’ll survive. Pain or not, it’s been heartwarming to connect with such an amazing guy and awesome tour leader like Ernesto.

Back at the hotel I couldn’t sleep straight away so walked out over the flat sand to the low tide waters edge. Looking up took my breath away, I’ve never seen so many stars. The belt of the Milky Way was clearly visible, the moon was only a sliver, letting the stars light the night. It was one of the most beautiful sights of this trip and it made me weep.

I chased crabs along the way back to a banana lounge pulled up to the log fence and spent a few hours dozing to the scrambling and scurrying of what sounded like hundreds of crabs over tree roots, dried leaves and coconuts. The breeze, the stars and the crashing ocean waves gave a peacefulness that drifted over me and nursed me to sleep for a few hours.

An easy day followed, catching up with JP online, doing my laundry, swimming, eating a mango bought from the back of a ute and generally doing as little as possible. Santa Catalina is certainly the best place to do as little as possible.


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