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Thread: Scuba diving in Panama!

  1. #1
    TadPole
    Join Date
    08/08/2011
    Location
    Pedasi, Panama, CA
    Posts
    32

    Scuba diving in Panama!

    Hi Everyone.

    I'm new to the forum and by way of introduction, thought I would tell you about my recent trip to Panama. I do, however, have to preface my comments with the fact that I was initially certified to scuba back in 1994 in New Zealand....never to scuba again (work...life...you know the story!)...until this past October 2010, in Panama.

    Since I started up again in October, I've been determined to follow my life long dream of not having been diving once, but of being a scuba diver. I have to say, that since then, I've advanced my certifications to Rescue Diver. All of my diving has been in Panama and my experience is limited. Maybe you'll enjoy my newbie story anyway...

    Last week I was in Pedasi, a small, rural fishing village about 5 hours drive from Panama City on the Azueros peninsula (Pacific side of Panama). I dived several spots around to distinct diving locations: Isla Iguana and Frailes.

    Isla Iguana is a nature reserve and the max depth is around 97ft. Most diving is 50 - 70ft. There are plenty of tropical fish and I've seen sea turtles, sting rays, spotted eagle rays and tons of eel (several varieties) around the island.

    Frailes was a new trip for me this time around. It is further out and a little more 'wild' with depths WELL beyond 100 ft. I don't know the names of all the fish that I saw, but they were large, colorful and wonderful! I also saw white tipped sharks (including finding a grotto full of them), more sea turtles, eels and spotted eagle rays. I understand that the large manta ray are seen at Frailes, but I had no such luck on my trip.

    The most wonderful part of the trip was that it is whale season in Pedasi and the Humpback whales are in the area to calve. On one dive in particular, while I didn't see the whales, we did listen to their beautiful, complex songs for a full 45 minutes. Maybe you've had that experience before, but I haven't and it was breathtaking (I did NOT forget to breathe!)! If you haven't...I hope that some day you do! On our surface interval between dives, a group of maybe 4 HUGE whales surfaced and began to play not more than 30 feet from us. We followed them in the boat for around 10 minutes, while they jumped and splashed, flicking their fins and tails. It was such an amazing experience...

    I'm headed back down to Pedasi the first week of September. I'm definitely hooked. I work long and hard, but I think there is more to life...I'm so glad to be (back) in the scuba game.

    I hope to meet some of you around the pond to share this fantastic experience!

  2. #2
    Funeral Jorunna
    Join Date
    08/01/2007
    Location
    Lafayette, CO
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    Thanks for the report. What were the water temps?
    If you get confused listen to the music play.
    To much of everything is just enough.

  3. #3
    TadPole
    Join Date
    08/08/2011
    Location
    Pedasi, Panama, CA
    Posts
    32
    I don't know exactly, but water temps are really warm. I wore a 3mm shorty and never felt the least bit cold (I'm usually freezing). Air temps are a constant 87-92F degrees year around in Panama. They have a wet and dry season.

  4. #4
    Funeral Jorunna
    Join Date
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    Well see if you can gather some info on the water temps when you are there in Sept.
    If you get confused listen to the music play.
    To much of everything is just enough.

  5. #5
    Grouper
    Join Date
    08/05/2007
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    Oklahoma city, OK USA
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    I did some diving in July 2010 on the other side - near Portobello.

    +80 degree water. Somewhat bad vis compared to other locations - less than 10ft in some areas, as much as 20-25ft in other areas.

    No turtles, mostly small tropical fish. However, as I was there for work - and only paid the cost of my diving out of my own pocket - a bargain

    If I go back for work, I think I'll try the pacific side. If I ever go back for fun (not work) I think I'd like to visit bocas del toro and san blas.
    Slowly exhale, relax, your brain will kick in...and if you can breath and think calmly, there's not too much you can't figure out, in any part of life.

  6. #6
    Guppy beluga's Avatar
    Join Date
    03/11/2008
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
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    Thanks for the report and welcome back!

    Who do you dive with in Pedasi?

  7. #7
    TadPole
    Join Date
    08/08/2011
    Location
    Pedasi, Panama, CA
    Posts
    32
    Hey Beluga, I dive with the Pedasi Sports Club. Bobby Grimes owns it and the troops down there are terrific! Its very laid back and I typically have the boat and crew to myself.

  8. #8
    TadPole
    Join Date
    02/15/2010
    Location
    North Alabama
    Posts
    31
    Thanks for sharing your Panama experience. Welcome back to the scuba fun!
    Sent via Iphone. I blame the typos on my fat fingers

  9. #9
    TadPole
    Join Date
    08/08/2011
    Location
    Pedasi, Panama, CA
    Posts
    32
    Just headed back to the States from another fab trip to Panama. Water temps....81 to 84. Currents were really strong this trip and visibility wasn't great (25-30 ft?). The whales are still in Pedasi and it seems that the sea turtles are amassing to storm the beaches as I saw several...as many as 10 in one day (usually just see 1 or 2 if any). On our surface interval we did some trolling....we caught 8 yellow fin tuna and had them for dinner...delicious!

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