Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Panama Sea Kayak Recon

re•con [ri-kon]


re•con•nais•sance [ri-kon-uh-suh ns, -zuh ns]
a general examination or survey of a region, usually followed by a detailed survey

"A general examination of a region" is the best way to define our missions out into new, undiscovered territory for updating courses and adding new ones in Costa Rica, Panama, and Nicaragua.

So last fall in Panama, Costa Rica Outward Bound staff members Laura (Program Director), Scott (Associate Program Director) and Jim (Executive Director) set out for one of these missions, finding a the ideal CRROBS sea kayak adventure. (Photos on right are from this trip. Click here for the complete photo album of their recon mission.)

First it's important to know what exactly we seek during these missions in order to add it as an option in our list of courses:
  • protected areas
  • community service opportunities
  • untouched, extremely remote and rural locations
  • diverse, beautiful scenery
  • varied ecosystem
  • educational opportunities

Lucky for them, they found it all in Bocas del Toro, and more. And it was all perfect for a sea kayaking adventure.

Not only was the area overflowing with untouched, protected seas; but it also exhibited varied shorelines, mangrove islands, an interesting history, unique plant and animal species, indigenous communities (with whom we have already done a number of service projects), and lots of open water.

"It's a great experience to be in power of where you go in an area that large... you get a feel for how inhabitants have gotten around for hundreds of years." -Scott

For the past week, our Outward Bound USA students have been - hopefully - making that same discovery. They have kayaked from island to island while learning about Columbus' adventures hundreds of years ago, the unique species of plants and animals, the local people, and how to become expert kayakers. The next students who can see it with their own eyes are our Panamanian Kayak Adventure course students this summer.

It's not every day that you can sea kayak around an area seen by fewer than 1% of the world's population.

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