I’ve been to Central America twice, and neither time did I have an “agenda”. The first trip was in 1997, to Costa Rica, and there was no real plan whatsoever…just go with it, find some surf and have fun. The next trip was again to Costa Rica, but this time on my honeymoon. You don’t want to blow the honeymoon, so I did put together what could be loosely referred to as an “agenda”. The level of detail was unimpressive, and basically outlined when we would leave from one location and head for another.
This trip, on the other hand, will execute a very ambitious agenda. Days will be long and jam-packed. Each day has a number of transitions, with accommodations, transportation, permissions, and presentations all worked out in advance. I could actually tell you where I will be and what I’ll be doing on July 19th or 22nd with scary detail, all thanks to the planning of Bruce and Claudia, from PCP-PIRE…..
The first week of the agenda (minus most of the details) looks like this:
July 10 – Travel to Panama
July 11 – Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) for a presentation on pygmy sperm whales and marine “river” dolphins, by Jorge Velez. Tour of the Center of Tropical Paleoecology and Archaeology.
July 12 -Back to STRI for “Overview of Panama Canal geology and paleontology”, with Jorge Velez. Travel to Punta Culebra to learn about the CHISPA! Program.
July 13 – Metropolitan Park Crane for a lift into the rainforest canopy. Tour of Panama City.
July 14 – The one “free” day of the trip. Pray for surf.
July 15 – Head to the Gatun Formation, near Colón, to meet with Catalina Pimiento, a leading researcher investigating megalodon, the massive extinct shark. Later in the day, we will be joined at the Gatun Formation by a group of students from the area.
July 16 – Field work at the Canal zone. Not exactly sure what this means, but I’m looking forward to it, for sure.
July 17 – Field work at the Canal zone.
That’s the first week – sounds pretty awesome to me. The second week may be the better half, though, as we visit Barro Colorado Island, Chiriqui, and Pipeline Road, “one of the birdiest locations in Central America.” Week two agenda coming soon!