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February 01, 2008


Panama Trip

Posted by poxod-www

From: "Serge Besch"
Here is a report on my panama trip.
I went to Boquete which is close to Costa Rica border,
located on Vulcan Baru slopes this beautiful town is a
center of Panama's tourism (similar to Turrialba).
Found John Miller who owns
he lives/kayaks in Chriqui province for the last 9
years. He agreed to take me on Chriqui Viejo
Palon section (class IV) after a lengthy interview the
meaning of which I got later :).
He gave me Jefe boat and off we go, Pepito drove us up
and up for about 2 hours.
The first section was a few good class III warm-ups.
Yura, Boria and I learned from our Costa Rica trip
that their rivers classification is different from
ours, seems this is also true for Panama. Average
class III here can be on a par or more complex than
Deerfield's Dragon Tooth or Labyrinth but overall easy
to read and fun to run. Class IV section is a canyon
with 5 class IV rapids, at least one of which I could
compare with Beaver Moshier's exit rapid (w/o any
pools between steps). Others were similar to Upper
Yough, continuous and with no obvious good lines. Not
that I looked around much, I was simply surviving and
following John's lead. Water level was at about 1,000
c.f. which is considered as low. At wet season (July
- Dec ) it runs between 3,000 and 5,000 c.f. and John
describes it as "Gauley on steroids". This was my
first time experience with a big volume boat and
though I was struggling with maneuvering (you can not
turn it on a dime by hips move!), I still enjoyed my
greatly improved safety margins. John told me that
there are about 20 good creek and river runs in
Boquete area, with some rivers having multiple
sections. There are plenty of other things to do in
Panama as well, but this is a different story. Here
are a few photos
- nothing spectacular though}