Today is our last day on board our faithful vessel, National Geographic Quest; we have gone through many adventures together and today was a brand new one. This morning we woke up to the calls of howler monkeys coming from the manmade Barro Colorado Island (BCI) right in the middle of Gatun Lake, on the Caribbean side of the Panamanian Isthmus. This island is one of the most important stations for tropical rainforest research.

We are the only vessel that can do this: stopping halfway through the Canal transit and exploring different locations within Gatun Lake. Guests could choose from three outings: a Zodiac cruise along the edge of the main island of Barro Colorado, a walk on the main island’s intricate network of trails, or a panga ride to the town of Gamboa to visit the Rainforest Discovery Center on mainland Panama. An array of plants, birds, mammals, and even insects made our day’s visit so worthwhile.

Tomorrow, we will bid farewell to our vessel and our new friends, but we get to keep the great memories created along the way.