Rio Balsas

Tags: Darien, Panama, Rio Balsas, sailing

Date: January 15, 2023

After a couple of nights anchored on the Tuira river we continued upriver and went into the Balsas river. That tributary is narrower and curvier than the part of Rio Tuira we had seen so far. Rio Balsas also had a few quite shallow places that we had to navigate around and the river water was extremely muddy so there were no visual clues to how deep the water was.

Here the muddy banks are revealed by the falling tide:

Small side rivers almost completely disappear during low tide:

Amanda anchored during low tide:

Beautiful tree root structure becoming visible at low tide:

We went on quite a few dinghy rides on Rio Balsas, sometimes twice a day around the time when the tide was turning. Lots of water birds were in the area. Here is a cocoi heron:

Then a yellow-crowned night heron:

Also there were lush plants with huge leaves and flowers:

Here a flock of juvenile American white ibis are resting on a fallen tree:

More plants with gigantic leaves:

The green streaks in the water is probably some kind of filamentous algae:

At high tide the mud banks are completely covered up and the plants grow all the way down to the water's edge:

Another yellow-crowned night heron:

More American white ibis, the brownish juveniles mixed in with some white adults:

American white ibis in flight against the overcast sky:

Actually we did not see a lot of sun while we were on Rio Balsas and we had a period of rain almost every day.

Here is a makeshift ladder built to allow access to shore from the river at both high and low tide:

Amanda in the distance on the return from one of our longer dinghy trips:

Finally a day with some blue skies and lovely reflections of the river banks in the water:

We were literally invaded by insects every night around sunset. They were hitting the cockpit covers in such numbers that we initially thought it had started raining. Needless to say, there was no barbecuing or eating outside in the cockpit while we stayed there.

In the mornings we would wake up to thousands of identical insects that had landed and died on the boat during the night. It was to the point that it started smelling bad in the cockpit until we washed them away. They were probably some kind of mayfly: