Last week, I went on a day trip to Coiba Island as part of my retreat.
Coiba is comprised of a large main island that formerly housed a penitentiary, with a few smaller islands surrounding it.
It is a UNESCO World heritage site, a protected marine reserve that is home to a vast diversity of marine life. Its protected status makes it one of the few remaining untouched places on Earth. It’s one of the best snorkeling and diving sites in the world.
Coiba is about a 90-minute boat ride from Santa Catalina. There is not much you can do on the boat ride to Coiba other than look at the vast open Pacific Ocean or the small islands (depending on which side of the boat you’re sitting on).
As we passed the small uninhabited islands of the Pacific on the way to Coiba I found myself marveling at the trees. Each island was abundant with trees.
I also noticed cave openings in some islands.
All I could think was,
Nobody planted these trees here. Nobody waters them. Nobody maintains them. Nobody carved out these tunnels. Nature did this.
I’ve never really stopped to consider how trees come into being. Perhaps that’s the city girl in me; NYC’s biggest source of nature, Central Park, May feel natural, but it is man-made. Even in the suburbs of the city, from the rolling hills of Westchester County to the beaches of the Hamptons, to the Connecticut countryside, most “nature” is landscaped.
At Coiba, we snorkeled at three separate locations, stopping for a picnic lunch at the Ranger camp before our last snorkeling tour.
After our last snorkeling tour, we landed on a pristine white beach. While our boat and captain anchored several yards from the shore, we relaxed. Some people took to shade on the beach, while others of us swam and luxuriated in the crystal clear turquoise water.
(The photo above is from the ranger station; I didn’t take photos at the last site because my phone was in my bag on the boat.)
As I lay back in the water in and looked up, I was awed by how the row of palm trees punctuated the clear blue sky. It was a perfect day. Not a cloud in sight. Nature’s beauty manifest in front of us.
Immense gratitude flooded me.
I shared my observation with my friends. One of them observed that major beach resorts at often spend a lot of money to create this type of landscape, to bring this feeling to their resorts.
Everyone nodded in agreement.
As we played and luxuriated in this untouched paradise, we reflected on the benefit of having an organization like UNESCO that protects sites like Coiba from human interference. We had a shared sense of sadness that this is necessary in the first place.
It’s impossible to come here and not feel moved by the power and beauty of nature, and enlightened by the ways in which humans destroy the planet.
More specifically related to my personal and business lives, I can’t help but wonder what might happen if we allowed nature to take its course, and applied less human interference.
It seems to me that nature knows what she’s doing.
Maybe our only task is to stay out of the way.