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Coiba

From Openwaterpedia
Coiba is part of the Prison Island Swims (or the Triple Break or Triple Crown of Prison Island Swims that were nominated for the 2016 WOWSA Awards, a recognition of outstanding men, women, performances and offerings around the globe sponsored by the World Open Water Swimming Association in the category of World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year
Coiba island prison in Panama

Coiba is the largest island in Central America with an area of 503 km2 (194 sq mi), off the Pacific coast of the Panamanian province of Veraguas. It is part of the Montijo District of that province.

Prison Island[edit]

In 1919 a penal colony was built on the island and during the years that Panama was under the dictatorships of Omar Torrijos and Manuel Noriega, the prison on Coiba was a feared place with a reputation for brutal conditions, extreme tortures, executions and political murder. Nobody knows exactly how many people were killed in the prison during this period, but sources claim that the number could be close to 300. As such, the island was avoided by locals, and other than the prison, was completely undeveloped.

After the prison was closed down in 2004, its pristine condition made it ideal as a reserve. It is now said that the prison is haunted by the ghosts of prisoners.

The island was declared a National Park in 1992 and in July 2005, Unesco declared the entire Coiba National Park a "World Heritage Site".

Open Water Swimming[edit]

Coiba is site of one of the Triple Break swims (Triple Crown of Prison Island Swims), where swimmers challenge themselves to escape by swimming at least 3 of the world's most well-known prison island swims including Le Château d’If, Fort Boyard, Devil's Island, Île de Gorée, Robben Island, Alcatraz Island, Spike Island, Rottnest Island, and Sainte-Marguerite.

Triple Break Sites (listed by region and country)[edit]

Africa[edit]

Australia[edit]

Central America[edit]

  • Isla San Lucas (Costa Rica): 4 km to mainland, was used as a prison 1873 to 1991
  • Coiba (Panama): 20 km to mainland, was used as a prison from 1919 to 2004

Europe[edit]

North America[edit]

  • Alcatraz Island (U.S.A.): 2.3 km to mainland, was the former isolated prison home of Al Capone and other celebrated American criminals
  • Santa Cruz (U.S.A.): 33 km to mainland, was use to house prisoner after Mexico's independence from France
  • Fort Warren (U.S.A.): 11 km to mainland, was used as a prison in the American Civil War 1862
  • Fort Jefferson (U.S.A.): 110 km to Key West Florida, was used as a prison for USA Civil War deserters and plotters to kill Abraham Lincoln
  • McNeil Island (U.S.A.): 4.5 km to mainland, was used as a prison in the 1880s up to 1,200 inmates
  • Johnson Island (U.S.A.): 5 km to mainland, was used as a prison from 1861 with up 2,500 Conference prisoners
  • Peddocks Island (U.S.A.): 0.4 km to mainland, was used as a prison during World War II for Italian prisoners

External links[edit]