After breakfast – a buffet with omelet bar, made to order, mini pastries, fresh jams and fresh fruits, mmm mango! We headed off to meet my teacher friend and his family to go snorkeling. Today we took one of the small boat taxis… only a 5 minute ride as opposed to a 45 min. trek in the “jungle”. We scooted past Big Laguna and docked at Little Laguna and hiked up the stairs to Alastair’s condo. When his family was ready we set off to the beach to await our boat for hire.
The boat arrived a little late and we set off for our day trip. To our surprise we turned back towards our hotel and went on the other side of the small hill to the open channel. The day was cool and cloudy and the chugging of the engine echoed off the hillsides until we came to the coral gardens where there were giant clams. Everyone was a little hesitant to get into the water since the wind had picked up and it was the coolest day thus far… maybe 23c. John and Alastair decided to give it a try and immediately regretted the cold shock of the water. I had been ill with a sinus infection and a touch of the flu, so I decided the best view would be inside the boat. John and Alastair said they saw numerous colourful fish, so Emma, Alastair & Inga’s 6 year daughter decided she wanted to go too. After Emma was suited up she went into the water and got the hang of the snorkel very quickly. A few minutes later a very excited splash broke the surface as Emma shouted out, “I saw Nemo!”
It was pretty cool, so everyone clambered back into the boat after a short view and we headed off to the next stop. We pulled up on the banks of a small island. They ram the boat into the sand, put down a small plank and you try to beat the waves to get to the shore dry… sometimes you win and others you get wet. Oh well… the water is warm. We collected shells and waded in the water as the crew prepared our lunch. As we waited a very old lady with missing front teeth, very tanned and creased skin like old leather came to sell us shells and coconuts. We bought a coconut and shared the sweet juice. Emma and Henry had never tried it before, and they loved it. Henry was taken with the juice and couldn’t get enough. Just as the food was finishing the local stray cats and dogs came round… hoping for hand outs. The kids thought that was funny as the cats meowed (“hey he talked to me”) and the dogs looked at them with their “puppy dog eyes”. We sat down to eat salad, chicken, rice and some marinated meats.
After our lovely BBQ feast it was back into the boat and off to the next spot. We landed on another beach that was isolated from the hotels and civilization… just us and a few other tourists on their boats, sand, jungle and waves. We got as close as we could to the shore and had to wade the last few steps to the beach. Easier said than done! This said was larger rough grains and like quicksand. Soon as I stepped into it I sank mid-calf and had to trudge to the beach. What a weird sensation on your skin. It was kinda like the sand consistency at Warren’s Lake in Ingonish, only you sank in this wet sand! We found our own piece of beach and relaxed in the partial sun and Emma and Henry played and splashed in the surf.
The day turned out to be better than we worried when we first left. It warmed up and was comfortable and the sun tried to make a bit of an appearance through the layer of clouds. Best of all it was relaxing and we all lazed on the beach and enjoyed some conversation. Sooner than we would have liked our tour guide said it was time to return and our day was coming to an end. Our tour guides returned us to our beach and we said our good-byes to my fellow teachers.
We spent the next days relaxing on the beach hammocks reading, or inside our hut on the balcony or window bench. We went back to Little Laguna to wander the shops and narrow streets one last time before our vacation ended. The sadness and realization our time here was getting shorter started to sink in… if only a few more days…
One more adventure in the Philippines… stay tuned for the surprise on the boat trip back.