Have you got any leeches for this?

Trip Start Feb 26, 2010
Trip End Feb 26, 2011

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Where I stayed
Cliff View Cottages

Flag of Philippines  , Palawan,
Thursday, June 3, 2010

Breakfast was a lovely still warm sugary doughnut from the town bakery which we shared on the way down to the beach. We met up with Elie at the tour sales hut as he was doing the same tour as us again, this time Tour A, and we were joined by a Swiss guy called Julian and an English chap called Steve, everyone seemed really nice so it was all set to be another lovely day.  We climbed aboard the 'Ken David' again and set off out to the Bacuit‘s for our third day of island hopping and snorkeling. Our first stop was Miniloc Island were we visited the ‘Small Lagoon’ and ‘Big Lagoon’ the approach was beautiful as we weaved our way in and out of limestone karsts.  The small lagoon contained a small cave which I wasn’t too keen on as I’m sure there were a few small jellyfish in there in the darkness.  The visibility there wasn’t too good either, we saw a few fish but as we had done Tour B and C already and had seen some amazing things we were a little underwhelmed.

Next we went to ‘Shimizu Beach’ for more snorkeling and lunch, the visibility was much better and we saw Nemo’s really close to the beach.  Swimming out a little further the fish were much bigger and as soon as I caught sight of a rather large puffer fish heading in my direction I ‘doggy paddled’ as Andrew puts it at high speed (for me) back on to dry land.  We had a lovely lunch expertly made by the crew, barbequed on the beach, of fish, chicken, rice, salad, and fresh mango and pineapple.  Amazingly we had a downpour so sheltered under the only make shift umbrella until it passed and when Andrew and I took another dip the guys on the beach saw a large monitor lizard in the undergrowth which we missed as we were too engrossed in the underwater world - damn!

Our next port of call was the 'Secret Lagoon', there are so many secrets out here but absolutely everyone knows about them - weird!  We came ashore to a small beach and then we had to walk round a smaller cove in to neck height water and climb through a tiny hole in to the lagoon.  The Captain took most of the cameras off us to carry himself - Andrew asked him how much his 'camera insurance' cost him per annum, he laughed a bit and lifted them more aloft - I have never seen anyone able to carry three cameras in one hand before, it really is a special gift especially when up to your eyes in choppy waters.

Steve had kept hold of his camera, for some reason, and in true English gent style had kept this Panama hat on too.  He ended up being the first to attempt'the hole' and unfortunately for him at the very moment that he went to climb through, a big swell forced him in to the side of the rocks - we were all stood behind him waiting in line and winced at the thought that he might have really hurt himself as the limestone can be really sharp but he managed to grapple himself through with only a splashed camera and a slightly crushed and wet hat.

The lagoon was quite busy, hence my enquiry at the name, full of people in life jackets, in hindsight a good idea, we had a bit of a swim and took some photos and made it back, this time incident free to the boat.  Steve still appeared a little shaken, and rightly so, so I had to laugh when we arrived at the next snorkeling site and Andrew said he was going to jump in, I said I was going to take the steps.  Steve agreed that he would take the 'wimps route'.  "No offence" he said quickly in my direction to which I replied "none taken Steve, I know what I am!"

The water was really clear and it was very deep with a shelf that just fell away in to an abyss.  The sheer size of the fish there was incredible.  I saw the largest tropical fish that I have ever seen eating off the bottom, it had to have been at least 60cm long and maybe just shorter in depth.  I was just thankful that it was so far down.  Amazingly a minute later I saw a huge turtle deep in the abyss - truly spectacular.  I climbed back on the boat totally overwhelmed.

Our last stop of the day was 7 Commando beach which Andrew was thrilled about when he found out that it had a beach bar.  We all had a couple of beers and propped up the bar for a while watching boats come and go.  Back at the beach we said our goodbyes and arranged, at Julians suggestion, to meet up for happy hour later.  So we had a quick shower at the hut and I cleaned my ears with a cotton bud and managed to make myself deaf in one ear, great.  We joined Elie and Julian at the Artcafe for 30 Piso beers.  After having a 'too well informed' conversation on the baot with Elie earlier about Malaria tablet types and their side effects I guessed that he must be a doctor or pharmacist or something medical.  So when I quizzed him over a beer and he admitted to being a final year medical student we all seized the opportunity to get him to check our moles etc, Andrew just stopped short of dropping his shorts to check on his 'crabs on the beach' situation.

We also got chatting about our onward journeys and Elie discovered that the flight that he had booked from 'Roxas' to Busuanga wasn't actually departing from the Roxas on Palawn but another island in the Visayas.  I spent 45 minutes on the phone for him to 'Cebu Pacific' getting it rearranged.  After a few more beers we all moved on to a restaurant that Elie had been to with a live band and great atmosphere.  We ate dinner and got chatting to some locals who couldn't believe that I wasnt on Facebook - this in a town where there is electricity only some of the time, water only some of the time, regular 'brown outs' where there is no electricity at all and no ATM unless you travel 6 hours down the road - it would be quicker to fly to Manila for money be warned!  However they are still all on bloody Facebook!

Well we ended up getting smashed on Red Horse and Elie had to finally resort to the 'bellywash' see pic its not mine its the doctors!  We stumbled home after saying our goodbyes to Julian as he was going back home to Switzerland to do his annual National Service - apparently it is compulsory up to the age of 32, 3 weeks per year - bizarre for a 'Neutral' country.  We said to Elie we would see him around, well its inevitable in a place this size, another great day in El Nido.
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Jan on

Looks idyllic, hope you're still having a fab time, sorry still 3 months behind reading the blog!

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