Island Time

Trip Start May 11, 2006
Trip End May 05, 2006

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Flag of Philippines  ,
Friday, May 26, 2006

The last few days have been an absolute dream world for me. After leaving Manila 2 days ago and taking an hour plane ride to Dumaguete, we piled 1 driver, 12 people, 2 bags each into 1 mini-van and drove to a beach only lit by the moonlight. Then we hopped on a small boat and rode to Apo Island. It was a short ride in the dark, but I was in heaven. After growing up around boats and spending time on the water throughout college and my study abroads, I was just so happy to be back on the water. We checked into a hut like hotel where the electricity goes out at 10PM, the toilets are just a white ceramic bowl without seats or a tank, and you only shower via bucket... or the ocean. I had a delicious dinner and basically headed to bed after a long day of traveling. Yesterday morning we had our first dive at 8AM. Only Jenna, Reggie, Julianne and I are certified divers. The first dive was easy and on a reef so close to the shore I felt I could easily swim to it. It was a very nice warm-up dive since none of us has dived too recently. After the dive we had lunch, teriyaki fish and rice... SO GOOD! Jenna and I laid on the beach for about 30 minutes only to find ourselves completely sunburned! At 2PM we headed out for another dive. This time it was a drift dive. We got into the water and immediately submerged because of how strong the current was. This dive was QUITE overwhelming for me. I couldnt seem to catch my breath and even when we stopped at a sandy place we were all clawing into the sand to keep from getting pulled away by the current. The size of the fish and diversity of the coral was AMAZING! This is the best diving I have ever done! I am very excited to see what Malapascua and Boracay have to offer. The drift dive began at the north east side of Apo Island and we got out at the southeast side... granted the island is not very big... maybe 15 minutes all the way around by a boat that has the motor of a rowboat. I had never done a drift dive before and was just shocked by the fact that I had little to no control of where the current was taking me. It was quite fun after I got my heart to beat a little slower. After the dive we took a short rest and Reggie and I got ready for our night dive. This dive was from the shore and was so exciting! We saw bloodworms, lion fish, bioluminescense of all types, eels and other nocturnal creatures. After the dive, I enjoyed another plate of teriyaki fish and rice, but was almost too tired to finish it. After dinner we had a few drinks to cool off from the heat and played a few rounds of cards. Lights went out at 10PM and so did I. The rooms were so hot, however, that it is difficult to sleep through the night or sleep past 5:30AM. This morning Jenna, Reggie and I headed out for our final dive at Apo Island. We went to the marine reserve where I conducted my first transect. I was able to rope a few people into helping me out, so it saved a lot of time for me to have Reggie, Jenna and the mayor, Mario, underwater assisting with my materials. Oddly, this dive was not as nice as the drift dive or the first dive at Chapel site. The corals were quite heavy, large and diverse. There was 1 area of badly bleached coral from the 1998 El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) event. We also saw an area of blast/dynamite fishing the was done 30 years ago and there are still no corals growing. After the dive, we took a group hike around the island and had lunch when we got back. We frantically packed up and headed back to Dumaguete, which is where we are now. I was ready to stay in Apo and never leave this paradise, but I know that I would miss the people I care about at home too much to just stay today. We are currently waiting 5 hours to get onto an overnight ferry to Cebu, where we will go to Malapascua for more diving and then to Boracay for 3 nights before heading back to Manila and then HOME! I cant believe how fast the time has flown... I will be really sad to leave and say goodbye to these 11 people that I have grown so close to.

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