**Sorry for the delay. My phone died during the trip, so I now have access to the photos I took with D’s phone.**
After tales of epic arm wrestling matches over breakfast we packed up and re-boarded the boat eager for some snorkeling and beach time. The water this morning was much calmer, which put everyone’s mind at ease.
We set out for two snorkeling destinations the islands of Tagling and Kala Kala. The reef near Tagling island the water was so clear and inviting. The sun peeking out from the clouds was added incentive to get in the water. Up to this point, I have only ever snorkeled twice in my life, so there was an adjustment period where I had to realize that you do not blow out through your nose. Once I figured out how to breathe, a whole world of fish were available to me. Not to be cheesy, but the first thing I said to D was, “I saw Dory!”. It was hard not to relate what I was seeing to the infamous Disney fish flick. When I said I saw blue tang some on the boat did not understand what I meant until I referenced Dory. Never did find Nemo, but there were many other colorful fish to see.
I felt like a nosey neighbor in some ways I watched the fish go about their daily lives. I saw the anemones and brightly colored corals and many different brightly colored fish. I do not have an underwater camera, but it is better that way. I was fully present on the reef and not busy trying to document everything, but rather trying not to make too much noise while I watched the different fish swim by. It was fun to see the fish swim by in schools or brush themselves in the anenomes.
Before we left Tagling, we had lunch on the island. There was a table and a small shelter on this small island. All of the food was cooked by Arianne our resident chef. All of the food was made on the boat. There was one propane burner and a charcoal grill at the end of the boat. When lunch was done, they kayaked it to shore and set up a delicious and amazing spread. The fresh grilled fish they caught off the boat while we were snorkeling. It cannot get more fresh than that!
Kala Kala island is rumored to have some of the clearest cleanest water in the world. Our guide said that scientists test the water off this reef every year and it is billed to be one of the cleanest and clearest in the world. On our journey to this island it started to cloud over and the surf picked up. I was tempted like others to stay on the boat, but I am in the Philippines on a remote island, so I forced myself into the water. Being a PNW native I found it continually surprising that the water was warm. Every time I jumped in the ocean I expected that stinging cold of the Pacific Ocean, but was pleasantly surprised that the water was warm.
The beach was beautiful. I am sad that neither of us took pictures. White sand, a private cove where the waves washed through peephole in the rock, a perfect place for a picnic. We walked down the beach without anyone else around. It was definitely what I had signed up for! That was the moment that I fully agreed that the Philippines has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
We got to our base camp right as the sun was starting to set and the water was calm and the base camp was a welcome sight. The rumor on the boat was that there was a shower at the base camp! After more than 24 hours coated in salt water we had developed a layer of salt on our skin, it was really interesting, but the thought of a shower was very exciting. It turned out to be a room with a plastic trash bins full of fresh water, but it did the job.
This base camp had little elevated huts. Inside our hut was a mattress underneath a mosquito net. It was a little harder than our tent on the soft sandy beach and quite a big step up from the ground, but there was less sand everywhere. D took a pre-dinner nap, while everyone else had rum-cola cocktail hour before dinner. After another delicious meal most of us went to bed “early” as a long day of snorkeling in the sun had most of us worn out.