Sunday, 18 October 2015

The Philippine Islands - Part III

El Nido was again rainy as in rain season. But this was also because it was not only rainy season but also typhoon season. We had a typhoon sweeping by over Manila towards Japan rippling some rainy effects upon us.

The view from Aquanaut and Camembert rocking the rain

We went out diving anyway, as underwater we would be wet anyhow. We took our rain ponchos for the trip, in order to be warm before, between and after the dives. Caribou chose not to come with us for the sightseeing tour as to stay on a boat in the rain for a whole day really didn't appeal to him.

Aquanaut dive crew

We had a great time diving to about 25 meters and coming up slowly with the reef to our 5 meters safety stop. Vanessa, our personal photographer for the trip was a great person to be diving with. She's got quite some energy and is always up for a laugh.

The islands are a stunning view. A little bit like I would expect Ha Long Bay in Vietnam to look, but smaller. The Bacuit islands are a protected marine area.

Bacuit Islands

Bacuit Islands

Not to mention, we ran into Amir and his new wife Shani again. We exchanged what we did the last few days and our plans for the trip ahead of us.

Ferry to Coron

After diving with Aquanauts, we spent a day on a transfer ferry to Coron. On the way we met Lisa, a French girl roaming the world. Lisa was a great addition to the group. As she stayed with us for a while in Coron, she and Caribou explored the land areas while Camembert and me explorer old shipwrecks from the second world war. Whose the crazy guys?

Fun & Sun Dive boat

Again, upon arrival in Coron, we looked up different dive shops. We visited every single one of them in the main road. From good to bad we had all kind of impressions. The almost last we visited we hadn't heard about in El Nido, but it ended up being the best. First of all because they have the biggest boat, and that's no small thing when you end up spending 10 hours a day for 3 days on a boat. But no, we actually chose them because the two dive instructors / operators Maxine and B were just great from the start. We hadn't stepped into the shop that we already had a good impression. They also had dive maps of the wrecks and quite new gear. The experience was great, although I ended up having to pour a bucket of ice on top of B. (oh no wait, it was the other way around, Maxine put ice into my wetsuit because I poured a bucket of ice on B. while she was changing in the open-air cabinet).


Cabinet

Our first dive was in the famous Barracuda Lake, a brackish water lake with temperatures up to 40 °C. It was quite an interesting experience. The view around the lake reminded me of the Tsingys of Bemaraha on the shore of the Tsiribihina river in Madagascar. But these "tsingys" had a direct contact with sea and the lake. To access the lake, we had to pack our diving gear on our backs and climb a few staircases steps up and down the other side. A small wooden platform had been built where we could kit up and go in.

Barracuda Lake entry (view of sea)

Barracuda Lake

Barracuda Lake

Barracuda Lake temperature (bottom left corner)

For 3 days we roamed the wrecks of the second world war. we had a blast discovering wreck diving. We started with big holes to swim through and ended up with holes barely big enough to go through (alright you can always take of the tank and push it forward and go through much smaller holes, but then we're not tec divers yet).

Me in jail

Camembert following us through the opening

Maxine, not smoking

In Coron we met with Shani and Amir again, and went for supper together. We planned to get wasted, but everyone was just exhausted.

On our last day in Coron, which was a little sad as we didn't go diving and it would be the end of our trip very soon, we didn't do much except sleep, read and eat. We were lucky because during our 3 days of diving it barely rained.

Scorpion fish