It's been a funny old year and after some thought Andrew and Emma are off to see the world before it's too late. I was going to say before we are too old but in Emma's case that would be harsh.
We are doing a short tour of the UK and then we fly out to Australia for 6 months or so on the 1st September. Our best friends moved there earlier this year and we are going to buy a campervan and see as much as we can with them.
We are then heading to south east asia for a similar time and then on to India before returning to the UK for Xmas 2011.
Well that is the rough plan but no doubt things will change as we go along.
We will try and update this as much as we can.
June 9th 2011
We were unable to make it to Malapascua in one day so we caught the bus to Escalante where we found a quiet hotel to spend the night. There wasn’t much around and the thunder was pretty loud. Everywhere we went we were met by people saying “big rain, big rain” and we took this as a sign to retreat to our room - we made it back just in time before the BIG rain! In the morning we headed to the port. Looking at the ferry it didn’t fill me with much confidence, but unless we fancied a dip we didn’t have much choice. We found some free seats with a good view from the ferry. There weren’t many empty seats and we wondered why the best seats on the ferry were still available; we ... read more
May 19th 2011
The time came for us to finally leave Max and his lovely family. Max kindly dropped us off at the bus station where there was already a bus waiting to take us to our next destination. The bus didn’t have air con, but it had lots of open windows to let the breeze through. As we were pulling away from the station I noticed our bags were still laying on the ground. I had to stick my head out of the window and shout at the top of my voice before someone realised and stopped the bus to put them in the luggage compartment. It seems that leaving your luggage with the person in charge of loading the luggage was not good enough - we would have to be more careful in future. After a while ... read more
May 13th 2011
We bumped into Aylssa when we were checking out and found out that not only were we on the same flight to Cebu, but we were all planning on catching the same ferry to Dumagette. It always handy to meet fellow travellers heading in the same direction, not only do you get to make new friends, but it helps with the cost of taxis. Check in took ages. This was mostly due to the people in front of us in the queue. Instead of having the normal one piece of check in luggage everyone had separated their stuff into dozens of bags and taped up cardboard boxes. Each item had to be weighed separately and when some people were asked to pay excess baggage they looked totally surprised as if they had no idea that 40kg ... read more
May 10th 2011
The conditions finally changed and we managed to get on the boat to El Nido. We were all asked to put on out life jackets - now I know you are probably surprised at the level of health and safety, but it turned out to all be for show. Once the coast guard had completed his inspection and left we were told we could remove them. The boat was nothing special, just a banka with a bench either side. In fact we wondered how a boat this small would handle an 8 hour journey. All we knew was that we had a long and potentially choppy day ahead of us. I decided the best thing to pass the time would be to try and get some sleep, but my efforts were often interrupted by the two ... read more
May 4th 2011
Before going to the airport we got the taxi driver to take us to the cash point. All the guide books warned us that there are no cash points in Coron so we would need to take enough cash to see us through. The cash point had other ideas though. After requesting money a few times it kindly informed us that my account was now blocked and that I should contact my bank – this was going to be a costly withdrawal. On the way to the airport I called the bank. It was 4am at home so I was more than surprised to get through to a very cheerful lady who could lift the block straight away – now all we needed was for there to be a cash point at the airport. Luckily there ... read more
May 1st 2011
Our escape from Manilla was a trip to Taal volcano for a few days. We had spent ages trying to contact hotels, but none of them had bothered to get back to us. People told us that it's a popular destination for both locals and tourists, therefore it was advisable to book in advance, but we decided to take a chance and get the bus anyway. We left most of our things in a locker at the hotel and packed a small bag each to take with us – it was so nice to be travelling light for once. We boarded the bus and paid our 85peso (£1.20) for the 2 hour journey. Where could you get to on a bus in the UK for £1.20!? The bus soon filled up with passengers, packages and food ... read more
April 27th 2011
After some more napping on the plane we were pleased to be touching down in the Philippines. We had been told that we would be able to extend our visas at the airport, but no matter how nicely we asked, the man at passport control wasn’t very forthcoming. He stamped our passports with a 21 day visa and told us we would have to get it done elsewhere. Enquiring at the ticket office the lady told us that if we wanted to catch a bus we would have to run for it. We couldn't catch a bus without money to pay so we had to find a cash point. We kept trying the cash point, but it didn't want to give us any money. The ticket lady wasn’t helping matters by standing over us tapping her ... read more
April 26th 2011
We had a long journey ahead of us and it started with a rather dodgy taxi ride. After a phone call to find out why our taxi was 30 minutes late a rather beaten up old banger turned down the drive and flashed its lights at us. We loaded our bags and waved goodbye to the hotel staff through the tinted window film which was pealing off and flaking away. Our driver whisked us through the streets of Kata and pulled over outside an office. For some reason we had to swap drivers – it was a shame that we didn’t swap cars too. The poor clutch didn't stand a chance. The noises and smells were definitely not healthy, in fact I’m sure that on more that one occasion he managed to have his feet on ... read more
April 18th 2011
After a day off to recover I went back to complete my open water course. After some more book work and a test – which I passed of course – it was time for the last two dives of the course. This time instead of diving from the beach we took a long tail boat to Karon rock. At a maximum depth of 18 metres, this was the deepest I had been so far and the deepest I could go on an open water certificate. After a spot of lunch it was back on the boat for the last dive at Kho Pu where we saw False Clown Anemone fish (nemo), Barracuda and a painted spiny Lobster. I was now an Open Water diver. It wasn't a tough decision to continue onto the Advanced course. Not ... read more
April 7th 2011
In the morning we met Kev at the dive club. As we sat in the sun and Andy and Kev swapped stories of what they had been up to in the 10 years since Andy was last there. Simon, who taught Andy to dive turned up a while later and took us to find a hotel. We were expecting our time in Phuket to be quite expensive. We knew food and drink would cost more, there wasn’t much we could do about that. The whole reason we had come to Phuket was for diving so we weren’t going to miss out on that. The only thing we could save money on was the accommodation. We are always on the hunt for bargain accommodation - we hardly spend any time in our room so there is no ... read more