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Published: August 13th 2017
This morning I am on the other side of Sogod Bay waiting excitedly for an actual 'real' coffee. CCC have come on holiday- ie we crossed the bay to try out a night dive site. Unfortunately I have managed to pick up a cold from somewhere despite the 34c heat, so have been out of the water for a few days, missing not only the first day of surveying but also an incredible sounding recreational dive on the south wall and the pier night dive that everyone went on last night. Luckily we had a night dive earlier in the week so I got to have this amazing new experience- diving in the dark is totally different, a strangely peaceful experience in which I got to see the parrotfish tucked away into their nighttime cocoons (they make themselves little nests of mucus to keep them safe as they sleep which looks a lot cuter than it sounds) and the same big hawksbill turtle I had spotted eating coral earlier in the day as I had laid out a practice transect line, this time sleeping under a rocky overhang. At night, all the nocturnal creatures come out (obviously) so I saw all
the coral opening up and, most excitingly, a tiny little night octopus scampering along the sandy floor.
Anyway, pausing only now to smugly mention that my coffee has arrived and that I am now staring at it with an enthusiasm which is no doubt causing disconsternation amongst the restaurant staff, I will return to the tale of the CCC trip to Padre Burgos. So yesterday we completed our first aid training (part of the expedition training, not because we were about to embark upon an especially hazardous holiday), locked up the base and swam out to the boat that had come to collect us. I have never before set off for a trip by beginning with a swim which I realise now is a massive shortfalling in my previous travels. The boat whisked us across the bay and we checked into our rooms for the night, gleefully running about and remarking loudly about how the toilet actually has a flush button, the sinks have working taps and the bedsheets fit onto the bed, and then everyone remembered that there was also a night dive happening and that they should probably be getting excited about that instead.
and sneezy, I had to stay behind while the others went off to play so I had a couple of quiet hours reading my book and busied myself with testing out the San Miguels from the minibar to make sure they were the same quality as found in Napantao (they were). The others soon returned, buzzing with excitement and full of stories of the seahorses, stargazers, and eels which lived amongst the discarded tyres and other junk found beneath the pier. It sounds like a really interesting dive- a strange combination of wonderful wildlife with the worst kinds of human impact.
That evening, Nat and Felipe did their snorkel test to celebrate completing their dive master qualifications. Nathan enjoyed his so much that he repeated it twice more, and then the rest of us helped out with polishing off the rest of the rum which Lisa had bought. We ended up back at the apartment which four members of staff were sharing, playing pool (extremely badly) and playing gecko-themed drinking games.
This morning, I woke up early enough to see the amazing sunrise. We are across the bay from CCC base so over here it is the mornings
which have the incredible sky.
After finishing the aforementioned coffee, and then another, plus a fruit salad and plate of waffles thrown in for good measure, I was feeling nicely re-energised but then had to sit quietly again for a couple of hours while everyone else resurfaced and had breakfast. Eventually everyone was looking and feeling slightly more alive (with a few exceptions...) and Debbie, Charlotte, Javi and I decided to walk into town to buy some snacks to take back to base. We soon decided that it was too hot and that town was too far so, as soon as I commented that I had never actually ridden in a tricycle despite having been in the Philippines for a month, Debbie managed to flag one down and we were off! It wasn't quite like the hair-rising tuktuk rides I had experienced in Bangkok, mainly because there was no other traffic, but I was totally fine with that and the breeze was very nice. After arriving in PB, we had soon bought all there was to be bought (ie I had filled my backpack with mangoes and was now wondering if it was too soon to start eating them) and we started to head back, only to get distracted by the pier that the others had been diving beneath the night before. Despite the fact that it had seemed full of litter and quite dirty last night, today the water was clean and an incredible turquoise colour. A group of boys were jumping off the pier and splashing into the water below, and it didn't take much hesitation from us, who were now really feeling the heat of a typical Philippines mid-morning, before we ditched our backpacks and followed suit. I got half the ocean up my nose but it was totally worth it, and we bobbed about in the water for a while whilst Javi challenged the boys to diving competitions.
We soon had to leave our new friends however as we had a midday check out time so we reluctantly climbed out of the water and hopped into another tricycle. Luckily we were soon back in the water, once the hotel formalities had been taken care off, and we had a nice long snorkel around the soft corals of the bay next to the resort before swimming back to the boat and returning to base.
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