A REAL VACATION - Philippines


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October 21st 2017
Published: December 10th 2017
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WHITE BEACH WHITE BEACH WHITE BEACH

Not the Puerto Galera I remember...but very nice.
THE SOUTH PACIFIC ONE

Puerto Galera, Philippines

As October approached I began planning this season’s adventure. In March I agreed to go Puerto Galera, Philippines on October 21st with Sarina, from my dive club - The Emerald Sea. She booked us an all-inclusive five day dive package at a great price. I began my dive travels five years ago in Puerto Galera and I enjoyed it so much that I thought I should return. The question was “Where did I want to go after that week?”

My planning was complicated by a worsening pain in a tooth. I had a root canal that never really healed. I saw the dentist every week or two for several months and even with x-rays he could find nothing wrong. I was concerned about booking an expensive trip and finding myself in a distance dive destination with complications from this tooth. Finally, just a week before leaving for the Philippines my dentist discovered an immense crack running the length of the root. He suggested I just carry pain medication and have it extracted when I returned. I called my dive insurance company, DAN (Divers Alert Network). DAN also assesses dive medical situations
MARCO VINCENT HOTELMARCO VINCENT HOTELMARCO VINCENT HOTEL

Relaxing dive trip; beautiful hotel and pool, great food and tours.
and will answer questions about dive safety.

DAN told me definitely do not dive again with this crack, since the pressure could cause the tooth to explode underwater. Not a good scenario at all. I called my dentist and explained the situation and he scheduled an extraction the next day. DAN also told me I needed to refrain from diving for a week or two. This caused me to weigh my options. Should I cancel the trip and reschedule, or go and recuperate in a warm, tropical climate, even though I would not be able to dive. In Monroe we were experiencing some unusually cold, wet weatherHHHmmwiw, and I was tired of the indecision, so I packed my bags and finalized my plans. From Puerto Galera I will travel to Anilao, Philippines. I also plan to dive Palau, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Vanauatu.

On the night we left, as I transferred my bag to Sarina’s car, the handle of my suitcase snapped. When I checked my bag at the airport, I taped the handle down with wrapping tape and crossed my fingers.

It was a long flight with transfers and lay-overs. When I claimed
Business Class Dive BoatBusiness Class Dive BoatBusiness Class Dive Boat

Five years ago I did my diving from a 4 person motor boat. This is LUXURY.
my bag in Manila I discovered the handle of my suitcase hung out at a ninety degree angle, as it had before I taped it. The resort sent a van to pick us up for a two hour trip to the port where we transferred to a small outrigger for an hour boat ride. In … another van drove us to the resort. My jaw was still sore from the extraction and I was ready for some down time. When we arrived at the hotel I asked if someone could fix the handle on my suitcase. It didn’t really matter how it looked as long as it was strong enough to survive the airport baggage handlers. I unpacked and a member of the staff picked up the suitcase. It was out of my hands (and my sight).

Despite a very sore mouth, I had a pleasant stay in Puerto Galera. Oh, yes…this was not the Puerto Galera I knew. Five years ago my friend and I stayed in Sabang, Puerto Galera. This time our hotel was in White Beach, Puerto Galera…very different, indeed. The resort did everything for us. We had three delicious meals a day. A van was
WIDE AISLES WIDE AISLES WIDE AISLES

Spacious, and everything is under cover so it isn't necessary to use sunscreen which is damaging to the ecology.
always available to take us where we had to go.

The first day I went out on the boat with the rest of the divers. The boat was fabulous. It felt like a liveaboard. The bathroom was a gift…tiled and spotless, almost like a hotel bathroom. There was also tea and coffee and a cookie jar. There were wide aisles, a covered dive area, and an enclosed dining area with stainless steel covered serving trays. Our lunch rivaled that of the hotel.

Sarina’s ten year old daughter Bria is a newly certified diver and it was thrilling to watch her take a giant stride into the sea. It was at least eight feet from the deck of the boat to the water. She looked so small, but she was confident and capable. I wish I could have dived with her. New divers have such enthusiasm. When we weren’t on the boat, she was in the pool. I think she is part fish.

I went snorkeling with Sarina’s friend Steve. As soon as I got in the water I realized I could not swim under water. The pressure is the same for snorkelers as it is for divers
DINING ROOMDINING ROOMDINING ROOM

Beautiful wood, full lunch.
and the greatest difference in pressure occurs in the first eight feet. I couldn’t risk damaging the open wound from the extraction. It isn’t much fun to just float on the water looking down so I didn’t stay in the water long. When I got out I discovered the snorkel had snagged the stitches in my gum and pulled some of them loose. I rinsed my mouth with salt water, and later with hydrogen peroxide and prayed it would heal properly without the stitches. It was clear I would not be able to dive or snorkel in Puerta Galera. I was forced to take a real vacation in an all-inclusive resort...sit around the pool, eat, sleep in the sun. Or so I thought.

I looked forward to writing a few blogs, doing some reading, and just relaxing. Alas, that was not to be.


Additional photos below
Photos: 9, Displayed: 9


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SNORKELING REEFSNORKELING REEF
SNORKELING REEF

This is as close to the water as I got. I had to stay on the surface because of my dental extraction.
GRIMACEGRIMACE
GRIMACE

Like a fish out of water...I couldn't even snorkel till my mouth healed.
NEWEST DIVER - GIANT STRIDENEWEST DIVER - GIANT STRIDE
NEWEST DIVER - GIANT STRIDE

Just ten years old, she stepped off the boat and plunged into the water. She is limited to a depth of thirty feet and must dive with her mother for a couple of years. I was really impressed.
MOTHER AND DAUGHTERMOTHER AND DAUGHTER
MOTHER AND DAUGHTER

Mom now has two dive daughters.


12th December 2017
Business Class Dive Boat

Luxury dive boat
Nice one

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