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Published: July 13th 2019
Us inside the tricycle
Not much room to for a family of 5 ..
Up earlish for our island hopping tour, we had picked Tour A. We were told pick up would be between 8 and 9 so we went down for breakfast early. We weren't picked up until after 9.30 and were getting worried that they had forgotten us. We went by tricycle, which is a motorbike with a sidecar extension that could fit families, although not sure how, it fit us sitting opposite each other comfortably but i had seen a family of 5 in it plus the driver. It will cost you in El Nido 150 pesos ($4.20AUD) Many of the streets in El Nido are narrow and vans could not fit down them, pot holes were everywhere so the ride was bumpy. We passed lots of small stores, there seemed to be a store for everything, one for meat, one for junk food, one for wire.. and they were presented in little shanties, often falling apart. The owners lived behind, often in dwellings that were either huts or made from corrugated iron or a combination of both. I noticed each one did have a satellite dish and each shop had a TV and as life seemed not so
busy, at least during this time of the year, families and friends gathered around the TV to watch shows waiting for customers. Or, as is the way of the world, they were on their mobile phones. Children as young as 3 walked around with other children and dogs that seemed to not have owners but were fed well enough slept right next to the noisy tricycles and scooters going by. The place had cigarette butts littered everywhere and although there wasn't plastic bags or things like that lying around, the places looked dirty, broken fixings everywhere set in piles with other broken things. A few small 'rivers' of black, putrid water flowed through and although El Nido prided itself on how clean it was, it had its hidden ugly secrets.
Little motorized boats with catamaran type fixtures on the sides, that fit around 20 or so people were dotted around the water. Against the backdrop of islands and flat water, it did look like something from a movie, sureal in its imagery.
Our tour guide was friendly and funny, making bad jokes along the way. We arrived in twenty minutes to our first destination; 7 commando beach. It
One of the 3000 plus islands..
Passed by so many of these. Look how flat the water is.
was quite busy with several boats and around 200 people, I was expecting that but thought that it wouldn't be so crowded.
This was the least island I wanted to see out of the 5, so l was glad it was our first stop. Still, the water was a beautiful turquoise and warm and felt like a tepid bath. The sand, however, was finely ground coral, it wasn't soft and you really need reef shoes. No one had flippers, well, except me, I had my mermaid tail. So many people said 'oh sirena, oh mermaid'.
Kym and I do love snorkelling, we have snorkelled a number of tropical locations and as much as we enjoy looking at the fish, for the most part, they are the same in each location. So many varieties, so much colour and so beautiful that I really don't mind seeing them again. Each time I snorkel I think to myself that I need some sort of laminated card and waterproof pen to play marine life bingo... I did see a sea snake, small, striped in a beautiful orangey red, white and black, poisonous and shy, Kym had the camera so I didn't get
Lunch is served
Marinated BBQ squid and octopus, chicken, rice, fish and fresh fruit
any footage but I was super excited anyway to see it.
There was a swing on the beach and we thought it would be funny if I did it in my mermaid tail. It drew a bit of attention with lots of people laughing and I got a good core workout keeping myself kinda horizontal. Kym had a go too, swinging almost to the shore of the ocean with palm trees right behind us.
Our next stop was The Big Lagoon. This was the highlight of this trip. You had to rent kayaks (250 peso for a 2 seater - $7) and off you kayaked down to a wide blue lagoon, surrounded by steep limestone rocks, the greenest folliage against the sound of birds and water gently trickling diem from the top of the momentous rock formations. Heavenly. It rained the whole time we were there, it was a warm rain and it felt nice on our skin. The deepest part of the lagoon was over 30 metres and there was a little hidden cove with a cave tunnel you could kayak through.
We beached our kayak on a small sand bar in one of the places
Picture perfect water
How stunningly beautiful does it look
where it was shallow and swam. Thinking about the beauty of the place has my eyes misting as it was so serene, so tranquil and natures beauty was on full display. The rain stopped right as we left.
Back on the boat to another island for a bbq lunch. Marinated bbq squid and octopus, chicken and 2 types of fish (including a unicorn fish.. sorry fishies), rice (every dish has to have rice) and freshly cut pineapple and bananas made up a rather yummy lunch (we may have gone back for seconds).
We bought a fresh young large coconut to drink in the island, well, because you have to. We took a few photos but didn't really explore the island before we were back on the boat and off to another destination. Each place we spent around 40 to 50 minutes at. This time we anchored off the island and this was the main snorkeling spot. It also had the clearest, most picture perfect water I have ever seen. It was that light cerealean turquoise green that you see on tv shows and posters and we were right in it. Fish everywhere, schools of tiny fish that were
Light vs dark.
curious or scared. I don't know if they wanted to know what I was, with my silver shimmery mermaid tail but many approached me as I floated above them, trying not to move or scattered when I dived down to look closer to the ocean floor. I got to see a sea cucumber up close, he was huge and beautiful. A sea turtle was deep in the waters below us, too far down to get close too, although Kym tried to film it.
I could have stayed there all day. Once I was back in the boat I felt tired, I think all of my travelling companions were and we had one more stop to go.
This one was called secret lagoon. You needed reef shoes for this as you waded through shallow water to a small hole in the rocks and climbed through (I hit my head) into a small, hidden lagoon. It wasn't deep, you could stand up pretty much everywhere. Looking up, you were surrounded by vertical rock faces that seemed to stretch to the very top of the sky and here we were, floating in a green lagoon, small against the towering landscape that
encompassed you on each side. It was a mindful moment in time.
My tour companions decided that they all wanted a picture with me as a mermaid, so I posed for a number of pics with them. Once we were out of the lagoon, we wandered over to a beach and I let a few of them try on my tail. They loved taking pictures of themselves in it. I explored the shallow reef a little longer and found Nemo and Marlin together, in an anemone!!
Our 40 minute boat ride back had most people sleeping, I drank in the view of mini islands dotting the ocean.
Kym and I decided not to take a tricycle back to the hotel, it was an 18 minute walk and we wanted to see the little shops and culture of the place.
A quick shower each to get rid of all the sand and sea water and we took a tricylce to Vanilla Beach to enjoy a cocktail watching the sunset. Choosing a lychee margarita followed by a Captain Morgan rum we watched the sunset from a beach bar. The horizon had a large island off in the distance and storm clouds but where there were small breaks in the sky the last of the sun's rays jutted out in a spectacular display of colour that went from light orange to blood red as the sun melted down. It looked strange that the storm clouds on one side were so packed in that no light came through and that part of the ocean was dark and just like a bold line had been drawn, the other half was orange. This all made for some dramatically beautiful and a few unique photos.
Dinner of bbq pork belly and a tricylce back to to the hotel, a couple of beers sitting outside while the warm rain came down heavily made for a perfect end to the evening.
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