Zip-lines and Marine Biology

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November 27th 2009
Published: January 2nd 2010
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There are a multitude of activities to do on base in Subic Bay, it's a good thing, else I might have succumbed to the disturbing activities off base... NO! Not those that I've discussed previously, I'm talking about spending way too much money on massages everyday. That's the only other productive, though still possibly shady, activity that I will participate in off the base. There's a yacht club, zoo, marine world, a few nice restaurants and a cute little beachfront area.

While Jeremy was still around, we decided to check out the Zip-line company. I invited Steve along, one of the watchstanders who is also an Army National Guard Major. He's the SAR swimmer who filled Kyle's SAR spot on the ship. He's a great guy, with a quick wit and just enough country to remind me of home. He rides his bike everywhere and doesn't hang out with too many folks on board. I understand how he feels, I have to be very particular with who I hang out with too. We call up my taxi friend and off we go to our "eco-adventure". I had pretty high expectations, I've heard of flying through the
Shoo fly!Shoo fly!Shoo fly!

Don't bother me.
canopies in Costa Rica and other jungle/rainforest areas. I probably shouldn't have expected too much with Subic though. Don't get me wrong, it was a lot of fun, but it didn't have the athletic requirements that I had envisioned. All the zip lines were mechanized and had little bucket chairs for the transit. It took us about an hour to get through the whole trek, but I had been looking forward to testing gravity. Oh well, I got to take some funny pictures at least.

At the very end of our journey, we agreed to try the fast line, a round trip speeding line where you travel backwards first and then speed back to your original departure spot. This one I hoped would get my blood pumping a little more. I suppose it did, just not for the reasons I had in my initial suppositions. Climb up, sit on a monkey bar looking contraption and lie on your stomach. ??? Yeah, if I can get this video to upload on this blog, you'll hear me talk about my blah-ness of being on my stomach on monkey bars. Even more fun was watching Steve clamber up to do the same. "Okay, I did it. I won't have to ever do that again." Steve checked zip lines off of his to-do list, but mine is still blank... I'm going to require a gravity zip line trip first.

Jeremy eventually left Subic Bay and I still had about a week left before our departure. What in the world was I going to do? My boss was gone, so I was the acting OIC, but we weren't very busy and I tried to maximize liberty for the guys. Between Pacific Partnership and the Indonesian Humanitarian mission, it had been a long time since they had any downtime. I tried to make sure we were done by lunch or early afternoon at the latest.

In an effort to have the guys not go to the bars too much, I talked about going to swim with the dolphins at Marine World there on the base. I invited the guys to come along with me and Steve. In countries where the poverty level is more expansive than the U.S., it seems that tourist activities can be a bit more hands on and exciting. Case in point, remember the giant tiger sitting in my lap? That cost me like $10, I guess it's an offset for the possibility of my face being ripped off, but still an incredible experience. One I would never get to experience in the United States, too much worry of suing. For the equivalent of $50, I could swim with a few of the 5 or 6 dolphins in their miniature version of Sea World. I've always wanted to swim with these sleek mammals, but never wanted to pay the $200 fee that Disney or other marine parks charge.

We pick a time, get our bathing suits on, call my taxi friend (the two brothers who own the taxi are Gilberto and Arnold, by the way) and off we go! Oh no! We forgot to call ahead and ask if it was available. Normally, there would be no problem, as not many in Subic Bay would pay $50 for any one activity. Unfortunately for us, it is apparently field trip season and the place is swamped with more kids and chaperones than any fire marshall would allow. Oh, and the area that you swim in is the same spot where they hold the dolphin show. Arghhh! No swimming with dolphins this time, I've been foiled again! Instead, we make the most of it. Steve and I stay to look around Marine World and Gilberto picks up the rest of my guys (LSSA, OS3 and OS2) to visit Zoobic, they had not gone there yet and had been interested after seeing my tiger photo. Maybe I shouldn't have encouraged them, but it was better than the bar visit, right?

Steve is entertaining, as I said... so as we walked around, he was prepared to bribe the trainers to give us our desired swim. What is he doing?!? I'm a bit mortified, but hang out in the background, hoping it may come to fruition. Access denied... but we did get a front line seat to the dolphin show because of him. We watch the sea lion show (in the front row no less) and walk through the tiny aquarium, not to be complete without a few dead fish. Well, it was a way to spend the afternoon I suppose. We go pack to pick the boys up from the zoo and they've had a fantastic time with the tigers. We go back to the ship in our taxi as they regale us with their tales of danger and the too-close to getting sprayed on encounter with one of the territorial cats. Definitely better than the alternative activities. How many more days am I here? I have a feeling I will be at the free wi-fi spots a lot.

Additional photos below
Photos: 15, Displayed: 15


I'm Next!I'm Next!
I'm Next!

Steve's turn on the monkey bars for his speedy zip adventure.
This Looks SuperfunThis Looks Superfun
This Looks Superfun

This is a false killer whale here, the largest member of the dolphin family.
This is a SmileThis is a Smile
This is a Smile

Cute and smelly.

20th February 2010

Long Ago
Krysten: Your blog is interesting and somewhat amazing to me: I was there in the mid 60s and it was very much different than your blog details. Are you on a ship when you visit? I kinda get that from your blog. I live in Coalfield, TN and a friend and I just finished a trip back to Southeast Asia, but we did not get back to Subic. That was our homeport while in the area during the 60s. Love to see more phots of the areas where the base was long ago. Thanks! Jim Rivers
26th February 2010

60s to 2000
Jim, Yes, definitely a difference from when you were there. I was on a Civilian Naval Support Ship when I visited and many of my crewmates had been stationed there back in the day as well. It's degraded significantly since the outflux of American moolah, though they're trying to build it back up (hard with corruption rampant though). Take care!

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