Friday, November 6, 2015

Palawan (29.09.2015 - 08.10.2015)

A mini bus took us up north to El Nido. This (once) laid back village is the entrance to the limestone rocks out in the bay and home to dozens of dive shops. Booming but still small and nice enough we spent some pleasant 6 nights here. During the day we were busy out on or under the sea. Enjoying the amazing landscape (waterscape?) and underwater world. The reefs were still mostly intact and literally swarming with fish!

Our next destination was Coron, 200km north on the island of Busuanga. There is also an island called Coron (right next to it), but the town city is on the other one, don’t know why…

Anyway, after reading some horrible stories on TripAdvisor and hearing first hand from my brother about the crossing from El Nido to Coron we were looking for a more respectable way to do this trip. The little boats need 10 hours and upwards for the crossing. Depending on the motor, weather and if the hull doesn’t leak (too much)… o_O

A bit of googling later I stumbled upon Tao which does the trip stretched over 5 day island by hopping from island to island instead!
Luckily they had a boat going north right when we needed it and I immediately applied for it. Yes there is no direct booking, they want to make sure everybody knows what they are getting into. This is not a cruise ship and accommodation is rather basic. So to avoid any negative reviews in hindsight they discourage anybody which is looking for luxuries like air conditioning and power outlets ;) 

But the following days passed like in a blur! 

Great breakfast was followed by some snorkelling by a deserted island - then some killer snacks - some more snorkelling - a bit of lounging in the shadows - stare out on the sea - have an awesome lunch - more snorkelling - do some reading, more snorkelling - have a nap - get a beer - arrive at the basecamp for the night - get set up - have an outdoor shower - get a pineapple rum drink - eat a killer dinner - have some more drinks by the beach fire and go to sleep in the little huts!

Sadly the time passed way to fast. Coron already in view we stopped a last time for a swim in the Barracuda lake on Coron island. This closed off craters upper layers are fresh water and below it is salty. You can’t imagine how hard it is to swim in fresh water after spending days in the ocean!
So it was time to say goodbye to the crew and head into Coron were we spent another 5 nights. 
Close by a Japanese WW2 support fleet, tasked to build airstrips and so forth, was sunk. In a single day two america aircraft carrier destroyed the whole fleet, resulting in a dozen wrecks scattered in the area. This makes Coron the world capital in wreck diving, wohoo! 

As Melanie isn’t into bad visibility, deep and wreck dives ^^ I had to go alone but it was totally worth it! Most of the wrecks were in quite good condition, considering they are now over 70 years old… All in all I visited six of the twelve wrecks, super dives!

Again time was running out and we flew further up north to Manila. We spent a single night in the old walled city, called Entremuros, literally "behind walls”. It was weird to see the same architecture as in our trip through latin america. Also funny is how still many filipino words have their roots in the Spanish language. For example counting is done in spanish (now slowly getting replaced by english) and there are many Spanish words still in use like abuelo (grandfather), etc

Next stop Hong Kong!