Who wants to swim with a shimmering swirling cyclone of silvery sardines? You do! Awesome. Pack your bag and head for Moalboal on Cebu Island, Philippines. This is one wildlife encounter that is straight out of Discovery Channel’s Blue Planet. It is exhilarating and frankly unmissable if you are in the area.
Why were we there?
Laura had set me a few swimming challenges in preparation for doing a PADI Open Water course. I needed a big distraction to take my mind off challenge number two. And, a million metallic minnows seemed to fit the bill.
Paul’s Swimming Challenge #2
I sailed through part one with ease. I swam with turtles on Apo Island. We snorkeled with several of these gorgeous beasties for hours but they were easily within my shallow water swimming comfort zone. Part two would be psychologically more challenging. I had to swim over a deep dropoff. I would be staring down into the terrifying deep blue Abyss, which I had singularly refused to do on my last opportunity on Pulau Hatta in the Banda Islands. There was a dark blue line drawn in the sand (well, ocean) and I could not cross it!
If you have never seen a huge sea turtle, you should head to Apo Island in Southern Philippines. Unlike monuments or mountains, wildlife encounters do not come with guarantees. Weirdly, the Philippines turns this notion on its head. Apo Island, a speck in the Visayas just south of Dumaguete, was the first of several marine life areas in the Philippines that came up with the goods!
Laura throws down a challenge: see a turtle
Laura challenged me to push on with my swimming and snorkeling skills. I had to see turtles, swim over a drop-off, and see some big pelagic fish. We had a bet and this was one I really wanted to win.
The Philippines is a huge country of 7000 islands, but we only had three weeks to travel there. It took us ages to sort out an itinerary and we wanted it to be all killer and no filler. We knew that the Ifugao Rice Terraces would be a guaranteed hit, but where should we go for the best underwater action? It would be a bummer to travel for a couple of days and find out that the resident Horny Spotted Dork Rays had moved on for … Read more
It takes a while to hit your travel groove even if you have done this many times before and are on the road with a well-travelled missus. Traveling asks different questions of any relationship as normal routines are cast aside and replaced by much more uncertainty than at home. I reckon it took Laura and me a good four months before we hit our travel stride. Now, eight months in, we intuitively know what works for us and what doesn’t. We know the hotels that work, the food we want, the pace that suits us best, and the type of experiences that excite us most. Certainly, what excites us most has surprised us a lot. For sure, we never thought we would spend much time at the beach and in the water. But, that is the point of travel- to try something new.
Oddly, I reckon the worst people to travel with are people who are already on a long trip. We are very settled on a particular way of traveling and that may not jive with the needs and desires of others. Occasionally, we have hooked up with people heading in the same direction for companionship (Everest trek) and … Read more