Saturday, 9 February 2013

Nemo land, ehh, or sea...

We are having a great time with Sheralee and are loving Philippines so far. Sheralee arrived in Surigao Tuesday and we left there early Wednesday and had a super nice sail to Panoan Island, south of Leyte, we anchored off Pintuyan village. It was a surprising clean and nice village, it seemed they had some campaign going to keep it tidy and it looked like it was working. The most amazing is all the orchids just growing in people's front yards and trees!

Next morning we weighed anchor and sailed to Limasawa which is a tiny island also south of Leyte, but much smaller than Panoan. Both islands were literally covered with coconut palms, we have never seen so many trees in one place! The shores of the villages are packed full of the out-rigger boats in all sizes, but mostly small ones for rowing. A lot of them go fishing at around sunset.

At Limasawa we were anchored off Triana on the east coast. We had a really good snorkel around the point off beautiful lime rock formation and palm trees, beautiful both above and below the water. The visibility was excellent and there were HEAPS of clown fish all over the place, Nemos is all kinds of sizes and colours! Some were almost nude coloured, very pale light orange, other were almost dark red! We didn't see any big fish (must be fished out), but still lots of smaller ones and pretty cool coral and rock landscape.

Later in the afternoon we went ashore to find the place where the Spanish first celebrated mass in Philippines in 1521 and thereby starting the Christianisation of the country. The occasional was marked with  a cross atop a hill, although apparently Magellan didn't even go up the hill, but just watched it. Again the little town was very tidy and pretty and of course everyone smiles at us and says hello, especially kids and women. So far we're impressed by Philippino towns' tidiness.

We found out the cross was accessed from the side of the island, but that we could just go over there on a habal-habal: a motorcycle with a long seat so that it fits several passengers, we have seen up to 6 people on them sometimes, so it was no problem fitting all three of us behind the driver! Of course no one wears a helmet, pants or proper shoes and I don't dare think of the potential accidents.

A few days ago I would have sworn I'd never ride a bike without proper protection, but that idea quickly went out the window along with safety 101. To be fair, we didn't go very fast and there seems only to be motor bikes on the island. Anyway, it was actually a lot of fun riding the bike, although I think it was even more fun for people to see these three big white people on the back of a bike!

There were 450 steps up the hill and some of us living on a boat aren't used to stairs at all, but we managed to stagger up! It wasn't the grand view we had anticipated and that the guidebook promised, but it was OK. To be honest, the bike ride there and back was more exciting.

Limasawa sometimes also gets visited by whale sharks and one local guy did row out and told us he spots them and maybe even takes people out to see them, we're not sure, his English was really poor, as is our Philippino! How he manages to spot them from his small rowing canoe remains a mystery. He never did turn up the next morning at 6am as he said he would. Instead I was hauled up the mast in order to try and spot them from there. Either there were none, or my spotting was faulty, we didn't see any, but it was still a nice view from the top of the mast.

We then just kept going and sailed/motored (when the wind died) over to Bohol and are now anchored in Guindulman Bay on the southern coast. Sheralee and I went for another snorkel just off Sophia, but visibility wasn't very good and there weren't many fish, although we did see several Nemos again! We were also stung a little bit although continuously by some sort of tiny jelly fish, so that was a quick snorkel!

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