Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Back in it . . . the water that is

We’re going to have to take it easy and stay home for a while I guess. A couple days ago we returned from our third trip in less than three months from the water wonder land generally known as Puerto Galera, even though few people who go there actually stay in that city. Speaking for all tourists most of us stay at one of the numerous beach slash dive resorts located around the town of Sabang and White Beach and points in between. See the map below.

Although not the only purpose I confess that a primary reason for this most recent trip was to continue my scuba diving experiences. I’m finding that the more I do it the more I MUST do it. Yes, it IS an addictive endeavor; especially for someone that loves the natural world, someone like me.

My Michigan dwelling brother tells me that he would like to try scuba diving someday, but for the investment required, living in a place like Michigan does not provide the same types of outstanding underwater observations as do tropical waters, and he’s right. There’s absolutely no comparison. You’d be lucky to spot more than a handful of different comparatively boring fish species, none of which would be much to look at, in the waters of an American lake compared to the endless varieties of fish, anemones and coral in the tropics.

This time, from the Batangas Pier we paid passage on a fast moving giant bangka with its powerful diesel engine and parallel outriggers made of massive bamboo logs all apparently held together with oversized tie straps and heavy plastic cord. The outriggers, designed to keep the flat-bottomed craft upright in rough waters, were completely unnecessary, the channel between Batangas and Mindoro being so calm. The smooth still water was a treat after the continuous white caps we endured during our April and May trips. In fact, the crew did not even have to draw the curtains around the passenger compartment, something they normally have to do to keep the bow spray from soaking all within the boat. I enjoyed having a view outside while underway for once.

At exactly fifty-five minutes from the moment we pushed away from the pier we beached on the increasingly smelly sands of Sabang. I mentioned this in passing in an earlier post but the horrible stench of sewage is now quite noticeable wafting from the waters and beach of that picturesque town. Admittedly, I have an extremely sensitive sense of smell but this time it was during a high tide time when the odor should have been less noticeable. It’s unfortunate, but if they don’t get a handle on the pollution obviously pouring into the cove from the slowly expanding town, discerning tourists will not continue to come. Hint. Hint.

Having sent the hotel manager a text that we were enroute and less than an hour away the hotel jeepney was already waiting for us on the half constructed pier only twenty yards away up the beach. Fifteen minutes later found us already checked into our rooms and relaxing on the hotel’s gigantic restaurant veranda. Having left the house at 4 am we were ready for a real breakfast since it was still barely 8:30. We ordered a hearty American breakfast (in other words lots of cholesterol) and went down to our beach side room to change into our relaxing resort clothes while our food was prepared.

For most of a week I bounced between being super laid-back on the one hand and adrenaline loaded on the other—a most interesting way to be. I’ve found that passing through the two extremes within a relatively short time make both states all the more enjoyable. Perhaps after I’ve had more dives under my belt I won’t feel so deliciously on edge as each dive approaches, but based on the similar condition of my more experienced dive partner I doubt that it will ever become a blasé experience.

Once again I had my new Canon G11 with underwater package and was fortunate to take some incredible shots, both still and video. I’ll be posting about it over the next few days, probably longer. Till then. . .


Ed said...

Can't wait to see the pictures & videos.

Abby said...

You are an amazing writer.. I felt like I was on vacation with you until I stopped day dreaming and realized I was still perched at my desk. Whatta drag :)

PhilippinesPhil said...

Hiya Ab. How's my favorite niece? Thank you! Its nice being amazing; happens so rarely for me! Glad you enjoyed. I'm at the office now too, but I'll be writing the next post in the series when i get home WITH pics. LY!