Thursday, January 29, 2015

Island Hopping in Honda Bay--Jan. 28, 2015

After a quick breakfast of rice, eggs, tocino and 3-1 coffee, the mini van picked me up with the tour guide Tessa along with two Filipino family groups--one group from LA with their two recent college grad sons---and a newly wed couple from Alberta, Canada. Weaving our way through the morning rush hour traffic, we first stopped to get our snorkel gear. We then bumped along until we came to the Honda Bay wharf area. The place was filled with mini vans unloading mostly Filipino tourists to an armada of bankas waiting to transport them to the islands.

We would first go to Pandan Island where the snorkeling was suppose to be the best with lots of colorful fish, an amazing variety of coral along with other sea creatures such as sea urchins with their very long, hurtful spines, sea anemones, seastars, and sea slugs.

There were kayaks we could use as a part of our tour, but I spent my time snorkeling and eating.

I think I must have snorkeled for about two hours until my fingers turned into prunes. Many of the snorkel places sell small loaves of bread which they encourage people to buy to feed to the fish so they swarm all around you. The problem with that is it is not good for either you or the fish. In close to shore the water was a bit murky from all of the bread crumbs so out further it was much clearer. The fish still came up to you expecting to be fed. Both the coral and fish were very colorful with pinks, blues, yellows and greens along with very spiky sea urchins. There were also seastars, sea anemones and sea slugs.

Upon returning to our seating area, Tessa, our guide was busy preparing quite a gourmet spread for us which included designer cucumbers, green mango with shrimp paste sauce---an acquired taste, fried whole fish, shrimp, fatty, sweet spare ribs among other treats that some of the families were sharing. That included sea urchins, abalone, and crabs along with all types of chips and treats.


We had a very good feast all afternoon while on Pandan Island.

One of the fun events there was that the local guys had some set ups for some interesting photos like these shown below. They would use your camera for these shots and the going rate was to give them a 20 peso donation for their work.

Check out these little people behind me.

Afterward we gathered our things and headed to Cowrie Island our next and final stop. The Snake Island was closed for environmental restoration---someone else said some bought the island. Who knows? After all of the snorkeling I did on Pandan Island, I was glad to be going to just one more island.

Again some local guys had set up the photo shots for the tourists. There was a buffet restaurant, a full bar, toilets with fresh water showers along with a number of covered seating areas, tables, and a massage area.

Most of us just went swimming for a bit since the snorkeling wasn't so great. We also continued munching on the leftovers.

We then got on our banka for the short cruise back to the Honda Bay harbor and our waiting mini van. Although I got a bit redder, the suncream and wearing my shirt while snorkeling prevented any more sunburning.

After a shower, and watching a bit of TV, I fell asleep exhausted and still full from today's feast.

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