This past week Lane and I were required to take a week of vacation days from the school. It’s a slow time because it’s the start of the new school year. So students don’t sign up for camp when it’s their first week in a new grade. Lane and I decided we wanted a relaxing, low key vacation someplace warm. We got the best price on tickets to the Philippines so that’s where we went. We stayed on a small island called Sangat in the Palawan district. We were on this island the whole time and so didn’t do any sight seeing, shopping, or learning about the country and culture. This felt weird to me as I’d never been to another country without doing those things. It was a wonderful time though.
We went scuba diving on our first full day there. It was a first for both of us. Most people learn how to scuba dive in a pool, but we started in the ocean. After getting fitted for the wet suit, mask, booties, and flippers, we set out on the boat to our dive site. First we got all our gear on, then we learned a bit about how to use it. We all knelt in the water about 1 meter down and practiced taking out our air and putting it back in, getting water out of our masks, and adjusting our flotation. Then, WE WENT FOR IT! We were down for about 30-40 min. first we swam over some coral reefs and saw some little fishies. Then, unbelievably, we went to about 9 meters and dove around a wrecked Japanese gun boat! Amazing! Who gets to see a ship wreck on their first dive??!! At one point my flipper came off and almost went into the wreck! Luckily the dive guy behind me was able to grab it in time. On our way back up, amongst the coral, we even saw Nemo! 🙂 This was a goal of mine. He was just wiggling all over that Anemone. Unfortunately we have no pictures of any of this as our camera would not do well if it got wet. Use your imagination. Another unfortunate happening was with my ears. I was having trouble equalizing them as we went deeper. At one point, I got light headed and floated to the surface without realizing what was happening until I popped up at the surface. This was not good for my ears as I came up pretty quickly. Even though it was several days before we left I also had ear trouble on the plane. So I’ll be seeing a doctor soon about it. I hope it’s not permanent damage.
We were also able to see some pretty cool fish and coral and things when we went snorkeling just in front of the beach area. We saw Nemo 3 more times. We also saw a star fish, a large angel fish, schools of colorful big and little guys, a jaw fish, and lots of little crabs on the beach.
We spent a lot of time just lying around in the hammocks or beach chairs and reading while sipping coffee. The weather was perfect. Not too hot and not too chilly. Though it did get a little windy a couple of the days.
One day we decided to kayak out to the hot springs on the side of the island. It’s hidden away in a mangrove forest. It was beautiful and relaxing. Unfortunately, we underestimated the power of the wind and current that day and tried to battle to get back. It really felt like a squall and I was scared. The wind and current were especially strong around one corner and I simply could not get around it. We tried 2 times and failed. There was no let up in the wind and I thought we were stuck. Thankfully I have a strong and brave husband who offered to forge ahead and bring back a boat for me. Though he was paddling as hard as he could and standing still at times, he made it and came back to rescue me. My hero! I was so worried about him until I saw the boat come around the rocks. Ahhh, so relieved. But all in all, it was worth it.
We also did a little hiking. Or tried to anyway. Most of the Island is steep rocky cliffs. We did pretty well, but when Our hands were sore form the sharp rocks and I got a long cut on my leg, we called it quits. Still a good time though.
You can view all the photos at http://picasaweb.google.com/mandi.kaufmann/Philippines?authkey=Gv1sRgCK-i14fLpuizpwE#