We overslept and woke up with just a few minutes before we were off to our orientation dive. We rushed breakfast, then rushed to the dive center. Apparently, even if you’re an instructor from wherever you’re from, you’d still have to do an orientation dive for them to assess your skill level. Since we were doing the house reef, we had to bring all our gear to the jetty, which is a long walk to carry all your stuff. I also realized how spoiled we are back in Anilao, where we have everything done for us. Here, it’s all do it yourself. Once we assembled all our gear, we had to walk, with tank and all, to the edge of the jetty to enter the water via giant stride. I thought to myself: “Are you kidding me?!?” The jetty was a good 10-15 feet off the water! The usual giant stride I’ve done is like one foot off the water! So against all better judgement, I jumped, vetoing all survival instincts, making a giant stride of faith, much like blindly falling in love and trusting the recipient of your affections to not tear your heart into tiny shards of worthless scrap (whoa, where did that come from?). So once we entered the water, we had to do regulator retrieval, mask flooding, and buddy breathing. Once we passed that, we proceeded to the rest of the dive along the house reef.
Fine time not to bring any cameras. We saw napoleon wrasse, a 6-foot long giant moray swimming along a sunken wreck, huge groupers, a cleaning station with fish mouths agape as cleaner wrasse dart in and out accomplishing their tasks, a turtle, among other things. The one time I don’t bring any cameras, and the circus comes to town. Sigh.
Finally we were given the go-signal to join any of the many dives and so we signed up for the afternoon dive. It was a game changer for me. I decided, for the first time, to take videos instead of photos. I’ve always been a photo kind of guy, but given all the pelagics, and little of the macro stuff, taking snapshots are practically useless given my gear. So I started taking videos and decided right there and then, that at least when it comes to diving, I’ll take videos from here on. We went diving on the Kuredu express, a corner dive, where we basically dive around the drop-off, near the channel, where all the big fish porn can be experienced. I was clumsy with the camera, so most of my footage was shakey, like the home videos that your dad took. So video fail for my first time as videographer.
The big news was on the boat ride back home. DOLPHINS!!! As we rode the boat home, we were joined by pods and pods of dolphins! You could see their fins all over the boat. It was crazy, as if the ocean was boiling over with dolphins, with many of them swimming with the boat, jumping out of the water and spinning as they land! I was able to video some of them and it was exhilarating! I can’t wait to edit the footage and post it on youtube!
Exhausted, we went back to our room, ate a quick dinner, then collapsed into deep slumber. We needed to get all the rest we can get because we signed up for a two-tank dive for the following morning. Why did we wait this long to dive?
The last day on Britt, was a somber one. I was melancholic just knowing that the whole sea adventure was about to end. We set off early, at around 5am, as we were all awakened by the engine running and zooming off even before the sun rose. As always, breakfast was a cornucopia of carbs, but I didn’t care, I was on vacation. So we did just one snorkeling site, and we were back at Kuredu, at the Lhaviyani atoll, before lunch. I wanted to hug our four new Brit friends (okay, three Brits, one Irish), already missing them just minutes off the boat, and our Maldivian crew Ibrahim, Kamil, Ahmed, Madheeh, and Kumar, who treated us like royalty.
On the upside, we finally get to move into our Sangu water villa, on the more posh side of the resort. We spent only half our stay here because the price is quite steep. But the moment we stepped into our villa, I was speechless. I just loved how from the room, it steps out into two decks overlooking the ocean, with the bottom deck going right into the water. I’ve been to two other water villas in Palawan resorts, but this is the first one I’ve been to that actually gives you access to the water. I guess this is the reason why kids below 12 years old are not allowed to check into these villas. It’s very easy to fall into the water if you lose your footing. And we were told many cellphones have met their untimely watery doom that way as well. But danger to cellphones aside, it’s hands down my favorite part of the resort. Just reading my book and drinking hot coffee on one of the lounge chairs on the deck, as the sun sets, the cool breeze slowly going from cool to almost nippy, me dozing off every now and then, a perfect way to end any day (not to mention the best lighting for taking selfies, hehehe).
We also met the Pinoys on the island, Arthur, Charles, Candice, and Ging, very refreshing to see fellow Filipinos on an island bereft of Asians. Some of them have been here for years, missing our country to bits, but enjoying the island life nevertheless.
We finally got around to scheduling our diving, so late into our stay. We were hoping we’d get to squeeze in as much diving as we could, but we were busy doing nothing and traipsing on a boat to do any diving. So that means no staying up late in our new luxury digs, because we need to be up early for the orientation dive. Finally we get to do some maldiving!