Our first El Nido island hopping trip, after much deliberation yesterday, and walking around to get the best deal, we was at the meeting point for 9 AM and taken to the beach. Our guide pointed to our boat and we all looked at each other and nodded and waited, apparently we didn’t understand what he had meant. There is your boat, wade out to it, and get on! With the camera and both laptops in the bag held high above my head I ventured forth, I am sure they could have moved the boat closer but everyone thought it was hilarious!
The tour we had chosen (tour A) included all the top Trip Advisor sights so we was quite excited. However we are starting to realise that in places totally packed with tourists some of the “top sights” can leave a lot to be desired.
Firstly we pulled up at the 7 Commandos beach and found it to be swarming with about 30 boats and 400 tourists, not quite the same experience as island hopping in Coron where you had the beaches to yourself. One of the over excited tourists was a crazy Czech guy we met on the boat from Coron, “lets go for dinner” he said, “we will call you” we lied!
Apart from the crazy Czech we did meet some cool people. On our boat there was a couple from Canada that were travelling for 3 months and also a guy from Denmark that had been everywhere, however never “travelled”. He said that Iran was one of the best places he had been and the people are the most hospitable. Maybe one to add to the list.
As we reached the next beach our guide informed us that the best snorkelling is in the channel but you needed to be a good swimmer. Our ears peaked as we realised no one was out there. So grabbing a mask and snorkel we swam out and saw a lot of dead coral, but to be fair there was few very large coral formations in good health and we even managed to find a family of clown fish (Nemos).
Lunch was served on this island and was really good! A very large grilled fish with BBQ chicken and more fruit than you can imagine. Obviously served with the Filipino staple of cold rice!
The afternoon was spent visiting the big lagoon, the small lagoon and the secret lagoon. To tight to rent a canoe we probably swam about a kilometre up and down the big and small lagoons, which I personally think was much better because you could see all the fish. In one spot really far out where even then canoes were not reaching we found that the lagoon dropped off and a beautiful coral wall formed. We even found a school of thousands of tiny fish chilling out in a cove. Swimming through them was a really amazing experience.
Now lets talk about the secret lagoon. This is a hidden lagoon that you have to crawl through a small hole to get to, the problem is there are hundreds of tourists there and it is 1 at a time in both directions. It look us about 10 minutes to get in and we just pushed our way out, some people were stuck in there for half and hour!
Overall it was a good day out but compared with the island hopping in Coron I have to say the mass amounts of tourists spoilt it somewhat. Tomorrow we had planned to do Tour C but we quickly scrapped that idea!