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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Day 9: Kayaking across the ocean - ALONE!

I woke up this morning and decided that while I liked my hotel, I wanted an even more Philipino style place, so I packed up and moved down the road to Dara Fernandez Cottages!  600 pesos a night (about $12.00)

As soon as I saw this place, I said, "Yep, I'll take it!"

There's no air conditioning or hot water, but I can survive!

... with a view like this, I think we all could!

I headed over to the art cafe for breakfast and treated myself to a bowl of mixed fruit - fresh papayas, banana, watermelon, and a native fruit I'd never heard of.  As I was eating, I looked over to Cadlao Island in the far off distance and thought... I wanna try to kayak over there!  
I don't know where that thought came from considering I've kayaked twice in my life, and the first time doesn't even count because it was at Disneyland, but I was determined none the less!

So, I looked over at the Island and said, "Here I come!"

The beginning of the adventure was quite beautiful!  The waters were a gorgeous shade of turquoise, and I could see down at least 30 feet!

It was when I was in the middle of the ocean, between the 2 islands that I started to get a bit scared!  The waves were crashing onto my kayak, and my arms were getting really tired!

I had to do it... to prove I really made it across the ocean!

Getting back to El Nido was an interesting experience!  It was really hard to get the kayak out into the sea with the waves crashing on the shore... They kept pushing the kayak back onto the sand!  Then I finally got in the clear and was ready to paddle, turned around, and my life jacket was floating near the shore!  Eeeehhh!

After about an hour of straight kayaking, I made it back to El Nido!  Whew!  I was exhausted and in great need of a shoulder massage, but Aaron wasn't around! :(   So, instead, I grabbed my book (SEX GOD by Rob Bell - Thank you Tiffany Lyon) and read in my own private hammock outside my cottage!

I wasn't completely alone though... I had little crabby's running in and out of holes in the sand beneath me!  They were cute little guys!

After reading about 50 pages or so, I grabbed my snorkel and mask and headed out into the water in search of some shells.  Unfortunately the shells aren't very exciting in this area, so I just collected small shells that I can take back to use in my classroom as game pieces!   I think my kids will love them!

After shell searching, I walked into my cottage and saw that about 200 ants had invested my bed!  EEehhh!  So, I swept them off onto the floorboards of my cottage, and headed to the bathroom for a shower!  Unfortunately there was no water coming from my sink or shower and my toilet wouldn't flush.  It was then that I realized what these 2 buckets of water were for!   Hey, I asked for Philippino accomodations... I got em!

After "bucket showering" I headed over to a nearby restaurant for dinner... but before I got there, I snapped some pictures of the locals...

These 2 little boys were hammering random nails in the floor of their parents convenience shop!  Boys will be boys!

These "lady boys" run the local salon!  If I hadn't trimmed my hair right before I left to come here, I would have let em have a go at it!

This is this man's shop!  Hey, gotta start somewhere, right?!

Seriously... The dog's in El Nido are REALLY FOND OF EACH OTHER!  Anyone want a puppy?!

Philippino candy is displayed in these jars at every local store!

The area has numerous signs like this, so I asked a local what it meant... Apparently the government is trying to tear out all the coral in the area so big ships can dock here... :(  Very sad!

I ended up eating at Ric's on the beach and meeting Junvi, a local Philippino who plays music there most nights. Nice kid!

After meeting Junvi, I also met Ali (Allister) a 22 year old from England who's been traveling the world alone since he was 17!  He recently bought a boat in Phuket, Thailand and sailed over to the Philippines all alone!  Crazy huh?!  They both said they were heading over to the Art Cafe to watch Mike, their friend, play guitar, and invited me to come... So I went along.

It was there that I met the rest of their tight knit group, who very quickly and warmly welcomed me! :)
From left to right:

Ali - a 22 year old from England who publishes books, writes poems, and sails the world.

Me - You all know my story!

Junvi - Originally from an island near Cebu.  He came to El Nido 2 months ago and hasn't left!  He's currently working as a guide.

Mike - An El Nido local, who plays guitar and sings every night at the Art Cafe and Ric's on the beach!  At the Art Cafe he plays John Mayer style songs, and at Ric's he becomes the spittig image of Bob Marley!  Talented kid to say the least!

Janice - Mike's girlfriend!  Can you believe she's 32 yrs old!!  She's stunning, and laughs at everything!  She's also a very accomplished artists (Note the portrait that she was working on tonight!)

Noa - A 22 year old from Israel that came to El Nido 2 months ago and never left!

Tomorrow they've invited me out on Ali's boat to go island hopping with them all!  Can't beat the "FREE SAILING TOUR" as they call it!  I saw his boat today as I was kayaking and it's REALLY NICE!  9am is take off time!  I'm definitely bringing my snorkel with me and my 2 goals for the day are to hold one of the huge blue starfish and see (or better yet, swim with) a sea turtle!  Cross your fingers, please!

Until tomorrow!!


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