Breakfast did not start at the Doublegem Resort until 7am, the six of us were seated with knife and fork in hand, chomping at the bit, to start eating at 6.57am – we had some scuba diving to do!
On our arrival at the Sub-Mariner Dive shop the place was a hive of activity. All the gear we tried on the previous evening was ready for us and was transported over to the waiting dive boat. We were told to put our personal belongings into a small canoe and we had to swim over to the boat.
As you may recall the water at Corong Corong beach is very shallow, that is not the case at El Nido beach, and after a few steps the water is over your head – so we swam with our sunnies on.
The young energetic dive crew were very animated and energetic with their help and instructions to the 12, or so, paying divers on board. However, two twenty something bikini clad young female divers seemed to need more animation and energy put into them than what the rest of us needed. The cost of the dive was AUD$120 for three dives and lunch.
Some of our group had not dived for several years, and my last two dives had been somewhat erratic on my part, so we chose to do a refresher dive than what the seasoned old pros like Di and Pete did. Lynda chose not to dive and only paid a snorkeler fee for the day for $27. Lynda busied herself with all the on-board photography.
I enjoyed, and must admit, needed to spend a few minutes underwater in shallow water getting my breathing slower and regular. This allowed me to dive in a more even manner and relearn how to use my breathing to maintain steady underwater movement.
Di and Pete seemed very excited with their dive and raved about all the various sea creatures they observed.
The dive boat crew and dive staff must have felt the two bikini clad young ladies were having difficulties and, as such, they needed a lot, a very lot, more close attention than the rest of us.
The three dive spots were excellent, I only ended up doing two dives, as on the second dive I had a little difficulty equalising the pressure in my right ear – this is an ongoing problem and may signal the end of my diving career – it is that, or my selective deafness may actually become real, much to Diane’s further dismay!
On the second dive we all dived together and it is loads of fun being with friends exploring the underwater world.
Whilst I didn’t partake in the third dive, the location we were moored at was so beautiful it was a joy to simply take in the surroundings, watch the fish swim on by and gaze through the crystal clear water at the ocean floor – it was such a cool way to spend ones time. The others all had tales of the third site being the best and views of sea turtles and other exotic fish and marine life, but hey I can live with that.
The lunch served between dives was good, lots of fish again and of course plenty of rice, vegetables and fruit – so no complaints.
We met a honeymoon couple from South Africa; there is always someone you relate to more than others, for us, it was the South African couple. For all the males, who worked on board the dive boat, it was the two young bikini clad ladies. Michelle and Pieter, the South African couple were on their honeymoon, Michelle actually came over to me and struck up a conversion about the scar on my knee and my Knee Replacement operation. Michelle is a doctor and has helped perform numerous Knee Replacement operations. She was very complimentary of my scar and the surgeon who performed the operation. Not only this, she was amazed by my movement, considering it was still within 12 months of the operation being performed. This made me feel very good and confident that my travel days were far from over. I was also pleased that whilst diving, the metal in my knee did not make me sink to the ocean floor and meet ‘Davey Jones locker’ – it is funny how we let our fears destroy logical thinking!!!!!
The dive day was exciting and an awesome way to spend a day of your life – if you are yet to experience diving, then I feel Asia, and a reputable company, is the place to learn. The cost of diving is reasonable, the water can be crystal clear, the waters’ temperature is comfortable and there is just so much marine life to see.
On our return to El Nido we bid farewell to our new friends Michelle and Peiter and swam back to shore – sunnies off this time. After such a marvellous day we soothed our salt scoured throats with a few ales and watched another amazing sunset.
The next day we caught tricycles out to Las Cabanas Beach. The irony here is that Las Cabanas Beach is closer to Corong Corong than what El Nido is, yet to take us to Las Cabanas Beach the tricycle man wanted 150 Pesos (AUD$3.75) whilst the longer El Nido trip only costs 50 Pesos (AUD$1.25). I calmly pointed this out to the tricycle man and his response was that ‘Las Cabanas Beach was a tourist attraction and it cost more’ – I think there is logic there! We settled on two tricycles for the six of us costing 100 Pesos each tricycle.
Los Cabanas Beach is about four Kilometres from Corong Corong. You cannot walk there by the shoreline and must use the road. The road, though, has no footpath, it is windy and undulates around the coastline. It is not a pleasant walk and the inflated budget busting price (AUD$1.25 to AUD$2.50) for the one way journey is probably worth paying.
From the road you walk down about 100 or so steps to the beach. At the bottom of the steps there is a lone bar – what else would you expect to find on the beach. The main beach part though is about another 150 metres walk along the beach, here there are numerous bars, restaurants, small hotels and water craft hire places. We though had a slightly different destination in mind – we were ziplining!!!
Now some of my constant readers may well remember that in early May 2016 at Koh Lak, in Thailand, I had a small encounter with a tree whilst ziplining! You may also remember that I came off very much second best in this small encounter and, as a result of this small encounter, I needed the much discussed Knee Replacement operation. Well on this day I would fight my fears and get back on the ziplining horse, as it were.
The zipline was pretty straight forward. The line went from the top of a truly ginormous mountain (a truly ginormous mountain which was really a large hill – but I’m telling the story so I will tell it my way) out over the beach, over the ocean to a small island. Easy!
The cost of the zipline was 500 Pesos (AUD$12.50). The walk up the ginormous mountain, that was really a large hill, was actually quite strenuous in the early morning heat, it was only 10am.
Once at the zipline place I had no real qualms about strapping into the harness and just letting go. The island did seem a long way off, but I think we covered the distance in less than a minute.
The zipline was great, the first hundred or so metres is through trees, I kept my knee well away, then you burst out over the beach.
The ladies were all below us admiring our bravery, as first Steve and I came soaring through the trees, followed a few minutes later by Pete.
You then whizz out over the ocean and rapidly approach the island.
There was a second when I thought I was going too fast, but I trusted the zipline guy, who said we would stop automatically, why did they not have this in Thailand!!!
We were now about ten metres from the end of the zipline and the attachment to the cable above us hit some giant padding causing us to stop – well me anyway. Steve had lost momentum and never hit the padding, stopping just short. The problem was he then started to slide backwards back along the cable. This left him dangling over the ocean and a staff member had to don a harness and go rescue the poor lad.
I must say the view alone from the zipline was well worth the money. Once Pete had made it down okay, we started the hard part. The zipline was completely safe – the climb down the rickety old stairs from the zipline was a completely different story. The bamboo stairs were missing steps and the descent was very steep. The bamboo moaned and groaned with each step being placed up on it – it was a relief to reach the bottom.
We were like three gunslingers as we strolled arrogantly along the beach, as all eyes were on us – we were the three who just ziplined!!
We spent another hour on the beautiful beach. You can hire sunbeds but you have to be quick to get the best ones and besides that, the music, of course, from the bars was a hundred times louder than it should have been. It is an effort climbing the steps from Los Cabanas Beach up to the road but we all made it. The girls bargained the tricycles down from 150 Pesos to a reasonable 100 Pesos to take us back to the hotel. We had a quick shower and we were out again.
This day was actually a special day for a special birthday, yes, it was Diane’s birthday. Thus we planned a day of adventure, shopping and boozing – all the things a gal needs on her birthday. The next stop was a Canopy Walk in El Nido town.
The Canopy Walk is close to the centre of town in El Nido and takes you up part of the large limestone rock that towers over the El Nido township. The Canopy Walk is an Eco-friendly hike over the tree tops and rocks on swinging little bridges. The cost was a reasonable 400 Pesos and takes about 45 minutes to complete. You get to wear a cute little yellow hard hat and you wear a harness that scrunches up your groin area and makes you sing like Michael Jackson.
The start of the walk is over wooden board walks and is easy, there is a slightly more difficult climb up some rocks but there are ropes to pull yourself up with, and the guides are nimble enough to dart around and provide help as needed.
The canopy walk does swing about a bit – in fact it wobbled much more than when we did a longer one in Malaysia.
You then climb up several metal staircases until you eventually reach the top. You then are towering over El Nido to get some absolutely terrific views of the town, the beach and the bay.
The climb was hot – let’s face it, it is always friggin’ hot wherever you go here – but was very rewarding, but be prepared to sweat, a lot. The climb down of course was much quicker and far easier. I would recommend the Canopy Walk as a must do in El Nido.
It was now time for the gals and guys to part ways – the gals wanted to take Di birthday shopping – I think any excuse is used by ladies to shop. The boys had nothing to do, except what boys do when they have nothing to do, and that is…… get a massage!!!
Steve went to a massage shop and patiently waited at the counter to be served, as is the polite thing to do – but waiting is not something Asians do well, and whilst Steve patiently waited to be served, three Asian men (Chinese perhaps) walked past both him and the counter and went straight in to get a massage. We best try another place. We found a place around the corner where three lovely older ladies made our skin very soft and pretty with an Aloe Vera smeared body massage – we glowed. Whilst we were laying face down, being rendered the luxuries we deserved, our wives popped in to make sure we were not enjoying the experience too much – they saw our shoes on the footpath outside the store.
After the massage Di was waiting for me, unfortunately whilst shopping the heat was getting to her and on top of the beach, canopy walk and the heat in the narrow streets of El Nido she was feeling sick – remember it is her birthday. The lads and I were off to start happy hour beers at a restaurant at the top of the beach, where we had planned to meet the girls after their shopping excursion. We insisted Di join us to get some fluids inside her, but she declined and sadly returned to the hotel as she feared she would be physically ill – she insisted I stay with the lads. So, after Di went off in a tricycle, we headed up the beach for happy hour.
The girls soon arrived and the five of us had a lovely meal, a few beers and watched a part of the sunset between two mountains. In El Nido itself, the sun sets behind the large mountain, and to see a sunset you have to go to Corong Corong beach. At the far end of El Nido beach though, where we were, you got some view of the sunset – plus 40 Peso beers in happy hour.
Sorry you were not there Di but we really enjoyed your birthday dinner and drinks. Happy Birthday Diane, we all love you.
This was the end of another fabulous day at El Nido. The next day was a day for Di to recover, she was okay and for the rest of the gang to relax from a hectic five days of adventure. It was also our last day in El Nido and the next day we were heading to Puerto Princessa, the capital of Palawan. Our El Nido adventure would be over.
Due to the huge fan mail ‘Callie from California’ has received on this blog, I will leave you with another photo of our like, like well just like, favourite like girl!!!!!!!!
The like adventure like continues………like!