Adventures in Asia 2008

my travels through India, Nepal, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Taiwan.

Magnificent Malapascua

Posted by maudholma on 7 June 2008

Just over seven days ago I was extatic about seeing a few Nemos but the last week on Malapascua Island has set the bar just a little higher. We lived about 10 meters from a nearly deserted beach, looking out over an endless ocean as well as the odd fishing boat or group of kids playing in the water. I’ve fallen in love with the Filipino people and the locals on Malapascua were no exception – nothing but smiles and people asking us whether we were sisters all the time since we apparently look exactly alike… And then there was the diving.

For the sake of all the people reading this who don’t dive and have no interest in hearing about how many kilos I had on my weight belt or how many bars of air I used per dive, I won’t go into the specifics. Not that I know the names of most of the fish I saw, and since my descriptions usually went something like “It was sort of like a grey boxy squareish fish with a blue trim”, it’s no wonder our diving instructor found it a little hard to help. On the last day of my course I did a night dive, and although I missed the mating of the fish we had been watching in the same spot for about 20 minutes (essentially the purpose of the dive…) I was on top of the world after seeing a seahorse, getting underwater fireworks from fluorescent plankton, and ascending to a pitch black sky littered with stars. I told myself things couldn’t get any better and tried to memorize the feeling as best as I could for a rainy day. The following morning we got up before sunrise in hope of catching a glimpse of the thresher sharks, Malapascua’s claim to fame. We not only saw two of them, one so close that I could see its pupil, but also had a manta ray glide past us before disappearing into the blue! I forgot all about the cardinal rule of diving and stopped breathing for a second or two.

We were so high on life when we left this morning that we just assumed people were being happy around us because that’s the way it’s done here. After 4 hours on a bus and a walk around a shopping mall we realized it may have had something to do with S’ capris having a giant rip in the back and that people were smiling mainly because she was showing them a different side of herself.

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