Friday, November 11, 2011

Caramoan Islands Tour: Preparations and Departure

As said in my previous story, I toured the islands alone and here I was…

Arriving at the Bikal wharf, habal-habal driver let me off at exactly inches from the store that I was looking for – per instruction of the kind Rex Inn employee! Boatman and owner was there already expecting me and when the habal-habal arrived, he immediately introduced himself and confirmed it was me he was communicating with via txt msgs! My bad, I forgot the name of boat owner and their store. Argh, I also erased messages and there are many unidentified numbers in my phone right now, so I can't exactly say which is his! But that is the store in the picture and you’ll probably see him in one of my pics later. If he is not at the store, his mother would probably be manning it anyway!

So, we discussed payments and destinations quickly and we were ready to go, except for one thing. He asked if I did not bring anything to eat. I said none but I could manage. He doubted that and reminded me that we wont be seeing stores or anything like so, for the entire duration of the tour that might last until sundown. Nge! And it was only 8:30ish on a bright sunny morning! I asked if I should buy food from any of the stores, he said that would be the better option if I did not bring any - especially water! Awk! I decided I would be fine with bread and canned sardines and/or meatloaf, so I turned around to buy those from their store where his mother happily served me. He followed to suggest that I drop the idea on canned goods and just get my bread and water or softdrinks since we could get fish from the sea. Whoa! And Wheh?! But I heeded.

Buying 2 one-litter bottles of water and a bottle of 2-litter coke gave me an idea… beer! So I bought some and he called his boat hand to put all those into an ice chest. So I also bought ice from their store. The jolly mother asked if I was sure all those would be enough since she could quickly cook some rice and viand if we could just wait a short while. But, thanking her, I declined joking that the beer and yosi was even already enough! Off we went! Yey! As we boarded the boat (it was not that little after all), I asked if there were comfort rooms in any of the islands, just in case. He said none anywhere but the ocean is too wide for it hahaha! So folks, if this must happen to you (it did not to me hehe) just pray your excretions go off immediately to Saipan, Guam, the Marianas or even Australia and New Zealand, without lingering too much or passing by nearby Catanduanes hehehe!

Off we were on my island hopping tour! Just three of us on the boat – me, the boatman/owner and his ‘deckhand’ and spotter. What’s a ‘spotter’? Well, I learned from my boatman that this ‘archipelagic’ place is composed of not only many islands and islets but also coral gardens big and small, rocks and shallows many of which are not easily seen by a boatman usually stationed by the engine area. Thus, maneuvering around gets tricky and even dangerous. Add in the many seaweed farms strewn along the way. So they usually need a deck hand who stays up front to spot what should be avoided by making hand and arm movements to steer the boatman where to pass and when to go slow or hit the floor so to speak hehe! There could be a more formal term for that role of the ‘spotter’ but I want to call him a “spotter” so spotter he is, okay?!

I could already sense this was going to be a fun tour! Who said I needed to find a group, eh?! And thanks to that greedy bunch that frontdesk asked but declined to take me in - My Royal Highness went on a Regal tour without them "masses" hehehe! Lucky you guys reading this. You’ll already know what to do, bring or expect!

Let’s go to something you don’t easily hear when touring the Caramoan Islands! In my next story, that is!


For a chronology of this trip's stories, click these numbers:
01   02   03   04   05   06   07   08   09   10   11   12   13   14   15
16   17   18   19   20   21   22   23   24   25   26   27   28   29   30

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