Sunday Funday- Tours and snorkelling

Despite my still sprained foot, I jumped out of bed on yesterday knowing we had a fun day ahead. I guess it also helped that I’ve moved from a top bunk to bottom. I slept better that night as well; I didn’t wake up dripping with sweat and sticking to my duvet like I had done the night before when the air con stopped working at about 3am.

The day started off with an icy, banana smoothie (the bananas here are to die for) before getting the group together and heading out to sea. We ended up doing a combined tour of tour A and tour B, so that we could see the highlights from both. El Nido offers lots of different tours and combination of tours. You can look into them HERE. Tour A and C seems to be a popular combination. You can book all of these in El Nido town centre.

Once again we had a good selection of travellers on our boat; some from Sweden or Canada, others from the USA and another British girl also. Heading from place to place was sociable, there were cold beers and music playing whilst everyone got to know each other.

Our first stop was Papaya beach– a tiny, little secret beach on a tiny, little island surrounded by other tiny, little islands. The name came from the fact there was loads of Papaya trees on site, as well as palm trees and coconut trees. It was like something out of a Hollywood movie set- too perfect to seem real. We noticed that there were no waves here (in fact, the water was pretty still at every stop we went to). The water was crystal clear, clearer than bath water in London! It had a bright, turquoise hue to it, which must have been from the reflection of the sun and sky. And the temperature was perfect-cold enough to cool you off, but warm enough for it to be bearable. I stood out of a game of beach volley ball; it would have probably been a bad idea considering my foot was still in pain. Instead, me and Jenny took a dip and walked across the white sand. It was literally like somebody had gotton bags and bags of flour and poured it everywhere.

At one point, an enthusiastic Filipino woman came skipping as quickly as she could through the water in our direction saying something about a photo. I was getting ready to take her phone or camera off of her to take a photo of her, when she suddenly stood in the middle of and Jenny and put her arms around us. We then saw her husband stood on the sand with a camera. Quick, get a photo with the white girls! It was even funnier when they then swapped places so he could also get a photo with us. They were telling us they loved us as they walked away to get back on her boat as we both stood there trying not to laugh.

Stop number two was somewhere I have been excited about going to for months leading up to our arrival- the Big Lagoon. We jumped off our boat and snorkelled to the lagoon, as the boat was too big to pass through. I’ve never properly been snorkelling before and it was such an amazing experience. There were so many different types of corals and fish. Stripy fish, big fish, small fish, schools of fish that you could swim through and vibrant colourful fish also. The lagoon was also crystal clear and we snorkelled over huge groups of black, spikey sea urchins, tucked under rocks and corals. I could have swam round and explored for hours if we’d had the time, but instead we jumped on another person’s kayak to head back, which was just as fun. You could still see the corals and fish clearly through the water. Back at the boat, we ‘gracefully’ got off our kayak but trying to all get off at the same time, resulting in us all slipping into the water and the kayak turning upside down!

The next stop, Entalula beach, was another serene beach. So, so tiny it probably wouldn’t any more than 70-80 people on it comfortably. This is where we had a lunch of fresh fruit, seafood and chicken for the meat eaters. Bananas, juicy pineapple, watery melon, as well and recently caught fish and muscles, homemade coleslaw and eggplant. To make things even better, Bob Marley played in the background whilst we sat on the floury sand and ate. Not only that, but we saw a HUGE lizard come out of a dark cave hidden behind the trees. I’m pretty sure it was a Komodo dragon!

Snake Island, a beautiful sand bar that stretches from one island to the next, was stop number four. I still can’t believe how something like that can exist. We walked across the sand and watched the waves from either sides of the sand gently crash together then part again. Taking a small hike up a stoney hill, we got a chance to admire the view of the sandbar and surrounding islands from a height. It’s so weird because it feels like you can’t physically take in how amazing everything is, it’s doesn’t feel or look real! Wes spotted the island’s only resident monkey on the way down, before taking a dip in the sea. I kept lying like a starfish on my back and just bopping up and down in the waves loving life! I didn’t manage to get a proper photo of the sand bar myself, so I’ve taken one from Google below.

One last stop remained- Pingbuyutan Island. One of the best bits about this was that as our boat approached the shore, there was a mum and dad dog, as well as their three puppies, looking curiously at our boat with their ears up, waiting to welcome us to their island.

The tour guide offered us all a free beer for our last stop, so that we could play a drinking game on the sand. Anybody that knows me will be shocked to hear that this would actually be my first beer of the day after being offered bottles on numerous occasions. I’ve been trying not to spend too much money and didn’t want to ruin the day by being drunk and not appreciating everything as much as I would sober.

The drinking game was SOO fun! We split into two teams and a beer bottle stood at equal distance between both teams. Every player had their own beer on the sand in front of them and each team took turns throwing a ball to knock the bottle in the middle over. If succeeded, everyone on your team starts downing their beer until someone from the other team retrieves the ball and puts the bottle back up. Hilariously and expectantly, me, Jenny and the other British girl were the first to finish our beers.

I sat at the front of the boat on the way back, smiling, soaking up the last bit of rays before sunset and reflecting on everything we had done and seen over the last few hours.

It was SUCH a perfect day, easily one of the best in my life. It went so quickly because of how much fun we were having and I’ve never felt so relaxed and carefree in my life. The rest of the day consisted of free rum and coke, free sunset shots(although the clouds hid it from us this time), more delicious Calamari, learning new drinking games with new friends and losing at beer pong (again).

I noticed how fresh I felt after our long day. My tan has started to show nicely, my freckles have made an appearance and where I haven’t worn make- up in two weeks my skin is extra soft. I actually feel comfortable with how I look now as well because I’ve gotton used to it.

All in all, this Sunday has definitely been different to the usual Sunday, either spent hungover and dreading the approaching Monday morning or lounging around at nanas drinking endless sugary cups of tea, doing tarot cards, watching crime documentaries, and most importantly raiding the fridge. I am starting to miss those home comforts and nothing could ever compare, but I wouldn’t change what I’m doing now for the world.

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