Well after my 2.5 hour bus ride from Manila through largely uninteresting countryside, I arrive at the Batangas Pier Terminal.
I have to say Grandma and Grandpa are looking down on me once again. There is a large Tropical Storm moving through the Philippines right now but it just so happens that the storm split in two right around me. I guess I’ve been living right ’cause I didn’t hit a lick of rain.
Small aside on how to achieve this trip:
- Leave from Buendia (boo-when-dee-ah) bus terminal in Manila and take the JAM Liner, it is a direct trip that will only cost you 190 pesos or about $3USD.
- Get some snacks from Mr. Donut or the convenience store or some fruit from the vendor that comes on the bus ( a bag of clementines for P50 ($1USD).
- Make sure you have something to do becuase the movie onboard is likely to be only in Tagalog and TERRIBLE
- Take the SECOND Batangas stop. The first will be grand terminal and is NOT what you want.
- Don’t bother with a porter when you get off the bus at the Pier Terminal, just walk straight ahead and follow the signs for the “fast-cat” ferry.
- If you know where you are staying in Puerto Galera, get your hotel to tell you which ferry to take. Otherwise you are at the mercy of the sharks trying to get you to take thier liner. I ended up on Genisys which wasn’t bad but slow and VERY hot and cramped.
That should get you there.. a trike from here will get you anywhere you want to go.
So off the ferry I take off and cram into the back of … well think of a ’88 Ford Ranger with a topper and two benches, one along each side. Then cram 10 people with luggage into that space and you’ve got the picture.
Finally I make it to Pacific Divers and meet the crew. Noel is going to be my dive master for the afternoon dive. The weather is overcast but the seas are fairly light. They decide to take me to a nice reef in 30ft water just 5 minutes away from White Beach. There I run across, a giant squid about the size of my torso, and a giant irridescent blue clam that I’ve never seen before. Lots of great coral and tons of other tropical schooling fish.
It is however a first for me… yes the first time in 24 years and over 200 dives that I was attacked and bitten by anything. This DAMN little cleaner fish followed me the whole way around the reef nipping at my thighs and trying to get up my shorts. SUPER annoying! No damage done but trying to fend him off chewed up a lot of my air rather than just having a nice calm dive.
After the dive its off to my hotel, or what I thought was going to be my hotel, the Amami Beach Resort.
Yes as with all of my travels nothing is smooth and my room has been given away and they try to stick me in an attic room with no AC, only a fan and cramped under an eaves where it is stuffy and dead air. Not only that but it has really no “beach view” that I was promised either. So after haggling for a while I got them to help find me another hotel, and they do. I end up a few doors down at the Sunshine Beach Hotel with a magnificent seaside room with a view directly over the ocean. Cost around $70 USD. AC, nice firm bed. I’m pleased but a bit brought down from the high of my dive.
After a short nap, I head down to dinner for a delicious meal of Pirogi and curried fish wrapped in a banana leaf. Absolutely amazing and finished up by an outstanding chocolate shake.
Then its back to the room to crash out with the AC and the fan blowing and the door open to hear the waves .. I’m happy.. until 3am where I sit now unable to sleep so I’m writing the blog.
Tomorrow brings another full day of diving so I’ll report more then. I’ll try and take my waterproof camera to get some good pics if we do another reef dive shallower than 30 ft (limit of the camera.
Until then I’ll try and sleep now.