WHALESHARKS baby, WHALESHARKS! Day 1 PHOTOS and BLOG now!!!!
Donsol Travel Blog› entry 271 of 658 › view all entries
People i met here who contributed to, and improved my trip: Johan and Maggie (Sweden), Linus, Julia and friends (Sweden) about 15 Whalesharks!
Flying down to Legaspi was quite an experience for me, as both the security and the views were a little out of the ordinary. At Manila airport they would initially not let me into the passenger terminal until i had gone to Cebu Pacifics office and got them to print out my e-ticket, which was slightly annoying. After eventually checking in, i had to pass through some interesting security checks where i ended up bare footed and thoroughly searched on 2 occassions. To be honest, although i thought the security seemed a little extreme, i'd rather it be like this than the non-existent checks that they don't have in Indonesia!
The flight only took about an hour, before we descended into one of the World's most surreal airports.
I was lucky enough to meet 2 very nice people from Sweden at the airport, Johan and Maggie, and we agreed to share a tricycle to the van stop, and then to go to Donsol together.
Johan was knocking on my door at 6.45am and after the initial thought of 'let me sleep', i suddenly realised that for once i really didn't want an extra hour in bed, i wanted to be in the water as soon as possible! Within 10 minutes Johan, Maggie and I were in a tricycle and on our way to the whaleshark centre, located a couple of kilometres out of town.
The first sighting we got came pretty soon after setting off and with snorkelling gear fitted, we were all in the water and waiting for the first 'contact'. The water is extremely murky with plankton and as you begin to swim in the direction that the spotter is pointing, you realise that anything could be right next to you and you wouldn't even realise until.
The first 2 Whalesharks that we swam with were pretty small (5 metres i'd say) and soon descended when we got into the water. The visibility also sucked and i was trying to remember if it had been like this the last time i had come. Although amazing, it wasn't as good as i'd got fixed in my head... but this was soon to change. After 20 minutes with no spottings, there was once again the shout of 'butanding, get ready' and the 7 of us began clambering for our fins and snorkels.
Over the next 2 hours we spotted roughly another dozen, including some real giants. It seemed that the bigger they were, the less intimidated they were and thus they were happy to swim along with us for extended periods of time. It was a truly breathtaking experience and one that everyone should have the privilege of doing at least once in their lifetime.
Over 3 hours after setting off, we returned to shore with smiles as wide as the Whalesharks mouths and went home to get showered and change and then head out for some lunch. We ate in a restaurant with a bizarre policy that they would only cook meals that served 4! The owner reckoned that to cook individual meals was just not economical enough and thus you either ate for 4, or shared your dish with others. I was just pleased i wasn't on my own, as even though i had a worked up a pretty large appetite, i didn't think i could eat a family meal alone! Johan and I shared a beef stroganoff, although it was highly debatable what the 'meat' actually was.
It was really nice to hang out with the guys back at the guesthouse and sharing such an experience seems to make bonds form pretty quickly between you. I guess its one of those times when you realise that no amount of words can actually describe what it is like, to someone who hasn't done it, but when you know that person lived that same moment with you, there seems just some sort of understanding that develops. It was therefore a real shame that one of the guys had got a foot infection a few days back and with the salt water, it had got so bad that he decided to go to and have it looked at by the local nurse.
It had been an exceptionally long day and with all the adrenalin and emotions that had been charging through our veins, the 3 of us were pretty much zonked by 7pm! I made it to a cafe next door for some pizza and met 3 Western guys at the nearby bakery and agreed to meet up with them the following morning to head out to see the Whalesharks AGAIN! This was all i could manage before crashing out. I slept and dreamt of Whalesharks and what the following day would have in store.