Into the blue
Apo Island Travel Blog› entry 17 of 31 › view all entries
I was on time but my companions weren't. And because I was on time, I missed being able to buy a ticket for the next day's trip to Bohol as planned. The trip was at 8:30, and Ocean Jet's office was still closed at 8:15, so I had to leave. I could only wish I'd still be able to get a ticket when I got back from Apo Island. The latecomer, I was told, was a foreigner. Snoopy and David just laughed it off, saying well, this was the Visayas, and we're on Filipino time anyway. But Snoopy and David weren't late, and neither was I!
To at least make use of the time, Snoopy decided to pick up Peachy, who happened to be also staying at Harolds', and had booked with a travel agent.
The others finally arrived. An American, with his Filipina girlfriend and a couple of nieces (or so he said). Peachy would later tell me that while I was diving they talked to her about being wasted the night before and one of them wouldn't wake up, so that was why they were late.
At the Malatapay pier, two other older Germans, including David's Lolo (Grandpa) Axel were already there. Waiting for an hour. Peachy took a shine to Lolo Axel. And really, he was such a nice old gentleman. I thought at first that David's dad was also there, but the other guy happened to be just a friend, and was with his Filipina girlfriend. David and Lolo Axel talked about being in Basilan and wishing they could go to Jolo, which flabbergasted the both of us. I couldn't think why a foreigner would actually want to go there. For those who don't know it, both those areas are hotbeds of Muslim insurgency, and are the actual deep south (with apolgies to Deats).
We finally got to Apo Island, and Snoopy and I were dropped of at the beach next to Apo Rock to begin our dive there. I was a little bit apprehensive because I was botching the water-in-the-mask exercise again, so we made extra sure that it was on tight before we started our dive. Later on my second dive, I would dive from the boat. Snoopy was going to get me to just wade into the water from the boat's side, but then I asked him weren't we going to the backflip thing. He was surprised that I'd already done it before, so I wondered if that wasn't supposed to be done on a first dive.
It took me awhile to appreciate the beauty of the site. On the first dive we kept to the edges of the reef. On the second dive we'd gone into The Chapel. Both are probably considered the safer areas since I was a newbie. Fifteen minutes into both dives I was wishing I'd go up already. When we got down on our knees on the sand at The Chapel, and Snoopy was taking my photo (yeah I finally bought a disposable underwater one with film), I think my photos would show that I was half-terrified. But after those 15 minutes, Snoopy said I would flash the O.K. sign a lot more often, without him even prompting. And truly, I felt that the underwater world that I glimpsed so far reached its zenith at Apo.
When we got back, Snoopy gave me my last quiz for the course. He also gave me the Dive Book that he lent me, which was the sweetest! Peachie and I later met up at the hotel (she was two rooms down from me!), and had dinner and girltalk at Hayahay. I was delighted to make a new friend on the road.