camping trek day 2: linapacan sea creatures / by mmkeyes

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Since we went to bed at 9, we all woke up around 5 am. I didn’t mind, since this meant I got to see the sunrise. Our boat crew cooked and fed us a yummy breakfast, and we headed out to Linapacan Island. Linapacan is amazing. Definitely the most incredible snorkeling of our entire trip, and the clearest water. Despite the beauty, it was also our first time seeing jellyfish on the trip. These were small, translucent ones, and all of us got stung but Brandon. It wasn’t painful, really. You almost second-guessed whether it had actually happened, and the irritation didn’t last very long. But it’s still unnerving to be swimming on your merry way and suddenly have your eyes focus in on a jellyfish that’s two inches from your face.

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Even though the stings don't hurt much, you still want to avoid them. It’s more mental than anything. I was 90% avoidant, 10% fascinated because you can actually see the electric current running through them. It looks like a rainbow current, moving along the perimeter of their weirdly-shaped bodies. You can see it in the above picture on the lower-left hand side of the jellyfish. The current is the bright green line.

The coral at Linapacan was amazing! It was so alive and colorful.

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We headed to a fishing village on Linapacan where we snorkeled more and where our boatmen went to get some fish from the villagers.

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Since the village had already sold off all their morning catch of fish, we headed to another village. During our boat ride, the water was like glass. It was beautiful!

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So many times we saw hundreds of little fish jumping out of the water together. It was so cool!

We also saw a swordfish hopping on the water. Fish are so cool.

We stopped at a bigger village and got to go to a store. There was a talking bird at the store which spoke in Tagalog and also had a really crazy cackle that I wish I had recorded. We stocked up with Fudgee Barrs, Fanta (called Royal there), water, and an umbrella.

Our next stop was for more snorkeling and lunch at yet another incredible location.

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We stumbled upon more beautiful seashells.

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The views on this island were ridiculous.  After eating, I wanted to explore the jungle a bit. Jess was reading her Kindle, so I told Brandon and Travis I wanted to look for monkeys. I knew we wouldn't run into any, but I'm obsessed with them, so it was worth a shot.

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We did more snorkeling (surprise!), and it was actually my favorite spot of the entire trip. Travis and I were the only ones that snorkeled, but the others missed out, because look at this place...

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This is the place where I actually saw a sea turtle! It was so exciting! We also saw cool hornfish that were a couple feet long. With that deep blue dropoff, I couldn't help but look in the distance to check for large looming shark figures that might pop up at any moment.

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Brandon and Jess mostly decided not to snorkel because of the jellyfish. Some of them were more visible than the ones we had encountered earlier in the day, thankfully (I guess?). The next day would we find out what a real jellyfish looks like.

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Brandon and Travis spent some time watching out boat buddies fish. They caught squid and some beautifully-colorful fish.

Our last stop for the day was our beach camp.

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At this site, I forced Brandon to do some more snorkeling with me. The current was extremely strong, but we were rewarded for our efforts with a huge stingray sighting. I also saw a small shark! Even though I'm super afraid of sharks (is anyone not afraid of them?) I found myself swimming towards it so I could point it out to Brandon. Unfortunately, sound doesn't carry to human ears very well underwater, so by the time I explained what I had seen, the shark was gone.

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We skipped rocks and played with the hermit crabs on the beach. Once our fire was up and going, we found that the hermit crabs had a death wish, and kept falling into the fire. They'd start climbing out, only to fall back in; but when we'd help them out, they'd crawl back towards the fire. You can only do so much, ya know? Dinner wasn't our favorite. We had hit our fish and rice max by then. Jess and I ate plain rice, Travis ate all the fish, and Brandon wasn't feeling good, so he didn't even eat. We were in bed by 8.  I'm sure our boat crew was probably used to groups who loved to party on the beach at night, but we went to bed earlier than 9 all three nights--earlier each night than the night before. Partayyyy! Snorkeling and the Filipino sun really take it out of you!