|Famous tarsiers of Bohol|
We found the Piratas Alona Dive Shop, as recommended by a friend from Dumaguete, and arranged to go on a dive trip the next day. The next order of business was to figure out how to meet up with Paul and Anne who were staying in a town called Loboc on the mainland of Bohol. We had considered renting motorbikes but knowing it would be dark and given the distance, we decided to try to find a driver. We stopped by the tourist police office and what do you know, the officer "knows a guy." So we arranged for 8 hours of his drivers' time the next day, to take us to Loboc and back. With the logistics settled, we chose from the many similar beachside restaurants for our first dinner in Alona.
The next day we could see that Queenie had done some damage to several boats at Alona Beach - a few had sank in the water and several were pulled up on shore and detached from their engines. All of this chaos made it difficult for our dive boat to get close enough to load up, so we were delayed in getting out. Thankfully, it was a pretty quick trip to Balicasag Island and we were in the water by 11:00AM. At the first dive site, the swells and current were very strong on the surface. Usually once under the water its much calmer, but this dive was an exception - the current was strong enough that we had to swim against it to avoid drifting really far away! But the visibility was good and the scenery was full of life. Our second dive was the longest one we've ever done - 62 minutes total, with lots of turtles gently paddling about or scratching themselves on coral.
|Preparing to enter the choppy waters at Balicasag Island|
We continued on to Loboc and met up with Paul and Anne at their hotel, a small set of riverside cottages. It was drizzling and threatening to rain, but mostly held off. Once the sun set, we were going to get on stand-up paddle boards and head down the river to look at fireflies, which gather by the hundreds or thousands at a certain type of tree. We were told that the rain decreases the chances they would be out, but we forged ahead anyway. Although the river looked like it was going at a pretty good flow, the boards cut easily through the current and we were on our way in the dark!
|Juli paddling down the river|
|Thousands of fireflies gather in 'mother trees' along the Loboc river|
There was one more mother tree a bit further downstream, but that was it. Then began the harder paddle upstream, which seemed to take a while even though we didn't need to go all the way back to the cottages as a van picked us up. Fortunately, all of us survived the trip without a single fall into the river!
|A successful night paddle!|
We arrived back at the cottages and enjoyed dinner and a few beers together, as well as playing with a new puppy that the owners had picked up the day prior. It was good times as usual with Paul and Anne and we were all sad that this would be our last time to hang out for quite some time. Like us they are focused on more far-flung travel for now, figuring they can hit the States later…but hopefully we'll figure out a way to meet up again sometime soon. Before we knew it, it was 10pm and time to catch our ride back to Alona Beach.
|Yes, she actually wanted to take him home|
|Numerous Nemos to be seen while snorkeling!|
We went back up to the resort and Juli got a massage which was included in our hotel stay. Not a fan of massage, I just took a dip in the pool, did some reading, and enjoyed our final views of Alona Beach - which are quite spectacular from the Amorita Resort viewpoint.
|NOT a budget hostel...when we splurge, we do it right!|