Today we had another day of Whale Shark watching and this time there were a few more boats out in the water plus we had a new guide who was a fair bit older than our ‘lad’ from yesterday – was this older guide’s eyesight going to be as good?
As there were more boats on the water it was going to be more difficult to get a shark to ourselves. Also, the sea which had been as flat as a millpond yesterday actually had some small waves on it today – making both spotting and keeping up with the animals just that bit more difficult as well but we still had a very successful day. On the boat this time we were joined by a couple of American ladies and as we chatted more to them, in between jumping in and out of the water, it transpired that one worked as a disaster relief co-ordinator who knew of organisations we could contact if we fancied volunteer work in the Philippines so we swapped email addresses for such – remember this for laters postings folks!
Today the intensity of the buzz was not quite as great as yesterday but it still was an excellent day as we saw two different Whale Sharks but saw them on six different occasions. As there were more boats, actually staying with them was a bit more difficult as we would be diving in on the back of another group who had spotted the shark first or they would be diving in on the back of us, so the water was a fair bit more crowded with anxious and excited viewers. It was quite difficult to remain focussed on the animal and yet still manage to avoid other swimmers in the water. I say swimmers but they were most probably either Filipinos or Chinese who could not swim at all or swim very well as they were fully kitted up in life preservers and all holding hands, forming a human wall and this wall was proving very difficult to negotiate our way past whilst we tried keeping up with the whale shark that had been spotted.
The whole experience was great though we had arrived at Legazpi expecting very little and in the first two days we had great such success both in terms of the number of sightings we had and the animals themselves are really worth it too. Although the earlier Whale Shark experience at Sipidan had been great as it was so very unexpected this was in some ways even better because you could take your time actually looking over the shark and appreciating it all the more for that. Often the sharks would be supported with a cast of Ramora fish stuck on the shark’s underbelly or side – all in all a great performance. Once again I cannot say enough just how very big, beautiful and yet graceful these animals are in the water.
After all the morning’s excitement we relaxed in the afternoon and readied ourselves for the firefly tour along the nearby river (Ogod River) to take place that night. We were picked up at the right time but it all seemed a bit ad hoc but as everything in the Philippines it normally works out so we went with the flow and awaited events to unfurl. After a short wait we were shown to the floating platform which was to be pulled by a smaller tug boat. It took us a while to get to the Mulberry trees where the Fireflies frequented and a bit more time for our eyes to become accustomed to seeing them but after awhile we could see lights up in the trees. Some would flash very quickly whilst others flashed very slowly – males and females and I will have to look up which is which but cannot presently remember. Now seeing the Fireflies, which are actually flying beetles, is one thing but actually photographing them is another thing entirely. Most of the photographs I took either did not turn out or just the very faintest dots of light came out, we might have invested in a new camera but not enough money to make photographing Fireflies easy enough. Our guide even caught a firefly but even then it simply went bug-like sans lights and even then I could not get a picture of it.