Today we had signed up for a dolphin watching tour with a guide of mixed parentage. Not really sure why I mention this but I think depending upon who he spoke to changed where he came from (like a chameleon). With us he was mainly of Greek parentage with an undercurrent of English! He was a large guy and because of this and possibly the heat he was somewhat sweaty and seemingly under a lot of pressure – not sure if all of this was linked or not but we met him and the other person who would accompany us on our trip – a Mr Mike Reagan (a relation of Ronald?). The ‘tour bus’ was a bit worse for wear and ‘Stavros’ came accompanied by his young Filipino wife – strange how love works eh!
Mike was a nice kind of guy, for an American (lol), and funnily enough he had quite a number of opinions on guns and conspiracy theories, which came out more and more during the course of the day. We dare not disagree with him in case he shot us – lol – no seriously! He had recently retired and chosen the Philippines as being the place to retire to and was now in the process of looking for a house. He had previously worked as a prison officer and most of the inmates did his bidding, (so he said) his employers had wanted him to stay on so he must have been doing something right. The ride to where we picked up our boat was quite a way out of Dumaguete so plenty of time to get to know our fellow passenger. We had many conversations but looking back I am sure it was Mike doing most of the talking, he said this was the way his conversations usually went because he was an Alpha male type of guy!
Our ‘guide(s)’ left us whilst we boarded our next transport. Our dolphin watching boat was a small banka with outriggers and the trip would take us to the waters in between Dumaguete and Cebu island and this took a good hour or so to get to. The sea was calm and this was good because the boat was so small and the seating somewhat hard on the bum bone.
We saw nothing for ages and then it happened we started seeing more and more small pods of small dark dolphins about 20 or 30 per pod. The odd one or two must have realised they were being watched and they put on a bit of a performance for us, jumping up out of the water and swimming inches in front of our boat.
It really was a great sight and even better for being on such a small boat as we were so close to the action. Each of us had a go at the prow of the boat and we took photos and films but best of all just enjoyed the moment – it was really special. There were only a couple of other boats on the water but these were bigger so a bit slower to turn and the people on them were quite a way above the water so the banka, although not the most comfortable is the boat of choice for dolphin watching in my book.
During the trip back to our guide we stopped for lunch at a partially submerged sand bar with moorings which was great for a swim as it was so shallow and really very warm too. We had not realised we would be going for a swim on our trip so me and Liz had to strip down to our underwear and jump in. Lunch was basic but really nice and the setting was superb. We were all loving it in the water but eventually the time came when we had to leave but this had been one good trip – well worth the money.
In the jeepney on our way back to Dumaguete Mike’s opinions became a bit more extreme and Liz calmed him down by asking him some pertinent questions on the second amendment which really brought him out of his shell but by this time we were past caring – we had seen dolphins, beautiful creatures, in the wild too, which is how it should be – loads of them! Possibly because of the rants from Mike the way back seemed to take an age but when we got there we thought we would treat ourselves to a meal at the Casablanca before the long walk home.
Walking home after feasting we stopped off at the ferry terminal to confirm the times to Siquour Island – the Oceanjet website had on it that we could catch an early morning ferry – so we could have a good day out there tomorrow. However, the website was wrong and so was the poster on the Oceanjet ticket office in the terminal. It was only when we actually spoke to the lady behind the desk that we realised ‘our mistake’ we should have known that the ferries only ran later in the day. Siquour Island would have to be cancelled as our itinerary was already quite tight for the Philippines and the ferry time would mean having to stay overnight or only an hour on the island so it was a no go – bum .