Asia | South East Asia | Philippines | Visayas – Monday Night
I took a much-needed nap that afternoon and when I woke up at about 3:30, my new friends were just arriving from their Balicasag dives. Of course, at the time, I had no idea they were going to become my friends, and I guess neither did they. Not just yet, anyway. But I was sitting at the veranda with a bad case of the just-woke-up stares, and they all started streaming in, raving about the day and the great dives they made. I just HAD to ask.
So we exchanged names (introduced ourselves; my name is still Edmond) and traded stories. I met Alex (Swiss-Filipina), Vanessa (Swiss), and then Jonjon and Robert (both Tagalog), all of whom are based in Boracay. With them were a bunch of travelers from different parts of England who had all come together at one point or another during their extended (we’re talking MONTHS here) vacations: Nicki, Becky, Julie, Jessica, Phil, and Steven. And then there was Renate, from Germany, also on a world tour, and Putty (Ilonggo) and Reynan (Boholano), both with Genesis Divers. Talk about a motley crew.
Sabine and I had talked about diving Arco Point (a 15-minute boat ride from Genesis) at around 4 o’clock but I was in vacation mode, in no hurry to do anything, and enjoying myself making friends, so I passed on the dive.
We did decide to do a night dive, though, me and Alex and Robert. Everyone else wanted to get showered up and to relax, so it was just the three of us. Alex went back to her hotel a little way down the beach to get some stuff she needed, and Robert and I just kicked back to watch the sun go down on my first day in Bohol.
Shortly after the sun had dipped below the horizon and the oranges and purples were mixing together like God’s watercolors, Alex returned and she and Robert and I geared up. Unhurriedly, of course — we were on vacation. Talked a bit about the dive we were going to do, and then made our way to the waterline.
Even at night, the water was just oh-so-perfect. I was tempted to take my wetsuit off, but then what would my new-found dive buddies think? ‘What is it REALLY you do in Manila when you’re not diving? Would you actually call that a DAY job?’ So I fought off the urge to strip and got on with the dive.
The reef looked completely different at night, with almost no fish moving around. But our torches painted the soft coral on the walls, and the whole palette of colors came alive as we swam along. Crustacean eyes glinted in every nook and cranny of the rocks, and every fold of soft coral. Decorator crabs, ghost shrimps, cleaner shrimps, hermit crabs (even one eating what seemed to be part of some kind of sea slug) — they had all come out to play.
We had originally planned to stay only 50 minutes, but we extended to almost 70 again because we were so engrossed. We only surfaced because Alex was starting to get cold, and we were all getting hungry.
After rinsing our gear and storing it for the night, we talked for a while and made plans for the evening. Jonjon and Vanessa were at the shop and told us where we could find everyone else, who had apparently already gotten the partying under way, and we all agreed to meet up after getting cleaned up.
So we had a nice time. The other guys had bought some meat and fish and barbecued it, and the table was barely visible beneath all the plates and the bottles. We ate, we drank. We sang, we danced. We partied the night away until it was time for them to head back and catch some rest; they still had to pack and get their gear together because they were leaving Bohol the very next day (more like in a few hours). Off toward their next destination.