Snorkeling in Boracay
I felt like Jacques Cousteau! Thousands of colorful creatures swam all around me. I saw brilliant yellow fins and sky blue bodies. There were purple and orange fish, and some which were chocolate brown with white polka dots. The fish came in an endless array of shapes and sizes and a rainbow of hues, even a lovely neon pink. It was amazing!
Snorkeling off the coast of Boracay Island in the Philippines was a memorable experience. Twelve of us rented a boat one morning to have a look at a nearby coral reef and its interesting inhabitants. Our guide Dee Dee and her brother-in-law Henry took us out to Crocodile Island. There are no crocodiles there, but viewed from afar the outline of the island is truly crocodilian. Outfitted with first class snorkeling equipment we maneuvered our way over the bamboo struts on either side of our boat and plunged into the water. The scene below was like something right out of a Jacques Cousteau National Geographic special. The water around Boracay is pristine, supposedly the clearest in the world, thus providing a spectacular view of the coral on the ocean floor.
Everywhere I looked there seemed to be a unique kind of coral. Some resembled giant mushrooms; others were more like cauliflower heads or domes with mazes etched into them. I saw inky black coral that had the shape of porcupine quills and others that looked like the human brain. One reminded me of giant fingers and another was imprinted with a design similar to that on a cameo brooch or necklace.
The waters around Boracay are known for their sharks, but fortunately none came our way. We did see a jelly fish but it kept its distance. I was impressed with the royal blue starfish everywhere and a black and white striped sea snake. Only later did I find out it was poisonous. After about an hour our guide Dee Dee said it was time to head back. I was the last one out of the water. I just couldn’t get enough of the ocean landscape below us.
Young Boracay men were hovering around our snorkeling boat in little outrigger canoes which were loaded with coconuts. For about fifty cents you could buy a coconut with a straw and drink its juice. It was the perfect way to end our snorkeling experience.
We had more excitement to come however. As we headed home and rounded the end of Boracay Island the waves grew larger and larger. Soon our boat was rocking dangerously from side to side and we could see Henry struggling at the steering wheel to keep us headed straight on into the waves. When Dee Dee instructed us to all put our life jackets on, I got a little nervous. That feeling only intensified when Dee Dee began to finger the cross around her neck and whisper, “Jesus save us. God protect us.” My husband Dave was calm however, claiming he had often seen much bigger breakers on Lake Erie. Having grown up in a community on the shores of one of North America’s Great Lakes he was well acquainted with its high waves and storms. I admit I was not as relaxed as he was and pretty much held my breath till we rounded the cape of the Boracay and entered more placid waters. Although I wouldn’t want to live through those tense fifteen or twenty minutes again they did help to insure that snorkeling on Boracay Island in the Philippines is not an experience I am likely to ever forget!
Published on 12/14/08