We saved the best island hopping trip till last and it was time to explore Bacuit Bay near El Nido. We were on a boat with about 18 people and were hoping to get a good group with some westerners to chat to but we ended up with lots of Filipinos, some monotone chaps and a bloke that had the look of a serial killer. Thankfully our boat became over capacity so we nominated ourselves to move onto another boat where we found some good old English conversation.
We set off on calm waters past incredible islands that practically shot out the sea sky high. Our first stop was Big Lagoon. We veered towards the dramatic limestone walls to where a section opened up ahead like a narrow corridor. The sea went from dark blue to twinkling turquoise with coral beneath until it was just white sand and the water was translucent. It was insanely clear and beautiful we were all in ore. Because it was high tide our boat could enter the lagoon so we continued along the clear water till it started darkening again from emerald to navy where the lagoon was revealed and we were gliding along a large oval pool surrounded by sheer walls on all sides. The lagoon was full of jellyfish so no swimming here sadly.
When we exited the lagoon lots more boats had anchored up outside and it was quite busy getting through with the boatmen having to run along the bamboo stabilisers and pushing us away from other boats. To add to the drama people were snorkelling by their boats, the boatmen were making lots of noise and most people heard and moved away but one local lady was oblivious and all of a sudden we were coming right for her. One of the boatmen dove into the sea and shoved her head underwater just a split second before the bamboo would of hit her. It was so close! But we all gave our guide a big cheer when he got back on board only to realise he’d lost his sunglasses in the sea and had to dive back in.
The next stop was Secret Lagoon where we had to swim along a rocky area of the sea till we reached a small hole in a rock face. Our guide waited on one side and directed us to carefully sit on a rock and swivel around . The secret lagoon was tiny inside, but the 360 degree walls around it rose like high rises in a city intersection. The tops of the limestone walls were sharp daggers, razor sharp – Mother Nature sure wanted to keep this spot a secret!! But alas it was busy with people and the water inside was rather murky and shallow, we still enjoyed a dip though and afterwards had a walk along a beach backed by sheer cliffs.
The boatmen took us to Shimizu Island for a buffet lunch which was extremely disappointing for a vegetarian. I eat some chicken but this stuff looked vile with each piece containing a blood covered bone. Craig picked himself a good bit of boneless meat only to realise it was a chicken oesophagus.
We snorkelled from the beach and the coral wasn’t looking too healthy. We did see a giant barracuda but jelly fish were stinging me and we gave up after a while.
Small Lagoon was even busier than the other spots but it was fine. We went straight from our boat onto kayaks and were told to head right. I told Craig we should hire the kayaks as I’d read it was great here…but then we realised there was nothing to see and felt like we’d been scammed. Is this the lagoon already?! Then we saw a hole in the rock…ah there it is! We managed to kayak through the gap, although the kayak got a little bump from a rock below the surface. The lagoon was filled with beautiful greeny blue waters and had three sort of fingers to kayak around. We enjoyed the first and biggest section where the water was clear enough to see the floor and we jumped from rocks and the kayak to cool off.
Our final stop for the day was Seven Commandos Beach, named after the namesake shipwreck in the waters nearby. The beach was lined with boats but still very beautiful with soft white sand and clear blue sea. We managed to join in on a volleyball game which was good fun although I’ve never played before and didn’t really know what was going on, I was just happy to hit the ball. We continued chatting on the boat back and the boatmen had to awkwardly tell us ‘ok we are back now…tour over’ after waiting patiently with the anchor already sunk and the steps pulled down.