Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Apo, at Long Last

gateway to Apo Island

island of limestone and corals

the 1.5 hectare Marine Sanctuary

Just three steps from the shore and it's coral heaven already. There's an amazing other world beneath these waters.


I want to write some more about our Apo adventure, but am so sleepy now... Plus, I have to fix my stuff... for another adventure is coming straight up...! So, early to bed for now, then wake up at dawn to do all the things I need to do. As for all my other unfinished travel/lakwacha posts, my 'promise' to myself is "one day, someday, I will write more about that." As to when, that is the big question. Hopefully, before I totally forget them.

P.S. Okay, only this very brief one: My back is red and sore. Especially the back of my thighs. It is painful to sit and to stand from sitting. Aaaaww-ouch! Looks like the amount of sunscreen used was not proportional to the amount of time snorkling. But, definitely, no regrets! All these little discomforts (including the gash on my foot when the waves dashed me against the rocks when I wasn't wearing protective shoes, and the numerous cuts and what nots on my arms and legs earned while hiking up the mountain) are all worth it.

I wanna go again! And not just for a day. Kulang! So next time we go, we'll pitch a tent, find that elusive turtle, and climb up to the lighthouse. Always wishing, dreaming, planning. :-)



Lloyd said...

Evocative above-water pictures! Makes me wonder what is underneath the waves. What's the condition of the coral there? Healthy? Thriving? Any signs of bleaching? (Coral bleaching is one of the call signs of global warming--a canary in the coal mine, so to speak.)

ness said...

Exactly, Lou,

That was the most noticeable thing, the loss of color of the corals. Although there were patches of vivid color here and there, majority of the coral population was, well, "dark coral" in color. I didn't know that was called 'coral bleaching' diay.

Another noticeable thing: the water level seemed to have gone down so that some of the corals were very near the surface. We didn't have to dive and they were within arms reach already.

I don't know how this will affect the fish population, which the sanctuary guard told us not to feed, otherwise they might get used to this artificial food and alter the delicate balance of the marine ecosystem.

The fish were very friendly, they didn't mind us invading their sanctuary. A navy blue species would even look us eye to eye and swim directly to our masks. Unlike the corals, the fish have retained their incredible colors and variety of design.

As to the health of the corals... well, I tried to recall my Marine Biology lessons ages ago to come up with a diagnosis... and failed. I used to know all the scientific names and common names of these lovely animals. Now the only name that I can recall is Holothuria, the sea cucumber, and that's not a coral.

Thriving, I would say yes. There were lots of new growths all around, and the older ones were waving gaily and stoutly about.

Well, what do you know. This is a very long reply already to a comment, even longer than some of my posts, yet my fingers won't stop. It's the adrenalin. It's almost five am and I haven't slept a wink since yesterday.