Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Capsized in Bingag

We were off to Bingag Marine Sanctuary last week in Panglao, Bohol. Because it is low tide, we cannot use the bigger outrigger boat which would scrape some of the corals in the shallow areas within the sanctuary. As a better option, we paddled on to these small outrigger boats. Ka Gilbert went with Toni and I went with Ka Salgy. We paddled towards the floating guard house and went around where the table corals were and then went towards where Toni motioned us to follow. Mid-morning and the sun was scorching hot. The surf was a bit strong that morning and we swayed along. We got our digital cameras in their underwater housings and snorkelled. Fishes were abundant and the corals well intact and more diverse than I expected. There were lots of jellyfishes that started to sting and I was having difficulty to focus the camera due to the constant movement of the surf and movement of the current against the wind. I swam towards Toni and told her I will be going back to shore. We had a very small paddle boat and I realized that it takes some acrobatic moves to get my self back on board. I put my feet up first, then as Ka Salgy tried to counter balance his weight towards the other side while I pull myself up the boat. After much effort, at last, I was able to sit on top and we gave a sigh and as soon as I said "Thank God", this huge wave hit us. And as if in slow motion, my thoughts went "Oh no..." and slowly we went down and boat was over turned in less than 5 seconds. Good thing I still had my snorkel on. I thought "where is the camera, its not mine, it belongs to the office" and as I looked underwater, Ka Salgy was trying to upright the boat and he scrambled towards a massive coral head. I saw his foot sink into the middle of a beautiful group of branching acropora corals. I was trying to speak and shout "no no no *&%$$88%$#@" and they all thought I saw a sea snake or something. At that moment Toni said she got the camera which was floating towards her. We were all laughing at the whole scene. This is the first time I capsized and I can't stop laughing through my snorkel. Eventually, Ka Gilbert and Salgy was able to upright the boat and we swam and pushed the boat to shore with all this invisible jelly fish on the way. All in a day's work.

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