Here is an addition to the blog. Thank you!

Lars Alfredson
Sat 23 Jan 2016 04:42

While sitting at the Seadive Resort restaurant (not much of a resort really as they were always running out of beer), pondering where to go next during my last week in the Philippines, I overheard some people at the table next to me discussing the pirate attack in Mindanao. It turned out that I was sitting next to a crew of sailors who had recently escaped a pirate attack in Papua New Guinea. One of the crew, Darryl, sat down at my table and, after an hour or so of describing his exciting two-month trip from the Solomon Islands, said they were short some crew (everyone survived the attack, but two crew members needed a vacation after being tied up by the pirates). For some unexplainable reason, listening to their riveting story of the pirate attack didn't make me want to run for the hills. Lars invited me to come aboard from Coron to Puerto Galera, with a stop at Apo Reef. I jumped at the chance while hoping I wouldn't get seasick crossing the South China Sea.

Darryl kindly gave up the cabin he had only gotten to enjoy for a total of 4 days and returned to his bed on the living room sofa. Before setting off from Coron, we had to do some shopping. As we walked from shop to shop looking for items, Kenneth kept mentioning with a groan that we might have to go to "the market." This was quickly followed by more groans from Lars and Darryl. I thought all the shops on the street were the market. I was wrong. As we all loaded into a tricycle, I wondered why the market wasn't in the center of town. And as we approached the barren desert separating the town from the market, I also wondered why they would store raw meat and fish in the hottest, sandiest part of town. As you got closer to the large red tent that covered the town market, the smell of raw meat got stronger. We passed over the pig heads in favor of shrimp and escaped quite quickly in a tricycle.

Darryl showed me how to hoist the anchor and once we got away from all the islands, Lars asked me if I'd like to steer. "Sure," I said. It took me a little while to sort out the steering wheel's delayed reaction time (it is not like driving a car), as could be noted by the squiggly path we took for the first 20 minutes I was steering.

We found a beautiful place to snorkel near Lusong Island (the same island around which a Japanese warship sank). Kenneth cooked up some lovely shrimp for dinner and we played some Mexican Train. Kenneth got a big head start -- I was already 100 points behind after only the second of thirteen games. Darryl and I played a couple rounds of chess (he won each game with menacing speed). Then we were off to find a place to sleep for the night--a nice quiet cove that also happened to have beautiful coral. I slept in a hammock and fell asleep watching the stars.