Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Life on The Island

Everyday we wake up with the sun. It is really good for your body. Earlier you wake up, better you feel. Try it. Morning bathe in the sea with our friendly fish. Making a fire and cooking the rice. Checking the fishing net. Snorkeling. Swimming. On the evening after "mosquito time!" (the worst time is just before sun disappear totally in the sea and last for one hour) we drink some Tanduay Rhum and just doing nothing. Swimming, singing, laughing. Real freedom.

We found out who the big trails belong to. There are at least 7 monitor lizards near our camp. A lot more on whole island, that's for sure. One of them dug a nest in the sand 100 meters from us. We can hear them at night, they coming very close, looking for food. Hopefully we are not their target...:)

We hang the rice in the bag on the tree so they can't reach it. I don't know if they would eat it though... After first night I saw small holes in the rice bag. Probably hermit crabs. The problem is that the lizards are more and more audacious... Every day they coming closer and in bigger groups... Well, they are not really dangerous. Only if they would bite you- their saliva is toxic and full of bacteria as they eat everything. But they would bite you only if they would sense the danger. I don't know what you would have to do to provoke them, to be honest. You cannot step on them by accident or something as they are really fast beasts.

Mark dug a big hole in the sand. Wants to catch one. Do not kill, just catch, make some photos and release. Well. I am just wondering how he will release the angry lizard from the hole anyway... It took him like 3 hours digging in the sand under the tropical sun heat. He covered the hole by banana leaves and put some fish head in the middle.
We wait. And wait. And wait. And, there he is. Walking slowly examining the air with his long tongue. Come closer...he came closer, looked at the bait and turned back! Well, they are more clever than we thought :)

The next day the hole cover and banana leaves were inside the hole and fish head disappeared. It seems that the hole wasn't deep enough, the lizard simply got out from the hole.

One day I tried to fix my spear gun but with no success. Made 2 knots on the remaining rubber to make it more tight but it did not help. The power was half of the original. Anyway I tried to catch more fish.
I went to my fishing kingdom (rocks on the left) and dive.


Seen a lot of fish. The big ones are very shy but the smaller are curious and not afraid. Tracked one of them, quite big, maybe 30-35 cm. She try to swim away but I keep my eye on her. Following her, she wants to hide between the rocks where the much bigger one was hiding. The bigger one bitten the one I was chasing, seems that it was her home. It was really hard to target and come closer to the hole between the sharp rocks because of the waves. I don't want to cut myself on the rocks, the infection in this temperature on The Island would be really fast and dangerous. Mark cut his feet on the coral when he jumped from the boat during the island hopping first day in El Nido and the wound is healing really slowly. By the way, if you will cut yourself on the coral, under no circumstances treat it with iodine- corals feeds on it and they can grow inside your wound. But, I want to catch this big fish. The thing is that rocks and corals are covered with plants and seaweeds and I don't want to put my hand or leg into this stuff. Dunno what is inside... But I want this fish! F*ck that, I was keeping myself against the rock by putting the spear gun as a pole which helps me not going forward to the hole where the fish are. I put my legs on the rocks into the deep plants (I really want to catch this fish...) so now I have three points of footing (?) and waves can blow me only back where there is no rocks. I aimed at the fish. Shot.......the spear power was like a spit of an old man...

Came back to the camp with nothing...(well, at least I forced myself to put my legs into the stuff on the rocks, now I am not afraid of it :)) This spear gun sucks. No more fishing with it. I wish it would not broke... first day I've caught two small fish with the original power, so it would be easier to catch a big one...maybe... Well, time for hook and line fishing... We need something more than rice and green mangoes..

During my fishing I came across some small jellyfish, heard that the small ones are sometimes more dangerous than the big ones. I don't know what was the species I have seen, did not want to try if it was the dangerous one. Also, I had to fish in the long sleeves as there were a lot of tiny plankton, jellyfish-like, invisible in the water. I think it was Richard who told me that they are called nick-nacks (?) and are very popular in Australian waters. I could feel they sting all over my body, it was not really painful though and last just few seconds. Just little annoying stuff.

Regarding dangerous sea life, there was nothing to be really afraid of to be honest. Only sea urchins and jellyfish. Once we saw really fast moving fin very far in the sea, I don't know what that was, maybe a whale or dolphin? Apart of that only razor-sharp corals and rocks (on which I was walking everyday in order to get to my fishing spot) mosquitoes and sand flies. And heat. Almost paradise :) Well, almost makes a difference :)


  1. hy Martin! very interesting stories!!
    I'am going to puerto princessa this week for 15 days, and would like to do a trip like you. do you think there isq some island accessible by kayak? where was your island? south or north to el Nino?

  2. Hi Mathieu,

    Our Island was North of El Nido, not accessible by kayak I am affraid. You can do some camping around El Nido, even Puerto or Port Barton, all you need to do is to ask local people.

    I would not go far on the kayak as seas are changing very quick. Once in Port Barton we've been too far and the weather changed in 15 minutes, very big waves as for kayak, so be careful.

    As I said, the best option is to ask local fisherman and ask him to give you a lift.

    Good luck with your trip!
    Mabuhay :)

  3. Around March of next year will be our turn to do this, me and 2 of my buddies. I was lucky enough to see your Youtube videos, exactly the literature we needed for our trip. Did you know that those monitor lizards are delicacy in the Philippines? Their meat is very expensive in Manila so they started farming them. They' re locally called 'bayawak' in Tagalog and the meat is supposedly tender and taste a little better than chicken.
    Thanks for your blog and videos. Cheers!