This is a story in pictures.
Location: Somewhere off the coast of Panglao Island in the middle of the ocean
Date: Summer 2013
Cast of Characters: The Water Junkie (a.k.a. ME!!!), The Nature Lover (a.k.a. my mother), The Guides (our trusty boatman and his spry little assistant, who turned out to be his sibling), The Elusive Ones (the precious dolphins we wanted to catch sight of)
How To Get There: Take a plane to the province of Bohol in the Philippines, choose a base in Panglao Island, and work out an arrangement with a local boat guide. (Or do it our way: coming from Cebu, we took a ferry to Bohol, hitting two provinces with one plane ride :P)
Objective of the Day: Dolphin Watching
What To Bring: Patience (LOTS of it). Oh, and please, never, ever forget sunblock (and sunglasses)!
Prelude: At the crack of dawn, we left our hotel room to see a man in a motorcycle waiting to pick us up. Just like that, we hopped on the motorcycle, sans helmets or knee pads or any safety features, me holding on for dear life and clutching our floppy hats and cameras, hoping against hope I wouldn’t come face-to-face with the dirt road we were passing by anytime soon. (My mother and I have a knack for doing spontaneous things like this – I remember a night of looking for authentic Thai massage in Bangkok and hopping on yet again another mysterious motorcycle ride.)
This is how Panglao Island looks like at just after five in the morning! I was amazed at how the clear the water looked and how calm it was.
The early morning mist makes for a very hazy backdrop. I love early mornings! They show me a time of the day when things are cool and fresh, when the sky color is different and enchanting, and they give you a feeling of a promising (if not, productive) day ahead.
Very much like a distilled water ad. So Fresh Mineral Water – my ever-reliable source of clean, refreshing water no matter where I go. (I am such a frustrated actress hahaha).
Our boat! So excited for the dolphin watchinggggg!
Our guides promised us we would see dolphins that day. We hoped so!!!
We passed by this boat on our way “out into the ocean” – he seems primed for another day at work! Such a beautiful working environment, if you ask me.
My mother has her camera gear ready. Might still be a long wait, though…
It’s not every day you get to spend a day this way…lost at sea…waiting, waiting for a dolphin…
The clear dark blue sea. No dolphin in sight yet. Must move further, further…
Looking, looking… This boy was our assistant guide. He seems to be the expert in watching out for dolphins…
I love this “action shot”. Our boat was actually propelled by a motor controlled by our main guide at the back, but I guess this is to guide the direction of the boat.
Directly in front of me, I saw something looming. Ever the documentation girl who hates to miss a shot, I wanted to capture it right away.
Don’t you just love the colors? This boat was also filled with dolphin watchers like us. It must be the peak season since it’s summer.
This is one of my favorite shots. It speaks volumes and it shows a hardworking young boy looking at the horizon, his eyes sharp and much more experienced than ours, alert to everything going on in the sea.
Because we recognized that it oh, boy, it WAS a long wait, we wanted to amuse ourselves. Our favorite thing to do is taking pictures and posing (and then posting, HAHAHA). This is a quirky habit not shared by my sister, she just thinks my mother and I are crazy and vain. But it makes for great memories and stories, so I beg to differ.
My mother was obviously enjoying herself.
I believe the most beautiful pictures are the most uncontrived ones. Where the subject is just in his or her natural element. My mother loves nature and she is fond of taking pictures of everything she sees in her travels – from the landscapes, to the sunsets, to bodies of water. Hence, this shot shows her at her most relaxed.
Classic shot. Clean, simple, natural.
Meanwhile, back to the hunt…
See those boats in the distance? More “dolphin hunters” are coming! We mean no harm, though. We just want to catch a glimpse of dolphins in their natural environment. Patience, patience, my dear…
Any moment now…
*Sigh.* Waiting was making me restless – patience is indeed quite a virtue to master. Where
ARE the dolphins???
More photo ops, then!
My mother sitting at the edge of her seat in anticipation!
At this point, our guides asked us to please don our life jackets, as we were getting closer to the site where dolphins usually appear. They told us to stand closer towards the edge of the boat, in order to better catch the moment.
We could barely contain our excitement!!!
A throng of boats just like ours were waiting in the same area! Game on!!! Let’s see who sees a dolphin first!
Join us in The Hunt!!!
As more and more boats gathered and waited, I could feel the growing sense of excitement in the air. Everyone had waited a long time for this. Everyone came this far JUST to see this.
Just then, our guide suddenly exclaimed, “There! There! Look! A dolphin!!!” My mother and I flew from our seats to the edge of the boat and stood there expectantly.
“Where?” I asked the guide. “WHERE??? OH!!!!”
I screamed happily when I see a familiar-looking tail going in and out of the water and jumping in a perfect arc. IT WAS A DOLPHIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
My mother also saw the dolphin and together, we shrieked some more. OH, MY GOD. WE SAW A DOLPHINNNNNNNN.
We were grinning like crazy at each other and high-five-ing each other. This was such a cool, COOL experience. At this point, we decided to abandon all cameras, forget about capturing the moment, and just keep our eyes open for MORE dolphins.
Our guide was very, very good at pointing out the dolphin. We noticed that we were the only ones shrieking and making a fuss and when the other boats realized we saw one, the passengers in them all stood up and started looking at the water.
We saw it first – mwahahahaha!!!!!
Wait, there’s more!!!
My mother and I were overjoyed when we saw not one, but two, three, four, and FIVE dolphins – swimming one after the other! It all happened so fast we couldn’t capture them on film. But it was the most amazing thing ever!!!
THIS IS SO MUCH FUN!!
Oh, God, more dolphinssssss!!!!! I saw one more dolphin as the boat sped away to a place less populated by other boats! Niceeeeee!
Damn, I love the thrill of the chase!
Here is my very happy mother after that adrenaline-pumping activity!
The boat behind just saw a dolphin and they are also making a commotion just like we did. 🙂
So long, dolphins. Thanks for showing yourselves to us! It was definitely WORTH the wait.