The travel books recommend Honda Bay for a day trip of island hopping. As we stayed there for 2 days we indeed took advantage and got on a trip that took us to 3 islands. 1, ? Something reef? 2. Starfish island 3. Pandan island.
As we didn't go through a tour operator the whole thing cost 300p, not including all the island fees tht u needed to pay.
We were finally going to ride a Banca. These skinny boats with pontoons of bamboo. The canopy is great for sun and rain protection. And the drivers use a combination of older methods, bamboo sticks for initial boat steering & docking, and new age motors.
1) The Reef - *Meghans favorite
Boats all pulled up to a man-made floating island and dock. you had to walk into the middle where you could jump into the water above the reef.
Although it had a protected section in the middle and u had to wear ghetto lifejackets that raised up in the water, irritating your whole upper body.
The fish were spectacular!!
We saw all kinds, parrot fish, sunspot fish, angel fish, needle nose. There were plenty of small fish, colorful fish, camo fish, and more I don't know the names of. If you floated still enough they might swim up to come and say hello.
MC was fortunate enough to see an octopus creep around some coral.
It's colors were brown and beige-ish, so as to blend in with it's environment. And he did. Very hard to see. but it could be seen when it's tentacles spread out to move around.
2) Starfish Island- * Carl's Favorite
After we went to starfish island. On this island there were huts for vegging out under, some selling snacks and another area that had picture props including Hula skirts and cutouts that you could stick your head in.
We skipped most of this after we found out they didn't have any cold beer. And headed to the outstretch of beach that eventually disappeared into water. Here we layed out in the sand and just relaxed. This was our first time on a swimable beach since being in the Philippines and it felt great. When we got hot, we'd walk out into the water and cool off.
** the water was still very warm, in some places it seemed hotter than the air.
We brought our snorkel gear and swam out about 15 meters and got to see more beautiful fish swimming and feeding on the coral. We stayed on this island for an hour.
It seemed like we were only there for 30 minutes and we were bein called by our boat driver to leave.
3) Pandan Island
Arriving at this island was very interesting because it seemed like a recreational playground. There was designating docking area for boats and swimming areas for the tourists.
When looking toward this island there are colorful flags that decorate the beaches edge. Followed by bamboo cabanas made with seats an a table for eating lunch in. Behind the cabanas you find loads of eating space of tables, and grilling spots.
It seems confusing at first, and you can find the map to help sort it out.
To the left is some vending shops, carrying hats, shorts, shirts and tidbits. Next to it is the henna tattoo station. In the middle is the activity area, a volleyball net. Behind there is a kitchen for the bar and only local food place. In front and next to activity area is the local food vendor. A small hut, that has a couple large buckets of water with fresh caught fish( dead), some clams for soups, lobsters, crabs an urchins. You select your choice of meat and they grill it up. Rice to serve 4 is 50p extra, a salad of seaweed, onion, peppers and vinegar dressing is 25p
(this is surprisingly good!! The seaweed were these strands of small bubble-things.. That popped/crunched in your mouth. Paired with the fresh zesty onion. Mmmmm)
Next to the local food vender was the comfort station. Showers, washroom etc. by the time we left this comfort room wa destroyed. The smell almost creeped to the beach, an the showers were flooding over. Needless to say. The water is the best comfort room on that island.
After the comfort room and some meters away was the bar. Expensive place to eat and drink. An we didn't spend any time there. We found cheaper huts to get moderately cold beer from. Behind that was the community grilling area. Toward the beach you could find a stall that rented out the cabanas, kayaks, volleyball, etc.
Not much is free here.
What an island!! A tourists playground on an island sanctuary!
So we spent many hours here. We squated in a cabana with another couple for most of the time. Drinkin beers, eating fish, rice and salad. Protecting our white skin from the UV as we had clearly burnt by this time.
It was worth the time to take this trip. A great introduction to the many island hopping adventures I'm sure to come.