Adventures With Dick – Private Island Part 2
It will be recalled that in Part 1 of this tale, my crazy buddy and I had set out with a couple of new recruits into the horizontal athletic club – Marilee and Glorie-Ann for a Private island in Palawan with a great little resort. We therefore pick up the story at breakfast on day 2 of our stay at the Miniloc Island Resort…
After breakfast the following morning, over which Dick announces, “Today we are going to find the famous big and little lagoons”. Evidently this one of the few things that Palawan is renowned for. So on securing a couple of brightly coloured two-man kayaks from the beach and on informing the resident boatman of our planned destination, he did however warn that we would not be able to access big lagoon until after 12 noon due to low tide. Remembering our recent white surfing moment with Captain Courageous and the screaming outboard of the previous day, both Dick and I dismissed this caution, with the wave of a hand and a, when in doubt, go faster attitude.
Our little fleet of kayaks, paddled slowly along the coast overlooked by the steep jagged cliffs, covered by jungle vegetation, even a tiny hidden beach before eventually arriving at the inlet to the Big Lagoon. The warm clear waters of Bacuit Bay were rushing into the inlet creating a set of mini-rapids, but only a few inches deep. Never being afraid to take the lead, fearless Captain Dick led the way, expertly navigating his way through rocks and coral with the even shallower draft of his kayak. Next it was our turn and after having offered up a quiet prayer to Poseidon the Greek God of the seas and hoping that his two sacred animals of the dolphin and the horse would help us ride the rapids, I set off. A minute of so later, with no more damage other than to my now palpitating heart we arrived into the calm sparkling waters of indeterminable depth in the impossibly blue Big Lagoon of Miniloc. Had I thought that the scenery of yesterday was amazing, this simply defied description, I was literally lost for words! This indeed was raw beauty on an unprecedented scale. After the narrow defile of the entrance, Big Lagoon opened up into a much larger, silent and what felt an almost secret space, surrounded by tall cathedral-like cliffs. This impression reinforced by the incredible fact that we were totally alone here … obviously other day-trippers and visitors had heeded the low tide warning.
Some thoughtful resort had moored a wooden raft in the middle of the lagoon, where we moored our trusty rapid-shooting kayaks. Obviously my prayer to Poseidon had not gone unanswered as we were each miraculously transformed into dolphins, one of his sacred animals. For the next hour or so we enjoyed total peace and solitude for our nude, dolphin like swimming, cavorting together like children in this incredible secret place.
That magic morning will stay with me for the rest of my life – one of the rare moments!
Sadly our privacy was eventually disturbed by Mother Nature and her turning of the tide, allowing the many day-trippers from El Nido and other resorts in on their larger outrigger boats. We quietly left to explore the small lagoon, but with once-in-lifetime memories to take with us. I wondered at that moment if life could indeed get much better than this.
Whilst small lagoon was scenically equally impressive in a more open area, it was sadly packed with outrigger boats carrying day tripping snorkelers. As we tried to avoid the masses in our kayaks, we each earned for a return to that magical hour of privacy. The next morning our unspoken thoughts were to be granted.
The resort had a resident Filipina hostess whose job it was to ensure that the guests were kept happy and busy. “Sir, you can choose from scuba diving, climbing, fishing, hiking, wind surfing, kayaking, sailing…”, she informed us at the breakfast table the next day. “Don’t you have a private beach or island that we can just spend the day on”, asked Dick – “You known Robinson Caruso style”, he finished. “Yes, sir, we can arrange that for you, sir”, she replied. “What would you like to do there sir”, she inquired. Both Dick and I burst out laughing … rather than embarrass the poor girl further I said, “Ahmm … we’d like to snorkel there – yes that’s what we’d like to do there”. “Certainly, sir, I will arrange that, sir, please report to the boat on the pier at 10:30, sir”, she ended up with.
The small outrigger that was to be our transport to Robinson Caruso Island was barely large enough for the four of us and the two-man crew. Nonetheless a gentle cruise to the south brought us to the pristine beach of the unidentified island. “What time you want pick up, sir”, asked our captain. “Let’s say 4 PM”, said Dick. “OK, sir”, he replied. The four of us were now officially castaways on an unknown island in the South Pacific … I could think of nothing better … and after all what could possibly go wrong?!
Needless to say the next hour or so we tried very hard to recreate the previous days dolphin mating antics in our respective birthday suits. After all, I’m sure Robinson Caruso didn’t have a swimming costume that he religiously changed into every time he ventured into the sea of his paradise island!
Just after noon another outrigger appeared. Now who the hell was coming to join us now. Hadn’t we specifically said a ‘deserted island’ to the Filipina hostess?
“Hello, sir – Your lunch is here sir”, shouted one of the boatman. The two guys unloaded a wooden table, four chairs, table linen, cutlery, another couple of umbrellas and enough food for a hungry African village. They then set up the whole ensemble under the few trees providing shade on the beach. The food included the beef fillet that I had noticed on the boat journey from the main El Nido airfield; there were prawns that better resembled small lobsters; fish, cold meats and a whole bunch of salads, rolls, some dessert looking concoction. Plus importantly another couple of dozen bitterly cold SML’s, safely ensconced in a cold box. After serving us, the guys clambered back into their boat with the parting shot of, Sir, you like Adam and Eve, sir”, whereupon the pair burst out laughing. We did wonder if they had not perhaps been spying on our dolphin impression antics immediately prior to their arrival!
We all laughed at their little joke and set about demolishing as much as we could of this ridiculously huge spread. After doing reasonable justice to it, we lounged, smoked and had another couple of beers just to make sure that we didn’t disappoint those that would have to clear up after us.
Sated, Dick was preparing to don his Professor’s hat, once again encouraging his nubile and willing young pupil Marilee to take the opportunity of practicing her newly learned skills in her study of BJs … after all as Dick often said, “Practice makes perfect”!
My Mom always told me that I couldn’t swim for at least an hour after eating, otherwise I would drown. So after the requisite hour, and not wishing to disturb Dick and Marilee in their studies, Glorie-Ann and I waded into the invitingly warm clear water. Almost immediately she threw off the top of her bikini towards me, swiftly followed by the bottom half. Obviously I simply couldn’t leave her alone in such a state of undress so followed her lead. So for the next few hours we spent perfecting the gentle art of underwater boom-boom. We were truly Mr. and Mrs. Robinson Caruso on this deserted island. The call of the tropical birds from the jungle, the sun, the gentle caress of the warm salt water on our naked bodies all made for a romantically magical interlude.
We were interrupted from our paradise-lost water athletics by a sudden crash, of what we would later discover were broken plates; followed by a “WTF” from Dick, who immediately started shouting in a loud and threatening voice, with such admonishments as “get the fu** away from there you …”. Seems as if we had unwanted visitors. Visions of Abu Sayyaf rebels flashed through my mind, together with Oh, my god, we’re going to be kidnapped from this tiny uninhabited island. I also had other such uncharitable thoughts that maybe the resort staff had sold us out!
Imagine my relief on finding that Dick was not in fact courageously taking on a band of island rebels single handedly, but was in fact screaming at a mid-sized monitor lizard that had dropped out of one of the trees over our food table. The Lizard obviously realised that Dick was indeed a man to be reckoned with when riled, so deciding that discretion was the better part of valor, grabbed a piece of left over meat and slithered off the table, disappearing into the jungle behind us.
Although we did indeed practice much in-water activities, very little snorkeling actually went on that day. In fact I do not recall once even picking up either a snorkel or facemask! Had we really been the Robinson Caruso family that we enacted that day, we would indeed have been delighted at the sight of a boat. However disappointingly at exactly 4pm the same crew that had dropped us off that morning appeared to collect us and the remains of a tropical island feast that had fed the four of us plus one large lizard.
That night as I drifted off to sleep with Glorie-Ann’s legs wrapped around me, her long black hair carelessly spread over my one shoulder, her breath gentle on my neck, I replayed scenes in my mind from our Caruso isle. Wondering what the morrow and our last full day in paradise would bring, I surrendered myself to the welcoming arms of Morpheus.
The resort had a small dive shop and being a PADI certified diver, the next day I booked myself a dive out to one of the nearby reefs. There were several other divers on board and Glorie-Ann came along for the ride, but became non-plused at how we were going to breathe under water. Suffice to say the dive in the crystal clear water with literally a hundred metres of visibility was yet another amazing experience.
Even paradise has a expiry date, so on the final day our intrepid band of adventurers left Miniloc Resort as totally relaxed, having had a true taste of paradise.
On the return journey to the little El Nido airfield I did finally ask Dick, “So who’s private island is it really, Dick?” He replied by saying, “I have no idea, but who the fuck cares, we had the most incredible time didn’t we ol’ buddy? Yet again I had to agree with him.
As I write this, looking back I am still at a loss and stumble for suitable adjectives, adverbs in trying to recapture those few magical days in paradise. Perhaps the best description is Dick’s very own tagline, “Just another day in paradise – just another day in paradise…”
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