We went on a tourist island hop today. Sam picked us up outside the hotel (Sam has been working in the Father’s refuge for a year-from Dorset). Sophia (from Dorset for 3months but only on her second week) and Jenny (a dear friend we met in Manila last year) were coming too. Sam took us to the bus top where the tourist bus picked us up. We met everyone else on the tour. Two sisters, and four young girls –Trev was the only man!. We went to get some snorkelling equipment from a hire shop on the way.
I was very nervous about the ides of snorkelling. For several reasons:
- While my skin as bad as a child going into the sea was agony. The salt on my sores was excruciating. This has left me feeling nervous of the sea.
- During sixth form I suffered with nightmares of being overwhelmed by waves from the sea and drowning. Since then I have been afraid to put my head underwater.
- Last time I tried to swim in the sea I started to panic about large fishes coming out of the depths. It was totally irrational.
- I hate people seeing me in my swimming costume
These fears were very strong and unusual for someone who is not frightened by other natural things e.g. snakes, spiders, dark, thunder, flying things.
Anyway, now I am rambling. We took the boat out to the first manmade floating island. It is over part of a coral reef and you can swim over a section of it. I got changed and got the snorkelling gear ready (we didn’t do the big flippers). The island was floating so there was no shallow area to gather courage on. I went down the steps as was determined just to do it. If I hesitated I might never try but instead talk myself out of it. Well I was so proud of myself – I managed to overcome the initial panic of breathing through a tube and started off slowly. I gained in confidence and then managed nearly the whole length of the area (I ran out of time). I love nature programmes – especially ones on the ocean – and it was like being in my own Attenborough documentary. The colours of the fish, shape of the coral and the flashing backs of the shoals of fish took my breath away. It was such thrilling experience.
Well I was hooked. We stopped off at the next island. I was straight into the water. People were feeding the fish. There was much less coral here but bigger fish in large quantities.
The third island I went straight into the sea also. It was so warm and clear. This was a sandy island but I found a strip of rock with fish, hermit crabs, shoals of tiny fish that surrounded me and a weird spiky fish with a horn on its back. There were some pretty sea anemones here too. We had a BBQ lunch Filipino style – including whole crabs. It was fantastic.
I was so busy swimming I have burnt my back –but it was worth it.
To finish such a dramatic day there was a massive thunderstorm when we arrived back. The rain poured out of the sky and the thunder was really loud and just above us. After several power cuts we moved rooms again (now on our 4th room due to shower/water pressure issues). Feel like nomads never settling. Each room we have been moved to in the last 2 days has been better and better and the best was saved till last (Filipino best is still basic).
Today has been a day of freedom from fears, a feast /banqueting table set for me and the increasing blessing of God. My Father is so good.