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Swimming with Turtles!

Our driver showed up in Ormoc at the resort at 5am. We woke up at a late 4:45am. And we quickly shoved everything into bags. It was a 3 hour drive to Sogod Bay. We are staying in a small town called Padre Burgos. We tried to get as much sleep as possible on the ride over. It was rough seeing all the devastation from Typhoon Yolanda. There were whole mountainsides with snapped coconut trees. Most of the villages had all the roofs torn off, if not the whole house.

After the 3 hour drive, we were starving. We dumped everything in the room and headed for breakfast. Here at Sogod Bay Dive Resort, we were met by our diving instructor. He talked to us all about what we were going to do as the three of us inhaled food. We couldn’t eat too much because we didn’t want to be uncomfortable.

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It was now time for our beginning dive instruction. I must admit there were several times I almost have up. I thought for sure I wouldn’t be able to do it. To gounderwater like that and breathe, just isn’t natural. On my first attempt, I started hyperventilating underwater. You see the instructor do something and then he has you do it. Instead of following in his footsteps, my entire body is saying, “Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea!… I wonder how I can talk myself out of this one.” But the instructor was was patient with me, and slowly walked me through everything. Daniel and Mike had both scuba dived before. I was the only newbie.

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Once the the instructor was walking me through everything, it was much better. The boys seamed to be fine, not a problem. I felt like my lungs had never worked so hard. Have you ever watched those movies and they only have a limited air supply because they are underwater or in space. There is always that character that everyone thinks is stupid because he’s hyperventilating and sucking in all the air. All the people in the audience think, “If he would just calm down they would get a couple more hours.” Yeah, I was that guy. Once I got under water and started to calm down, my breathing slowed, thankfully. If I were to go for much longer, I am pretty sure I would have passed out.

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I was was finally getting my groove down when the instructor teaches us how to gain control of our regulator if we loose it underwater. He demonstrates twice. Underwater he releases the regulator, starts to blow bubbles, finds the regulator, puts it in his mouth, clears the airway, and begins breathing again. After demonstrating twice, he points at me to try. I shake my head. Ain’t no way I’m releasing the regulator! My teeth have a death grip on this. He demonstrates again and points to me underwater. Hell no. We both surface. I just stopped hyperventilating and you want me to let go? After a long talk, we go under and I finally do it.

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Swimming around, I had my eyes dead on the instructor. I wasn’t going to let him get any further than a meter or so away from me. If I was going to have trouble underwater, he was going to be arms distance away to help me. We swam for a while, looking at all the pretty fish. The instructor informed me that we were turning around. I turned around and realized I didn’t see Daniel, Mike, or the other instructor. I started to breathe much faster because I didn’t see Daniel. It took us about 2 minutes to get back to them. It felt like an eternity. I was very nervous.

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After the dive we were starving. Time for lunch at the resort. Delicous. Although, with how hungry we were we could have probably eaten anything and loved it. We found out that we could make the afternoon dive and we were all thrilled. This time we would go out on the boat!

It was about a 10 minute boat ride to a dive spot. The we had a new instructor who showed us how to jump in from the boat. I gave him a “uh-huh, I’ll use the ladder.” I brought back all the fears of breathing under water with me on the boat. But once I put my head in the water they were washed away! On this second dive we were able to dive much deeper. By doing so we were able to see so much more! It was very cool! The deeper we went down, the more colors we could see and the bigger the creatures were! Although we didn’t get very close, we got to see two full size sea turtles! I tried to catch up, but they swim much faster than me.

After the dive we got all cleaned up and walked next door for some grub. We heard that it was “the local watering hole”. Upon arriving next door we found out it was called Moose & Squirrel. I do think that this is the most adventurous I have been with a places name. Eating squirrel really isn’t my forte, but who’s to judge. It was a small shop and I am pretty sure we were the only ones who ate there all night. Good news though, I would have to say that this is THE BEST PLACE TO EAT out of my whole trip. A guy took our order and we could see him and his daughter go in the kitchen and get to work. His daughter must have been no more than 12. I would highly recommend this place to anyone passing through southern Leyte!

Categories: Leyte Philippines

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Perriann Hodges

I am not an author. To be quite honest, I always hated English class. I write so I may share my experiences and remember the man I met on a bus who treated me to dinner with his family, paying and booking a hotel only to find out its out of business, fake crying in the Athens airport to get a ticket home, or remember the strangers who looked out for me on a bus. Some live, experience, and are fulfilled by what’s in their backyards. I find there is something truly exhilarating about cramming as many possessions into a bag as possible, only to complain you brought too many. This is my life out of a suitcase, hope you enjoy.

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