Jill and I had a long day of traveling from Coron. A flight to Manila, a flight from Manila to Cebu; taxi ride to the port; and finally a 2.5 hour ferry ride from Cebu to Bohol. After we got settled in at the South Palms Resort in Bohol, we got a knock at the door and Jill got another birthday surprise: More singing and another birthday cheesecake! #birthdayround2 Sadly, once we got to the cake after ordering dinner, ants had descended upon it.... #moreprotein?? We got in a few ant free bites but had to leave the rest of it outside and get the ants to follow it.
On our 2nd day in Coron, I opted for scuba diving and Jill had a nice relaxing day by the pool. Coron is listed as one of the top dive spots in the world due to the many shipwrecks you can dive around here.
It's still under debate whether the Japanese fleet was spotted by an aerial photo reconnaissance or if Japanese radio transmissions were intercepted, but the Japanese fleet that was hiding in the bays of Coron after being bombed near Manila, was spotted. On September 24th, 1944, a US Navy strike force and dive bombers attacked 24 Japanese ships at anchor near Coron Bay and Busuanga Island. As many of 12 of those ships have been discovered today, which makes for some excellent wreck diving!
How to describe Bali?? Three words: Religious, scooters, and GREEN! Religion and offerings touch everyone's lives multiple times a day. While walking the streets (no matter where you are) you will see little offerings all over the place, filled with flowers, food, and coins, thanking their gods for their daily blessings - which I think is pretty neat. To remember how thankful you are for what you have multiple times a day is a good reality check, and most of the Balinese people have way less, and live off way less than we do in America (or Japan!).
The streets are narrow, and most of where you drive is surrounded by lush, tropical greenery, or green, beautiful rice fields as far as the eye can see. Along the way, the streets are littered with little shops selling tourist souvenirs, massages, or food. Constant honking can be heard as motorists honk to let other cars or scooters know they are there and passing. A much more civilized honking ensues than what we experienced in China #respectfulhonking
Our trip began with 3 nights in Seminyak (a beach town) and ended with 4 nights in Ubud (a hipster town located in the middle of the island surrounded by lush greenery and rice fields).
Nate and I decided to spend July 4th, 2016 camping in the Keramas. The Keramas is a cluster of around 20 different islands only 35 km west of our main island of Okinawa. Out of the 20 islands, there are 4 that are inhabited: Toshiki, Zamami, Aka, and Geruma. The Keramas are known for their beauty, excellent diving, crystal blue waters, snorkeling, whale watching, and turtles!
We were going to camp on Zamami island, but first, we took one of the ferries from Naha, Okinawa over there - which took about 2 hrs. Lucky for Ricky Bobby - we were able to bring him with us!
Once we arrived back on the ferry, we checked into our hotel only a few blocks from the port, the Vessel hotel. Using trusty TripAdvisor, we found a local restaurant serving the famous Ishigaki beef, Sumibi Yakiniku Takesantei only a block away from our hotel.
Again, only a little English was spoken, but we managed to get by with the help of hand gestures, my little Japanese skills, and the friendly staff. We ordered a dinner set that came with Ishigaki beef, veggies, kimchi, salad, and of course had to order some garlic (Nin'niku ニンニク (pronounced knee - knee - goo) - one of my favorite words I've learned so far! #dadwouldbeproud #ofthegarlicofcourse) This was like many Japanese restaurants, where you get to cook the food on the stove in front of you. #greatbusinessidea The Ishigaki beef was pretty good - but hard to compare once you've had the melt-in-your-mouth Kobe beef!
We got up bright and early, and took a short plane ride from Chiang Mai to Phuket, and a scenic drive from the airport to our hotel at Kamala Beach. (FYI - Apparently Kamala Beach was one of the beach's hit the worst from the 2004 Tsunami, but 11 years later, you couldn't tell).
We were staying at the Novotel Kamala Beach and the hotel was gorgeous - simple and sleek. Since we arrived so early, our room wasn't ready yet, but the hotel said if we were willing to wait to checkin at 3pm (instead of an early checkin like I requested) we would be upgraded to a suite for free.......ummmm let me think about that for 1 second: YES PLEASE! #pleaseandthankyou #ronswanson #thankyounovotel We were able to change into our bathing suits and then hit the pool to relax while we waited for our room. (Side note: while hanging out at the pool, a couple came up from the beach and the girl had just been stung by a jelly fish across her calf and it looked painful! Brought back bad memories from Hawaii and I was a bit reluctant to go snorkeling in the ocean after seeing that. I didn't want to go through that a second time!)
So Nate has been bugging me since we got to Okinawa to get scuba certified so we can start exploring dive sites around Okinawa together (He got his cert when he was deployed here in 2012). I finally did it and had an absolute blast! I signed up for a private class with one of Nate's friends from work wife, Stacy, and her friend Angeline. I was impressed with Angeline since she had only been here two weeks and did this with us and it took me 2.5 months to get my shit together #goals
Megan Bond - AUTHOR
Just a girl raised in California and loved exploring Southeast Asia with my husband! We're back in the States but still exploring the world as much as we can!