Our second full day on Camiguin was just as spectacular. Virgil and Alex decided to head back to Gingoog…they had both been here plenty of times and other obligations were starting to occupy their thoughts, so John and I had the day to cruise around.
First stop was the Fish Sanctuary and Giant Clam reserve. I paid the modest entry fee and rented a snorkel and mask, and we explored this nursery where they help the endangered Giant Clams regenerate. These are amazing critters….they start out as microscopic organisms, but the faster growing ones can get to over a meter across in 20-30 years. They are endangered because unfortunately they taste delicious and they don’t fight back very hard, but in the reserve they have specimens from about 40 different species that they raise and guard. They are differentiated by the shape of the shells, but also by the amazing fluorescent colors within the shells. I did not expect that!
After viewing a bunch of clams in tanks on shore, the swimming guide took me out into the water where we swam around hundreds of clams arranged in rows. He said they set them up like this so they can easily inventory them each year to be sure that none were poached or died off. Then we set off into the deeps to view some of the largest ones. I did not have fins (I was using my sandals, which are fine for most situations) and found the current and waves pretty hard to swim against. Also, peering down at the ocean floor about 50 feet below me was a bit unnerving, so we turned back before we got to the biggest ones, but we certainly saw dozens and dozens of ‘wild clams’, and hundreds of amazing wildlife. like Clown Trigger Fish, Parrot Fish, anemones, little needle fish, etc.
After our clam outing and swim, we headed up into the hills to the volcano tourist center. As I mentioned before, Camiguin is one of (if not THE) most volcanically active piece of real estate in the world, and this center is where the vulcanologists base themselves for their studies. The actual display was on the bad side of boring, but after walking around the pasteboard signs and bad paper mache models, we drove up the hills into the clouds for a closer look.
The most active volcano is a composite cone type (like Fuji) so its pretty hard to climb and there were no trails going up to the summit. But there was a nice little walk to an overlook, with cool breezes and a great view of the mountain. Considering that this volcano erupted 5 times around 1950, with lahars, pyroclastic flows, nuee ardentes and flowing lava, I’m surprised that anyone chooses to live right on its flanks….but they do.
Then we headed down the hill and had a nice lazy afternoon lunch and beers at a little Italian place, where we chatted with Aziz, an Iraqi musician living in Ireland who comes to Camiguin for six months a year play at the pubs. One of the local pubs up the coast was hosting a farewell party for him (since he was leaving the next day for Ireland) so we gave him and his girlfriend rides on our bikes up to the pub and stayed for drinks and dinner.
The next morning, John and I met for coffee and were headed off to the ferry for our return to Gingoog. But along the way, I started thinking about my options….my return to HK is somewhat imminent (today is Friday, I fly home on Tuesday from Cebu). I could either hang out for 3 days in Gingoog before flying up to Cebu, or I could fly to Cebu this afternoon, then take a bus to the southern part of the island to find a beach resort and do some swimming with whale sharks.
But then I thought….you know, I’m right here right now. I have a scooter, cash and time. And this little island is just a wonderful slice of paradise. So I waved ‘goodbye’ to John as he boarded the ferry, and drove back up to the top of the island and rented a little cabin on the beach for two nights. Later today, I’ll go explore the hot springs and some more waterfalls, and tomorrow will be a lazy beach day before I head back to the +852. (that’s the Hong Kong country code, btw).
Some more photos of the past few days: