Tag Archives: coral

Orangutans and Betel Juice

21 Jul

[tweetmeme source=”@mummy_t” only_single=false]They say you learn something new every day. And today I learn that gambier, AKA catechu, is a common ingredient used by Asians in chewing betel.

Which nice for me, nice for my mother, and absolutely blinding news for the staff of any museums in our path across Malaysia. Continue reading

A Serpent in Paradise

3 May

Black banded sea krait rising from the base of the sea

Not, honestly, the best thing to see while snorkelling

The labyrinth of reef-fringed karsts around El Nido, Palawan, must be one of the best island-hopping destinations in the world. Whether above water or under it, we’ve had the most amazing couple of days.

A little too amazing for the camera I bought in Vientiane, making that two cameras down in under four months, so you’ll have to take the ensuing purple passages on trust…

We’ve spent the last two days island-hopping, first on kayaks, then on a bangka, with Z’s new friend Dima, from the Ukraine, but based in Manila, and his ma, Natasha. It’s been absolutely idyllic.

Take Secret Beach, for example. You snorkel through a foot high crevice in a jagged grey limestone cliff, above a dramatic, turquoise underwater drop off where shoals of angelfish clog the water, into a lost world: white sand beach, shallow coral lagoon, all fringed by these surreal volcanic shards of dark grey cliffs, with crabs scuttling boldly vertical towards the swifts’ nest up above. And you, your companions and your boat, have the place all to yourself. Continue reading

Underwater Frisbee

15 Apr

Z has had his first dive! In Puerto Galera, the Philippines, one of the world’s best diving spots.

He’s become progressively more excited about diving since we met William Hudson in Kampot — a cave diver, who discovered a new system in the Philippines, and teaches dive masters the physiology of diving to dive masters.

Z did the PADI Bubblemaker course, which is open to kids from the age of eight, with a guy called Guido, from AB Divers, on Sabang Beach. And — whether as a teaching tool or just for the hell of it — underwater frisbee is every bit as fun as it sounds. Continue reading