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This is me about to try not drowning while snorkeling.  To this point I had never snorkeled successfully, that is, without retching up water.  Must say I got pretty good, enough to qualify for the scuba lesson later in the day.  All the underwater pictures were made with a small Kodak disposable built for water down to 30 feet.  The coral colors were not as bright, since the days were overcast.  The little fish in the third and fourth frames was defending his coral, and would charge the camera.  In the nose on shot he was only a foot from the camera, the side one was closer.  It was a draw between us. 
More corals, and a few fish.  The blue curvy things are scallops, I never knew they had colors.  And they had some remarkable colors, really stunning combinations, bright, and all different colors to boot.  They were definitely the most colorful life down there, even with no sun.  It seemed they possessed some weird phosphorescence that lit them internally, it was eerie how they looked.  And we saw a nest of large ones, each one about a foot across.  Liz found the shell of one washed up and buried on the beach, picture somewhere below.
This is me from below.  A shark took this picture, just before returning home for the larger bottle of catsup.  Yum Yum!  The next three pictures are from the best moments on the island.  Unfortunately I had not yet learned night photography with my camera.   So two are from Liz, who used a flash, and the last is from me, who didn't.  Many of these other Noah pictures are also from Liz or Pamela, for this trip we shared all the digitals. 

When returning from our remote snorkeling session on the second day, we hung around the main dining area for drinks.  I think the last picture on this page is from then.  Anyway, we noticed the staff setting up seating mats, tables, candles, and other stuff on the main beach, enough to seat a couple dozen folks.  We asked what was happening. Found out about the beach side appetizers scheduled before dinner, a different approach, sort of picnicy.  Sounded nice.  Later they told us to not come to the appetizer area, instead they had a little surprise for us at 6pm, just report to the pier.  

I thought they were having us eat away from the crowd, and couldn't figure out what reason.  We showed up, they loaded the three of us, our rec guide, a guitar player and another guy, and an armed guard (of course) into a boat, and off we went.  Six o'clock was right around dusk, so it was getting dark.  The guitar player was playing and singing, soft ballads, mostly in Tagalog, while we drove along.  We were very much wondering what was up.  They took us around to the picnic beach, seen below (the picnic lunch below took place earlier in the day).  Randy and our rec leader (whose name escapes me at the moment, Liz do you remember her?) had arranged to have a private appetizer and serenade session, just for us three.  

They had placed about 30 or so candles all around a table.  Some where on rocks in the water, some on the ground, some in trees, some perched in cavities in the fairly shear cliff wall.  The effect was stunning, took your breath away.  And you know how much I like to talk!  The guy was still lighting candles and mosquito sticks.  On the table was wine, appetizers, and candles.  The boat dropped us off and drove away, even carried of the ever present armed guard.  For the next hour we were sang to, listened to the water lap at our feet (about 5 feet away at this point), made song requests, and generally missed the hell out of our respective mates and spouses.  There are a couple mpegs where you can hear them singing, though they are too dark to see anything, I'll try to post them.

The best moments of the whole weekend!

 This is picnic time, earlier in the day.  A boat took us all to a beach on the other side of the island.  We had already checked it out while kayaking, as the water just off the beach is deep, and had some excellent coral scenery.  After eating we could snorkel some before getting picked up.

Piles of grilled food, and other great items. Those things on the grill that look like lobster tails are really whole squids.  Body about 4-5 inches long, maybe an inch or two in diameter, plus tentacles.  They swell up when cooked, becoming big brother versions of the calamari rings we're used to in CA. 

The night time serenade was here, incredibly romantic!

 Pamela and myself waiting for lunch preparations to complete.  Liz found that shell right on the beach.  Saw a 3 inch piece of what she thought was a small shell.  Started digging it out, kept digging, and pulled this beauty out.  I told her to model it a little more appropriately, but she wasn't taking offers.  Afterwards it got tossed back in the water for the next explorer to discover.

The only person with enough cajones to ask one to the security guards for a picture was Pamela.  Liz and I thought security wouldn't want pictures, but this guy perked up and put on a pose.  A great picture!  All of the guards were basically like this guy.  And they either had army type boots or the little shower slipper flip flops on.  Pistol grip rifles, some sawed offs, and flip flops.  Yeesssss!

 Just a miscellaneous day time shot.  With Superman walking by, I'm feeling pretty safe at this point.



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