Clear Blue Waters

Did you know that the Dugong and the Manatee are relatives? And being separated by thousands of miles of ocean and living in very different environments, they have diverged in evolution too with the most obvious being the tail.

But today we are not diving into an anatomical treatise. Rather, we want to share with you our journey experiences of being on the tip of Palawan. No. Not the beach on Sentosa here in the little red dot in case you are wondering. Because clear blue waters aren’t what you’d find there.

We are referring to the island of Palawan just off the main archipelago that is the Philippines. Like an extended arm swaying to the side of a person, the island projects well into the west Philippines sea. And it is gorgeous, the waters that is. We spent quite a few days out in an idyllic location that was truly ‘off the grid’. We only hope it has continued to be so.

Swimming in the ocean, “hunting” for Dugongs was one of the expeditions we joined in. The idea was to “shoot” these magnificent creatures and capture them for posterity in our digital library. Alright it is also true we weren’t ON Palawan. Rather, we were on an island off the tip of it. But if this already what one can get here think about what more one can see further down the remote part of Palawan! Ok, let’s get to the essay (here) and start gawking at the photos!

Don’t need to go too far away, there is an alternative right in our little red dot’s ‘backyard’. Does this inspire you to make plans to Palawan?

Cruising the polar regions

Well climate change is probably here. Set aside the arguments for a while. The ice is melting faster and earlier in the polar regions. And nowhere is that more evident than the arctic where more shipping activity has been taking place of late.

If the article here is to be taken as a reference, it would appear that the waters of the arctic is likely to see regular cruising by tourists and transport of cargo within the next few years. You know, there had already been container ships making that journey to test out how much time is saved to transport goods between Asia and Europe.

It is known that arctic ice reaches its minimum every September. And using that as a benchmark measurements have concluded that the amount of ice remaining has declined by 13% over a period of 30 years measured from 1980. And it seems to be a trend too. Might not be too far into the future that low lying regions of the world start to see the effects of the sea swamping over them. Coastlines will change and some places will be lost forever. Seafront real estate owners beware! Heheh.

We know this will cause concerns and heartaches to some. And it pains us too. Unfortunately climate change is here to stay it appears. Whether the activities of humankind is the main cause is no longer the debate to us. Because instead of pointing fingers it is time to do something. Climate change may open up a new travel routes, but it comes with a price.

What will you do about it?

Enjoy the Turkish riviera

The word Riviera conjures up visions of luxurious hotel resorts, multi-million dollar beachfront homes and beautiful sand beaches. Hmm… it is definitely not that far off as we trudged along the southern coast of Turkey. You might recall we were just in the ancient city of Ephesus (here).

So what did we do here?

For one thing, we swam in the Mediterranean sea. It was a cruise, one that took us over sunken cities that could have been the likes of Atlantis. Who knows? But the reality was an earthquake shifted the land and brought parts of it lower. It was October, so the waters still relatively warm, so we jumped in! Guess you can say we’ve ticked one more item off the bucket list! Highly recommended in fact.

However the highlight along this part of the road trip is one of beauty. Heheh… You know some people swear that it has curative ingredients. Others say their skin feel more supple and smooth after applying it. Yep, we are referring to a mud bath. How about bathing in some that even Sultans and modern day entertainment “royalty” have supposedly patronized? Would you scoop up some mud to being home with you?

The riviera was fun. Not exactly living it up at the hotel California, but we certainly wished that we did not have to check out and leave… you will understand when you are there too. Piqued your interest?

Read all about it here!

Is this dangerous – swimming with sharks

You might recall this post we put up two years ago on funny animal selfies. Can you imagine taking a selfie with a Great white shark? Well some people do. Like getting into a cage with folks on the boat throwing heaps of fish offal and blood into the water to attract them.

Sometimes goes awry… yikes! The sort of thing movies are made of.

But today our post is not about that. It’s about our own experience of swimming with sharks. Yeah you read that right. We SWAM with them. Not protected in a cage, or a glass tube somewhere in an aquarium. Paddling in the water with them… yeah beat that.

Heheh.

You might recall that we swam with a few of them large ones out there here. Ok ok what’s in a name – them whale sharks… They came pretty close and good photos were taken… now we know some might not agree with doing what we did if you dig into the details but it was an experience we just wanted to share with you.

Then there were the days when Mel nearly bumped into one (here) for real. You see, the lagoon was a nursery where baby black tips (4-5 feet long yeah) lived in safety (from whom you ask?). From what we don’t know. And Mel wasn’t using his presciption mask those few days.

Did you read those links to our posts and page? Heheh.. Would this be on your bucket list?

Is this a cool adventure – trekking the desert

How cool would it be to trek across the desert. Searching for unfound civilizations that may lay in the sands of time. Well, not quite though. It is tougher than one romanticizes for the desert is inhospitable. So when this article told of folks treking out in the Tengger desert, we were instantanously intrigued.

Ok so the article’s focus was on how folks in China become more adventurous with rising affluence. But you know our post is not about that. For it is not just the deserts of central Asia that exudes an exotic feeling of exploratory prowess. The Saharan experience would surely have concocted the same.

The unknown has always have a magnetic appeal to humans.

Like the galaxies, we imagine what is out there in an expanse that is seemingly lifeless or empty. Are there mysterious beings and civilizations that are hidden out there for us to discover? Are they benelovent or will they be aggressors? Can diplomacy work? Will we be like the crew of the starship Enterprise to ‘boldly go where no wo(man) has gone before’? Cue the music…

End the music!

We were recently in the deserts of the Wadi Rum. Ok so it was not exactly a hike in the desert as we viewed the world passing by from the back of an open Toyota pickup truck. But it was sure damn cool (being outside the car) while it ‘surfed’ the sands. In case you are wondering, those melons in the featured image were from the deserts of Dubai, not Jordan… and they are not edible too if you are curious.

Which deserts in the world have you visited?

Martial arts mountain?

Anyone still remember Wutang clan?

Ok, we digress.

The point is – martial arts. The Kung Fu kind that is. Some might have watched the lego movie some time back. Notice where these martial arts gurus are always living in seclusion in the mountains? Darn the lego bricks keep popping into our minds…

At the end of our Silk road journey, we had ended up in the city of Xian (西安). Formerly the ancient capital Changan (长安). It was such a pity we did not spend more time in the city itself, and instead went far out and away. Well, all reasons to return since there are now direct flights from Singapore to the city!

One such journey was made to the venerable Huashan (华山). It’s a mountain of religious significance and about 120km from Xian. It was also a place where people came to seek immortality, perhaps from the herbs and plants that can only found there. You see, the theory was ; if these plants can survive in these inhospitable environment for such a long time, surely they contain the secrets of living long too?

While we did not climb all the way (yes we had help), we did ascend one of the peaks of the mountain. Wow. Non mountaineers being on the summit at >2100m high. That personal record of us sea-level plebians would only be surpassed 7 years later. Ok, so our record isn’t something to crow about…

If you have already covered all the sights of Xian, what are you to do? Perhaps you need to learn more about what one can do from Xian, get to Huashan.

Read all about it here!