Sunday was another day of unfamiliar adventure for our family. Justin and I decided that while taking the short drive to the Bohol Beach club, sitting at the beach on the lounge chairs under umbrellas while playing with the girls in the sand, beach boys bringing us smoothies, and showering in immaculate locker rooms, would be the easiest way to spend the morning at the beach; it also was an experience we've had at tons of other resorts here in the Philippines. We wanted to do something different. Something we'd never have an opportunity to do again.
We arranged through the Bee Farm to have a ride to Alona Beach and then a banka boat to the Virgin Island which is about 40 minutes from shore. We arranged the price (about $40) and the time (8:30 AM). We packed all the water, sun block, and snacks I could carry and set about on our adventure. Our Bee Farm driver connected us with Erwin our boatman for the day. He would take us to the island and wait there while we played and then take us back to shore at about 11AM. He was our guy for the morning. We were feeling good until he escorted us to a tiny little banka boat that was swaying in the waves. Addie was apprehensive about the waves and the boat, Bella was fussing and I had my first feelings of uncertainty about this decision we were making. I started to feel even more uncertain when there were only two wearable life vests on the boat that Addie and I donned. Justin and I questioned each other a few times and finally as Erwin started the motor (super loud) on our little boat we had no more time to pull the plug on this seemingly sketchy adventure we were getting our beautiful little family in. I said numerous prayers as we drove out to sea on our little boat holding Arabella tightly against me and instructing Justin to grab on tighter to Adelaide.Addie is displaying all our apprehensions on her little face. Don't worry-in the end she had a blast.I calmed down as we were went along. The sea was calm, the views were gorgeous and for some reason when there are palm tree lined shores, everything suddenly starts to look a little bit better. Arabella ended up sleeping on my shoulder. With the strong sea breeze, bouncy waves, and loud motor she was lulled to dream land and continued to sleep on me like this for an hour (at least 40 minutes after we landed on Virgin Island I had to hold her while she slept). The island looked tiny from afar. As we pulled up we saw the huge horseshoe shaped sand bar that stretched from either side of the island. As the tide went out while we were there we walked all the way out to the tip of the bar with the girls.Upon our arrival, Justin and I breathed a sigh of relief and gave one another a mental pat on the back for being adventurous parents and deciding to have this amazing experience with our girls. The island was gorgeous and remote feeling and the perfect once in a lifetime experience.
For the first 40 minutes or so I found a tree to stand under so Bella could continue sleeping. While my backed and arms ached while I swayed with her, it was also the most peaceful 40 minutes I had had in the past few days. I listened to the small waves lap at the shore, watched a few Filipino children swimming in the ocean and just took in the view. Good thing she slept because when Bella woke up she was happy and ready to play.
Fresh sea urchin was for sale on the island as well as pearls (seriously! The vendors came even way out there). We just played. Addie was a dolphin and Bella a little sand crab running this way and that. The girls got a ton of attention since they were the only white children on the beach (nothing new really). We met a nice South African couple who were missing their grandchildren. They got a kick out of watching the girls play. I love meeting and talking with new people in the Philippines. (On the flight back to Manila from Bohol on Monday I ran into a young guy wearing Oregon Ducks gear. We chatted about Portland while I waited for the restroom. It's a small, small world.) Anyway...At 11 o'clock Erwin navigated us back to the Bohol shore. I was so thankful to have our family safely back at the Bee Farm. The Virgin Island was a wonderful adventure and one we will never forget.Addie the dolphin. She was happy until she got bit by a sand flea. Then she was done with the whole water thing.The sweet South African couple who played with the girls.At the end of the sand bar. The girls had there fill of Virgin Island, obviously.