11 Hour Death Cruise

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Let’s me start off by getting this out of the way: I’m tired and grumpy today. Yes, I’m in a beautiful port town with a tropical breeze blowing through my mussed-up hair, but I’m feeling misanthropic and full of bile. I’ve had a strange impulse to grab a few random tourists and chuck them off the deck of the guesthouse into the green waters below, hopefully right in the path of a really nasty jellyfish.

Let’s me start off by getting this out of the way: I’m tired and grumpy today. Yes, I’m in a beautiful port town with a tropical breeze blowing through my mussed-up hair, but I’m feeling misanthropic and full of bile. I’ve had a strange impulse to grab a few random tourists and chuck them off the deck of the guesthouse into the green waters below, hopefully right in the path of a really nasty jellyfish.

Why do I feel like such an asshole? Maybe it has to do with the fact that it is Valentine’s Day, and despite my manly affection for my friend Sam, I’d much rather spend the evening with someone who has a charming smile and looks good in a skirt. I did meet a lovely girl (civilian) down in Puerto Princessa and would have loved to go back down to see her, but that would have blown my plans for diving here in Coron, which is really the crown jewel of the trip. Of course there are plenty of OTHER options for a man with time and money, but that’s really not my bag, believe it or not.

Like I said, I’m just tired. That is all. Yesterday we boarded boat in El Nido and rode up through the Calamian Islands – some of the most remote and beautiful in the word – to the port of Coron, on the island of Busuanga. The trip was supposed to take 6 hours, but instead took 11. A big wind was up and the sea was extremely choppy, hindering our progress and forcing us to take an alternate route. I was worried about becoming seasick, but fortunately didn’t succumb, the lone victim being one emaciated, puking Frenchman. We were tossed and turned and soaked, but the islands were amazing and the sunset worth the fare alone. I got tons of reading done and made progress on a NY Times Sunday crossie (got a whole book). Aside from the trip taking twice as long as normal, the only shitty thing was the fellow passengers. Aside from two cool Israelis and the seasick French dude, everyone else was either German or Scandanavian and just sat there, frowning, saying nothing and looking miserable for all 11 hours. What I would have given for three or four Brits, who would have inevitably had a good laugh at the absurdity of the whole situation. I love that about the English – or the Irish – for that matter. Instead we were stuck with the most stoic bunch of northern European sourpusses to ever strap on backpacks. They sucked out any sense of joy or fun that managed to creep into our wave-tossed little cabin. The proverbial camel’s back-breaking straw came when a young German guy started busting the captain’s balls about the time:

“You zaid zis vould only take 6 hours. Ve are now 9 hours. Vy did you say to us 6??? Zis I am not understanding.”

Did he not see the 10 FEET WAVES splashing over the bow of the boat? What, did he want the poor little captain to control the weather, or make the boat fly? Did he realize where he was?

The rest of them just sat there resigned, looking like their pet dogs just died. I know it’s not their “way” to be outgoing and friendly, but aside from The Frenchman and us, the only people who weren’t acting like they were in a boxcar bound for Auschwitz were the TWO JEWS.



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