Sunday, October 6, 2013

Puerto Princesa - Palawan, Philippines - Cruise stop on the Legend of the Seas - Part 3

Part 3 - Puerto Princesa

We had finally arrived on the beach.

We were now supposed to make our way to the underground cave entrance.  See those boats?  They would wait for us.

Many of them, waiting for us for the return trip.

No Smoking, otherwise you get a fine!

This marked the Puerto Princesa River National Park.

A wooden walkway.

This was to the Underground River Tour Entrance.

Oh wow, this sight greeted us.

Oh dear, what a crowd!  Yet another choke point.

Seriously choked up.  There were just too many visitors today, thanks to our cruise ship!

Patiently waiting.

Assembly point - how many passengers could each boat take?

You could sense that visitors were getting rather tired of waiting!

Since we had to wait, might as well have some fun in the water first - little girl.

Almost all were from the cruise ship.

The waiting area ran out of chairs.

There you see a boat.  There was an oarsman, just one.  The boat could seat just 10.  No wonder.

I think there were 2,000 pax on the Legend of the Seas.  I reckon almost all chose this tour.

Each boat 10, 2,000 pax.... how many boats would you need? You do the Math.

Now that's the entrance to the Underground Cave.  Looks intimidating.

More waiting.

A boat going in.  Good bye!

A kid with his life jacket.

Finally, we got on board.

That's a boat in front of us.  Pure physical labour, for the oarsman.

Life jackets were compulsory.

It turns out that the oarsman was also the tour guide!  This was another boat coming out, as we were heading in!

Entering the Underground Caves - The moment we had waited all day for!!
Now, we head into the underground river.  The place was very, very dark.  The only light we had was from the boat.  Each boat had a bright torchlight, powered by big batteries (they looked like car batteries!).  The two passengers who sat right in front had the privilege of controlling the large flash light.  The oarsman would tell us where to point the light to.  The rest of the pictures are dark and grainy.  My camera wasn't good enough for this environment.

The experience was surreal.  Natural wonder.  I haven't seen anything like this.

The light from another boat made my camera go completely out of focus.

This was another boat ahead of us.  You can see their light shining at some part of the cave.


Grainy pictures, but these give you a very good idea what was inside these caves.  Note that all the lights came from either the large flashlight on the boats or camera flashes.



Some interesting rock formation up there.

We were close to another boat.  Oh, the water was deep, more than 10M I recall.  It was also rather cold.  I don't think anybody wanted to swim.






Some more interesting rock structures.  The guides could speak decent English and they gave good commentaries.


We were in an extremely large cavern.  It was a very impressive place.



It looked like there were two men there.  One was kneeling, the other standing and looking down.  No wonder they called this cavern the Cathedral.  Looked like there was a priest ministering to the worshipper!

Was that a bat?

Scary.

Throughout our journey, we followed this boat quite closely.  As there were two boats journeying together, it didn't feel that lonely.



Another very interesting formation.



Hello!  A boat heading in as we were heading out.

We emerged after a short tour of the Underground Water caves.  The oarsman told us that the caves were much deeper and we had also saw a glimpse.  Oh well, that's all the time we had.  There was a huge demand for their services today because of the cruise ship arrival.   At the time we were there, their capacity was fully stretched.

There were some more cruise ship passengers waiting to enter.  We were already running late.  It would take 2 hours to get back to the ship.  Thankfully, as we were on a cruise ship tour, we didn't feel any stress.  The ship would wait for us.  That was their promise.

We quickly made our way back to the beach, to board the small boat that would bring us back to the main land.

Our boat was waiting, somewhere.

Beautiful scenery and beautiful beaches.  Unfortunately, we had to leave now.

It turned out that we were very late getting back to the ship, I recall almost 2 hours late.  There were 3 buses in the final convoy to reach the Legend of the Seas.  When we reached Puerto Princesa city, there was a traffic jam!  Then, the Police was activated and the patrol cars cleared the way for us to get back to the ship. Indeed, the ship was waiting for us.

A long and tiring day was over.  There was a lot of waiting today, but I'm still glad we made this trip.  Ordinarily, it would be very difficult to get there and I wouldn't even think of bringing my family here.

This is yet another example of how a cruise ship vacation adds value for my family.  We get to see the most exotic of places, places that we would ordinarily never go.

Thank you for reading.

The End.

Links:

Puerto Princesa Underground River Part 1

Puerto Princesa Underground River Part 2

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