I was staying in Puerto Princesa for a week and one of the top 2 things that are recommended online is a trip to Honda Bay.
I had already gone up The Coast By Scooter, and I was planning to make my own way to Sabang for the Underground River Trip. I planned to stay 3 or 4 nights in Sabang and to organise my river trip once I got there.
Today, it was time to try out Snorkelling in Honda Bay…
BOOKING THE TRIP:
I was staying at the Casitas De Az Pension in Puerto Princesa.
I booked my ticket at their reception for PHP1340: PHP1300 for the trip and PHP40 for the “Environmental Fee”.
I was told that the fee was ‘all inclusive’, that lunch was provided, that pickup would be between 6:30am and 7:30am and that I would be back at my hotel by about 4:00pm.
Later that day, the receptionist changed the pickup time to between 6:00am and 6:15am.
PICKUP TO THE BOAT:
Pick up was on schedule at 6:15am.
We had a full house and had 14 others to pick up from 6 other hotels.
We were informed by the Tour Guide that we were leaving early because we had to be back early to get people to the airport for a 4pm flight.
It took 1 hour to pick everyone up before we could head for the harbour.
On the way, we were advised that we needed to rent snorkelling gear; it was not included.
The gear rental shop was 5 minutes from the harbour, we stopped and everyone got their gear. You were advised to rent water shoes because of the Sea Urchins and Stone Fish underfoot.
I rented a Mask & Snorkel (PHP150), Water Shoes (PHP150), and Fins (PHP150).
We needed to wait in and around our van whilst our Tour Guide arranged things with the authorities. The Harbour Master determines where the boats can go each day depending on the tides and currents.
We were on our boat by 8:15am.
We had to wear life jackets when leaving (and, later, arriving) at the harbour.
Once at sea, good swimmers were allowed to take their life jackets off.
Poor swimmers were advised to keep theirs on at all times (even whilst snorkelling).
We docked the boat and proceeded to our first snorkelling spot.
Yellow buoys mark out an area where you cannot swim; presumably, an area of corals that they are protecting.
We snorkelled for about 1 hour. The coral was reasonable; although predominantly grey and brown, there were patches of reds, oranges, whites, yellows and purples.
The fish were colourful, but nothing big except for a 1.5Kg Tiger Fish.
It was a small island and we had 1 hour 15 minutes of snorkelling before lunch.
I decided to snorkel around the island.
I waded across that part to the other side and continued snorkelling.
Again, the corals were reasonable as too were the fish.
There is even a Resthouse there where you can stay.
Cowrie Island was a lot more commercialised with Jet Skies and Kayaks for rent as well as Banana rides.
There are lots of seating areas for the tourists.
I was back at my hotel by 3:00pm.
There aren’t many islands in the bay and all can be gotten to within a 15-25 minutes.
In ‘Peak Season’ the beaches would be crowded with day trippers and you would, no doubt, feel very much part of a conveyor belt.
However, it is a pleasant day out but nothing spectacular. But, still worth doing for the price.