A Mangrove Paddle Boat Tour Through an Old Growth Forest, Sabang
A tasty buffet lunch was set up on the beach at the Vista Lodge Resort next to the Daluyon Beach and Mountain Resort. This Chicken Adobo was tasty unlike the earlier one on Luzon. Green vegetables, rice, fish, and pork that would have been more delicious if it hadn’t been 80% fat. I single-handedly emptied the dish of pork to get every morsel of actual meat. Vim showed me an unusual tree worm being sold by a local vendor while sellers lined this area of the beach. Vista Lodge Resort appears to have a lock on the tourist lunch-time trade. Back to Daluyon for a pee-break, a big discovery. We can order off the menu. Pizza and dessert tonight.
It’s beyond me why our driver picked us up and drove a whopping 5 minutes to where the Mangrove Paddle Boat Tour began. Did we look too feeble for an easy walk?
Exactly what is a Mangrove Forest? You may have seen a Mangrove tree and not known what it was. This particular Mangrove forest is the core zone of the Palawan Island Biosphere Reserve and considered one of the most productive and fertile ecosystems in the world. Mangroves are usually found along tropical coastlines.
- Mangroves can secrete salt! They can tolerate saline conditions from brackish water to pure seawater;
- Mangroves have massive air root systems that dissipate wave energy, slow down tidal water, protect against erosion by stabilizing the shoreline, and transport accumulated nutrients to adjacent areas; and
- Mangrove forests provide food, fuel, timber, medicine and building materials. Think fishes, crabs, sea creatures and other sea creatures.
Jimmy was our designated guide at the Mangrove Tour Center. He sat in front while a paddler sat in back. Life jackets on, the paddler set off down the quiet river while Jimmy quietly talked about the Mangrove trees. Mangroves in the park and around Ulugan Bay are still pristine and contain old growth formations that provide important habitats for marine life and bats. Less than five-percent of this area is old-growth. The tree roots are massive which is why there are no crocodiles around; they would get tangled in the Mangrove roots.
Jimmy and paddler got very excited when they spotted a rare bird high in the tree canopy. None of us could see it and Jimmy kept saying, “There it is! There it is? Do you see it now?” Um, no.
If it wasn’t for three different snake sightings curled up on tree branches, this river paddle would have been a real yawner. They were either pit vipers or green leaf vipers. Whichever, they are extremely poisonous with venom that causes pain and considerable tissue damage. That is if it doesn’t kill you. Vipers are also supposed to be very irritable and I sent up fervent prayers that one wouldn’t fall off its branch into the boat. I do not like snakes!
Around 1.2 kilometers/.6 mile upriver, the boat turned around, passing one other paddle boat on the way; a total paddle of 40 minutes. The vipers were my highlight. Margie was bored to tears.
My longed for dinner pizza was terrible, but a banana crepe with ice cream and chocolate sauce on top made up for it. Tomorrow is the tribal visit to the Bataks bearing “love offerings.” Remember those? Sardines, Ramen Noodles and Cigars…