snorkel

Snorkeling and Walking on the Reef

This morning I called my dad to wish him a happy Father’s Day. He randomly asked me if I had been swimming and told me to watch out for sharks. I said to him, “Dad, there’s a reef, so it’s hard for the sharks to get in. But now you’ve scared me!”

This whole weekend was spent at the beach. No complaints here. On Sunday, Peter had a gig at Jimmy Dee’s Beach Bar to play during a beach rugby tournament. It’s been SO hot lately, and Sunday was no exception. I had a good time, it was relaxing and fun! That evening we swam in Tumon as we watched the sun set. Beautiful rays shot out through the clouds making another breathtaking sunset in Guam.

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Today (Monday) we had brunch at King’s then headed to Ritidian. As if I didn’t get enough beach time from the previous day, I wanted MORE. And why not? The weather has been perfect, hot, but perfect beach weather. These are the type of days that made me fall in love with Guam. ❤

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We’ve had low tide for a few days now and the usually rough waters of Ritidian were calm, shallow and HOT! Because the water was so shallow and the sun was working hard, the water warmed up. Warmer than I’ve ever felt it.

We snorkeled near the shore and saw tons of cool fish. Then I noticed that the tide was so low that the coral was sticking out all the way to the reef. We decided to walk to the reef. The water went from ankle deep near the shore, to no water at all. For most of the walk my feet were out of the water, that’s how low the tide was. After a long walk, me slipping on all the bumps and crevices in the coral, we made it to the edge of the reef! I’m so scared of going out to the reef because there are so many stories in the newspaper about people being swept away into the depths of the ocean after falling over. I made sure Peter and I stay away, but today was an exception. It was great! If I had a bucket list I would have crossed off “Walking out to the edge of the reef.” I looked back to the shore to see how far we’d come and it was a little further than the length of a football field. I said, “So this is what’s on the reef!” As I looked down at these strange sea plants that had long stems with big things that looked like bubbles on the tips. We walked over them and let some of the water splash on us from the waves hitting the reef. I looked out to the dark blue water  and  got an eerie feeling, thinking about what my dad had mentioned earlier. The ocean is both beautiful and scary to me.

As we walked back to the shore we found a deep pool of water that we thought would have some stuff to look at. We put our snorkels on and saw that the pool was filled with sea creatures. I saw a very LARGE spiky sea urchin, tons of black fish and some other larger multi-colored fish with lips that looked like they were kissing, baby needlefish AND my worst fear of all a small sea snake! After that we walked back over the coral and headed into the shade.

What a wonderful weekend. All the worries that had been on our minds were cleared away as we explored the waters of Ritidian.

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 Note to self: First trip back to Ritidian (just the two of us) after our engagement. 6-16-2014

 

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Your Cure for Island Fever: Cocos Island!

After months of trying to go to Cocos Island, we finally did it! No, this is not another country. It’s still Guam…just a small island a few miles south of Guam that forms a beautiful lagoon. We hopped on the scooter and headed down to Merizo where the Cocos Island Resort boat picked us up and took us to the island.

(sorry for the poor quality, camera broke!)

Cocos Island Resort is a day resort that offers quiet beaches, water activities and lounging. The price for locals and military is $25 and includes the boat ride and buffet. All other people are expected to pay $45 for JUST the boat ride. I think that’s ridiculous! So, if you know someone with a military or local ID, bring them with you! We caught the 11:15 am boat and off we went!

As we approached Cocos Island all I could hear were TONS of birds. Due to the abundant Brown Tree Snake population, we don’t have too many birds on Guam. Seems as though they all fled to Cocos Island. If you’ve ever watched Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds, it reminded me a lot of that. We continued walking down the long bridge to the entrance.

Here, there’s a building where you can purchase tickets for the buffet, snack bar and usage of beach toys. You can’t pay for things with money, you must purchase tickets.

Since the buffet came with our ticket and it closed at 2:00pm, we made a beeline straight for it. The buffet was basic. Water or tea, salad, curry, rice, fried lumpia, fruits…not bad!

After lunch we took a walk to look at the birds and pool. We didn’t use the swimming pool, we snorkeled and swam in the beach instead. As I said before, there were many birds which caused the entire place to smell really bad! The humid air and bird smell combination was horrid! We had to be very careful because of the bird poop that was falling out of the sky. There were some really pretty white birds amongst all the black birds and quite a few Coco birds. In addition to the free flying birds, there were some tropical caged birds including a VERY loud peacock!

While snorkeling, we saw a few Balati (sea cucumbers), possibly the biggest one I’ve ever seen, and a large needlefish (which I call a sword fish in the video). I was so scared when I saw the needlefish because it was the largest one I’ve ever seen and it was swimming very close to us. They usually swim near the surface of the water and in the past I’ve only seen small ones that would swim away quickly when I moved. But THIS needlefish just gave us the side eye and did not swim away. I think this is a really good place for snorkeling and probably diving. I also read that there’s an old sunken Spanish ship just off the island!

The downside to Cocos Island Resort is that it looks a bit run down and if the ridiculously priced ticket isn’t enough, visitors are expected to pay for using the umbrellas, CHAIRS and pretty much every single thing. I think some of the basic things like beach chairs and umbrellas should have been free. So we found a dirty table and used that instead. Thank goodness we brought our own snorkel gear or we’d have to pay $20 per person!

As we were putting our stuff away and getting ready for our walk, I noticed something small and fluffy sitting on a broken tree stump. It was this cute little baby bird! I have no idea where it came from or what it was doing there, but Peter fell in love with it and so did I! We made sure not to touch it and just left it where it was.

After our swim, we took a walk down a trail to the other side of the island where the waves crashed close to us because there wasn’t a reef to break the waves. We continued on the trail and got stuck in a sudden downpour of rain. It was so beautiful and I loved how the rain and birds sounded together. We hid under a large tree until we decided to just run for it and headed back to the resort! While we were drying off we played a couple games of dominoes and decided to call it a day.

But before we left…

We just had to see the little bird who was drenched after the rain!