23 Feb - 26 Feb 2015 Apo Island

The Sea Turtles of Apo Island… 
DM Konni: Frolicking with sea turtles in the shallow, tepid waters of remote Apo Island, a perfect foraging ground for all five endangered species (green sea turtle, hawksbill sea turtle, olive ridley sea turtle, leatherback sea turtleloggerhead sea turtle), and scuba diving into a fantastic underwater world of colourful soft corals on the island's vibrant fringing reefs.

"It's turtles all the way down." 

DM Konni: Playing with a bale of friendly green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) and hawksbill sea turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) all the live-long day next to the boat landing at Apo Village and watching how they feed absolutely undisturbed on their salty favourite dish: fresh sea grass and juicy algae - once a raw-food eater, always a raw-food eater.

“People have been on earth in our present form for only about 100,000 years, and in so many ways we’re still ironing out our kinks. These turtles we’ve been traveling with, they outrank us in longevity, having earned three more zeros than we. They’ve got one hundred million years of success on their resume, and they’ve learned something about how to survive in the world. And this, I think, is part of it: they have settled upon peaceful career paths, with a stable rhythm. If humans could survive another one hundred million years, I expect we would no longer find ourselves riding bulls. It’s not so much that I think animals have rights; it’s more that I believe humans have hearts and minds - though I’ve yet to see consistent, convincing proof of either. Turtles may seem to lack sense, but they don’t do senseless things. They’re not terribly energetic, yet they do not waste energy… Turtles cannot consider what might happen yet nothing turtles do threatens anyone’s future. Turtles don’t think about the next generation, but they risk and provide all they can to ensure that there will be one. Meanwhile, we profess to love our own offspring above all else, yet above all else it is they from whom we daily steal. We cannot learn to be more like turtles, but from turtles we could learn to be more human. That is the wisdom carried within one hundred million years of survival. What turtles could learn from us, I can’t quite imagine.”

DM Konni: Supporting the island's frail economy and scuba diving with locally run Mario’s Scuba Diving +639063617254 in their protected and well preserved marine environment, filled to bursting point with marvellous soft corals and colourful reef fish, and noticing at the same time that the u/w visibility in the Visayas is at its best during the months of November and December.

Konni: Saving the island's precious and scarce drinking water as much as possible since the village's storage tanks are already empty and the only sources of fresh water in the dry season are the island's few deep wells, and remembering how we saved drinking water on our sailing ship "SY Kamu II" when we sailed down the Red Sea in 2007 CE (e.g. [1], [2], [3], [4], [5]): (i) showering with seawater, (ii) cooking potatoes, rice and pasta with half seawater from a bucket and half fresh water from our ship's 1,000-litre tank and, of course, (iii) drinking as much beer as sustainable.

“Whiskey is for drinking; water is for fighting over.” 


Konni: Taking a rugged bangka (PHP 300.- or US$ 7.- per tourist) from Apo Island to Malatapay in Negros Oriental, switching thereafter to a jeepney (PHP 20.- per person) to Dumaguete and continuing from the port to the Siquijor pier by embarking on Montenegro Lines (PHP 93.- or US$ 2.10 per senior citizen plus PHP 12.- terminal fee).

Vor ein paar Tagen fuhr ich auf eine kleine Insel, die ich monatelang jeden Abend beim Sonnenuntergang am fernen Horizont gesehen hatte. Ich war neugierig geworden, wie die Menschen wohl dort leben.
Von meiner Insel Siquijor fuhr ich mit einer Faehre auf die grosse Insel Negros und von dort mit einem Fischerboot auf die kleine Insel Apo. Dort leben weniger als eintausend Menschen. Im Inneren der Insel gibt es sanfte Huegel mit einem weissen Leuchtturm, aber keine einzige Quelle und keinen Bach mit frischem klaren Wasser. Wenn es regnet, dann fangen die Menschen das Regenwasser mit den Dachrinnen und sammeln es in grossen Wassertanks, um es abgekocht als Trinkwasser zu benutzen und um damit ihren taeglichen Reis zu kochen. Als ich dort war, hatte es sehr lange nicht geregnet und die Wassertanks waren leer. Zum Glueck hatten bereits die Vorfahren der heutigen Inselbewohner tiefe Brunnen gegraben, aus denen wir nun unsere Wasserkanister fuellen konnten. Den ganzen Tag ueber waren Maenner, Frauen und auch Kinder unterwegs, um aus diesen Brunnen das kostbare Nass zu schoepfen. Einige junge Maenner ueben den Beruf eines Wassertransporteurs aus. Sie besitzen einen selbstgebauten Schubkarren mit Holzraedern, auf den ca. zehn grosse Plastikkanister passen. Am Tiefbrunnen schoepfen sie solange Wasser, bis alle Kanister voll sind und danach fahren sie zu den Familien, die das Wasser bestellt haben. Diese Karren sind uebrigens die einzigsten “Fahrzeuge” auf der Insel Apo; es gibt keine Fahrraeder, keine Mopeds und schon gar keine Autos. - Woher stammt das Wasser bei Euch im Farmhaus, wenn ihr in der Kueche den Wasserhahn aufdreht? 
From the Philippines, with Love!

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