For our first week in the Philippines we spent it on the touristy island of Boracay. We were lucky that a group of friends could join us and for that week we weren't travellers, we were just enjoying a girly holiday. We spent our days on the white beaches chilling out, doing boat trips, watching incredible sunsets each evening and enjoying the many bars and restaurants. We went diving and snorkelling which was pleasant if not a tad disappointing.
For our second week we were back to being travellers but we are now a threesome, with Eimear our friend as the newest addition. We had planned to go to see the whale sharks but as with travelling it didn't work and we headed for the remote island of Pandan, off the coast of a larger island Mindoro. Pandan is incredible, it has to be here they take the photos for holiday brochures. White sand, palm trees, sunshine and only about 30 people on the whole island. We got the snorkelling gear on but not expecting much after our experience in Boracay and we didn't bother to bring a camera. Boy were we wrong!! The reef was beautiful, before we even reached a reef we had seen several turtles and stingrays. The reef was crystal clear and full of colourful fish, starfish, lionfish, stone fish, parrotfish, pufferfish and everything we could have wanted to see.
As we were swimming back, a triggerfish locked eyes on Sue and headed for her. I heard a scream from about 5m away followed by laughter as the fish swam away from her. All was good the fish was just curious. Or so we thought. We swam on, and a few metres later I spotted the same triggerfish. A triggerfish is about the size of a pillow and is quite flat, fast and has vicious teeth. The triggerfish spotted me and immediately hit the accelerator in my direction. I presumed he would retreat as soon as he got near me, but he wasn't slowing down. I screamed as it seemed the only logical thing to do! Sue and Eimear looked in my direction and watched the show. I started swimming backwards, still screaming, kicking towards the fish, as he approached my fins. He showed me his teeth and I kicked like a lunatic. He tried to come at me from the side, I tried to kick that way, gracefully of course! My fin fell off and I caught it with my hand. He spotted my bare foot and went for my toes. I swiped at him several times. So here I am trying to swim backwards with one fin, hitting a fish underwater, and still screaming! Tropical paradise, how are you!!
After I retreated a few metres he lost interest and swam off, after putting the fear of God in me! I swam to the shore, the girls didn't know whether to laugh or not. Neither did I! It turns out triggerfish are highly protective if they have a nest on the sandy bottom. They will circle the nest and attack anything within a 10m radius. Sue must have been on the edge of the circle, I mutt have been in the centre! I always thought if I seen a shark underwater I would be afraid, but no, a triggerfish attack scares me more..... Google it, go on I dare you!