While the island hopping tour had been fun, it had meant always being with a pretty large group of others. So on our second day we decided to rent a kayak and forge out on our own. We splurged a bit for the extra novelty/fun value of getting a clear kayak from the El Nido Artcafe, grabbed some paninis from a nearby deli, and started off.
Based on a quick bit of Googling we decided to head to Cadlao Island, as it’s both the largest and closest to El Nido. The water is the bay was super calm, clear, and full of jumping fish, and with our enthused early morning paddling we reached the island in about 30 minutes. Once there we slowed down to a more casual pace as we followed the coast, stopping in a few spots to admire the cute beaches and jump out and do some snorkelling. All the beaches we passed had a few people on them (lots of places offer overnight camping on the islands), so we kept heading up the coast, as we had read that there was a less-visited lagoon on the other side of Cadlao island.
The water got a little more exciting out there because we were now facing the open ocean, plus we had paddled for about 2 more hours at this point, so we were pretty stoked when we saw the inlet in front of us. We rounded the bend and found a lovely and uninhabited lagoon, complete with a perfect little beach at one end. We were hungry from all the paddling at this point, so we veeeeery carefully carried our kayak onto the beach (we had been given strict instructions to not go ashore, paddle in shallow water, or in any other way drag the clear kayak through the sand) and sat down under a tree for a small picnic.
The beach was soooooo cute, full of seashells and hermit crabs, and the water was bathwater warm with lots of tiny fishes swimming around. The obvious things to do after lunch were take a lot of self-timer pictures (in my case) and lie down in the gentle surf to rest (in Chris’s case), so we did both.
Pretty sure that this beach would have been the find of our trip so far, except that I had also found these amazing matching his and hers rainbow shorts at a mall in Manila earlier. Sometimes I think Chris is a bit of an enabler when it comes to my stupid purchases.
We spent most of the afternoon lounging around and doing a bit of snorkelling in the lagoon. After a couple of hours another small tour boat pulled in and some people jumped off to snorkel, but other than that we were undisturbed. Eventually some clouds rolled in and we decided to take the opportunity to start paddling back while it was a bit cooler. The return journey was a bit harder as the tide was coming out, but we stopped once along the mainland coast to snorkel at an uninhabited beach with waters full of blue starfish.
Once back we decided to treat our tired arms with pizza and salad for dinner, again at Altrove Trattoria, rapidly becoming our go-to place. We then passed out unintentionally early, as kayaking in the sun sure takes it out of you, it turns out.