Anyone who has been following this blog for a while will be well aware that there isn’t much I love more than a good kayaking opportunity! Whether it be in tannin filled rivers along the coast of South Africa or amongst enormous icebergs in Greenland, I feel at home in a kayak and will jump at any and every chance to explore different parts of the world from within one.
There are many different areas to explore in the El Nido archipelago, but arguably the most famous and most popular are the big and small lagoons. These naturally formed lagoons are renowned for crystal clear waters, abundant wildlife and amazing snorkelling opportunities.
Being based on magnificent Miniloc, I had put myself in the absolute best location to explore these lagoons. Being such popular attractions, most visitors only ever see these lagoons filled with other people; there is absolutely nothing wrong with that but I wanted to explore them with as little interruption as possible.
After waking up to the most incredible sunrise of my life, I hopped in a kayak before 7am and set out to reach the lagoons before anybody else.
It is about a 30 minute kayak from Miniloc to the Small Lagoon. In the early hours of the morning this is an extremely easy kayak. The seas were not rough and with the sun not yet high in the sky, I was not at risk of getting a terrible sunburn! Not only is it an easy and pleasant sea kayak, it is also pretty damn stunning.
Once I arrived at the Small Lagoon – easy to find due to the rental kayaks moored outside – I was pretty ecstatic to learn that my plan had worked a charm – I had the entire lagoon to myself!
Though it is named the ‘Small’ Lagoon, it is anything but! Much like a Tardis, it looks smaller from the outside.
Once through the narrow entrance the rock opens up to reveal a beautiful shady paradise. The water is so clear you can see the ocean floor, and it is the most stunning shade of aqua I have ever seen. Trees had sprouted from the limestone and were obviously flourishing, schools of fish darted beneath my kayak and the only sounds I could hear were that of the birds chirping, the leaves rustling in the faint breeze and the water moving beneath me.
Once past the initial lagoon entrance, kayaking around revealed more openings and much more area to be explored.
After exploring for a good hour or so, I decided to head off in order to try and make it to the Big Lagoon before any big tour groups arrived. The kayak between the Big and Small Lagoons is really easy, and takes you back towards Miniloc Island. It is about a fifteen minute paddle between lagoons, and somehow, even more beautiful than my initial early morning trip out.
I could not get over how absolutely incredible the water looked. No litter, no rubbish, no pollution! I still cannot quite fathom how magical it was – but the proof is in the pictures!
From my kayak I was able to spot a tonne of wildlife along the way, including lots of moon jellyfish!
I ended up having to drape my towel over my shoulders, arms and back by this point. The sun had well and truly risen, and of course, in my excitement to explore the lagoons, I had forgotten to put on sunscreen! I did end up turning a lovely shade of pink regardless, but it was worth it to get the following photographs.
It was a pretty spectacular feeling to be kayaking around this incredible collection of islands without another human being in sight.
Before too long I had arrived at the Big Lagoon and luckily – not another kayak or boat in sight! Stay tuned, there will be more to come about the Big Lagoon in the next post!
T H E L O W D O W N
Getting There: From Manila, book a direct flight with Air Swift
El Nido Resorts: I’d like to say an enormous thank you to the wonderful team at El Nido Resorts for not only making this stay possible, but also for making it so wonderful
Miniloc: This gorgeous resort is the best base to explore the lagoons of El Nido – find out more here
Small Lagoon: All kayak gear is free for guests at Miniloc
Camera: Olympus OM-D E-M1 with 12-40mm M.Zuiko Pro Lens
Remember: To set that alarm for as early as you can manage!