Cadlao island is the closest island to El Nido so we bartered with a bubbly chap along the beach for a kayak rental. He was full of banter, offering us dry bags and giving us a bin liner instead. We plowed across the slightly choppy waters to the tip of the island where we were greeted with calm waters and an inviting beach. We pulled up and went for a snorkel but the jellyfish were everywhere and made it quite unenjoyable.
We paddled along the shores and watched the incredible colours of the ocean change beneath us from glorious turquoise to a bath of gin. It was just stunning and we laughed that we didn’t need to bother snorkelling as we could see the coral from the kayak. We could also see all the jellyfish which was such a shame as we wanted to jump off but counted too many drifting past us that we gave it a miss.
We beach hopped along the shores, passing caves and narrow chasms, sharp, pointy rocks and swaying seaweed. A remote beach backed with sheer cliffs and dense jungle made the perfect setting for our packed lunch. Coconuts were ripped open beneath their trees, I presume monkeys must be the culprits.
We were pretty shattered by now but I’d read there was a lagoon further up, so we persevered around a headland, and then another one, stopping at more beaches on the way. We decided to go for another snorkel and this time there wasn’t a jellyfish in sight and we saw some great nemos and a few cool boulders of coral but not enough colour sadly. The visibility was amazing though and the reef was a good few meters below us but as clear as if we were right next to it.
Finally we reached the lagoon which had razor sharp rocks shooting out it and a change of water colours as it deepened. We circumnavigated it and then had the dreaded paddle back to El Nido. The sun was brutal and our arms were totally exhausted but we came back to our very smiley kayak rental man and a well needed Halo-Halo which is our favourite Filipino treat of crushed ice, evaporated milk and jelly-like goodies inside.