We've been back in the Philippines for four out of our seven and a half precious weeks, and have spent most of it getting Chasamba sea worthy and rust free (more or less....). We decided on Sunday it was finally time for a real holiday, and got on a bus to El Nido, the wonderful little holiday village which sits nearly at the northern tip of Palawan. Here limestone carsts form stunningly beautiful islands wreathed with cloud and the water is clear with good visibility. The main activity to do in El Nido is to take a banca trip out to the islands and snorkel, have lunch - grilled fish, rice, salad and papaya, comes with the banca and crew, snorkel some more and go home slightly sunburned but happy. As you can imagine, I was more than a little worried about swimming all day with a stoma; visions of awfully embarrassing potential accidents kept crowding out the expectations of fun. I wasnt about to give in though, and miss the best bit of the holiday, so I prepared an emergency pack of bases, bags and everything I might need, and threw it into the bottom of the bag with towels, snorkelling gear and suntan lotion.
The trick, I discovered, is NOT TO CHECK ANYTHING! Unless the whole base actually falls off, in which case you obviously do have to do something, there is really no problem. After all morning swimming the only problem was finding some discreet place to empty the bag after lunch, (there are no toilets out there!) and in the end I did this in the sea a long way from anyone else on the beach, round a little headland, underwater. It was fine, easier than using some toilets, actually! And the fish had fun too. After all day in the water when I got back to our cottage and checked, the base had partly separated, maybe an inch or two, but there was no actual leakage at all, and I'm fairly sure no-one on the trip had any idea I have a stoma. My bathing suit has a skirt and the cut is generous enough to hide it, so, yes, I would do it again!
Tomorrow it's back to the grind, we have lots more work to do before we leave on the 14th. Merry Christmas, everyone!