A very popular activity in Palawan is island hopping around Honda Bay. With my cousin and his parents, we chartered a boat and headed out. It was a nice and relaxing day. We swam a bit around and enjoyed the sun before hopping to another island. Tita Carmen had brought a picnic and now I should say that Tita Carmen is quite a good cook. So I got to enjoy the beach, the sun, the sea AND good food. The water was quite clear and I enjoyed seeing the fishes and the fans. I even got bit by a territorial turtle wish when I swam too close to its house. It seems a million time more scary when you get bit by something underwater… Took me everything not to squeal. It’s not that it hurt, it really didn’t, it just not something you expect.
The day was quite uneventful as it should be… Except maybe for that one time, we swam out and we were like 8 meters from the shore when Oliver turned to me and asked me if I had my shoes on. He looked horrified when I said no. In Canada, you only swim with shoes if there are a lot of pointy rocks… I guess I didn’t learn my lessons in Australia where everything wants to kill you. It was my turn to be horrified to learn there are super poisonous fishes that hang on the sea floor and look like rock. Actually, they look like this:
This, my friends, is a stonefish… No, not a rockfish. A stonefish. With their spines, can deliver a painful sting that can be lethal. They are the most venomous fish in the world (by the way, did you now there are more venomous fishes than venomous snakes?). The sting causes not only excruciating pain, but also rapid and sever swelling which may result in tissue necrosis. It all depends on the depth of penetration and the number of stings. The venom can also cause vomiting, muscle weakness, temporary paralysis and shock, which may in turn result in death. Respiratory support might be necessary as a result of a sting. Scary isn’t it
Now, let’s play Spot the Stonefish:
I will admit I chose this particular video mostly because of the moray eel at the beginning. I do love moray eels!
Horrified yet? You can read the story of this poor guy here who had to spend 6 days in the hospital after stepping on one of these cutesie. Or you can read this cool article by the National Geographic here.
Now, upon hearing I had no shoes, Oliver proceed to tell me that there could be some of these little fellas in the water. He wanted me to return to shore and put my shoes on. I said something along the lines of “Hell, no! It’s safe here, I stay here”. Since I didn’t want to move, he swam back to shore to get them for me.
The rest of the day was pretty uneventful. Uneventful can be a good thing.