Tuesday, April 21, 2009

the waterworld island Dawahon part 1

As if getting back from a week-long business travel from Indonesia was easy, last week, I had to make a day trip over the expansive bank of Dawahon. The reef is one of the most extensive in the Visayas, spanning from where the Olango Channel of Cebu ends, stretching over a good part of Northern Bohol and edging into Canigaso Channel of Ormoc Bay of Leyte.

Danahon reef at Leyte
the Dawahon reef at Leyte’s side

the flecks are seaweed farmhouses not islets

Dawahon was ground zero in the cultivation of carrageenan-bearing seaweed in the Visayas in the 1980s. Production was primarily centered on the two types of guso seaweed: spinosum and cottonii. Production has since increased and experienced peaks and lows. Today, the reef could net at least 7,000 dry metric tons on an annual basis.

approaching the island
the island appears twice its size because of the burgeoning number of seaweed drying platforms around the island

Danahon island
Dawahon island up close

For the species known as spinosum, the title of top producer flits between two small islands in the eastern tip of the reef: Hingutanan which is a part of Bien Unido, Bohol and the island immediately east of it, Dawahon which is already part of Leyte.

entering Danahon Island
entering Dawahon Island

To get there from Cebu, the best route is to head to Buot pier in Punta Engano, Mactan Island, where numerous boats could be hired. We recently tried the professional boat operator Eris which has an office right at entrance of the port and their rates were quite competitive. As our destination would be the island of Danahon which is at least 50 kilometers away, we decided on their fastest boat which is already a fairly sized boat that can take in 20 people comfortably.

getting closer
docking into the island can be tricky

The trip took us some 3 hours across perfectly still waters and under unbelievably sunny and clear skies. The conditions have been ideal in the past week or so and we picked a fine day for the trip.

drying platform
a typical seaweed drying platform, one of about more than a hundred surrounding the small island

Next: Inside the island

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