|Making necklaces with Puka shells|
Puka Beach lies at Boracay's northern end. It’s where the road ends and the beach begins. Because of its more remote location (can there be such a thing on an island that is just 7km long) it is much quieter than White Beach. I walked out onto the beach, which stretches to the right and left, and passed two women sitting next to a blue, wooden boat. They were making necklaces and bracelets with shells found on the beach.
Further along, I noticed a woman, probably in her 50s, collecting shells. I stopped and asked what kind she was looking for.
“Puka shells,” she said, reaching into her bag and showing me a small, delicate white shell with some modest colouring on it. In the centre was a hole in which they feed string to make jewellery.
I continued down the beach and found myself looking for Puka shells. I thought I stumbled on one, so I walked back and gave it to the woman.
‘No, that’s not one,” she said laughing.
So my skills in shell identification needs some work. I smiled and said goodbye to the woman.
|I came across these two people, Edward and Becky, relaxing at Puka Beach|
Except for a handful of people, the beach was empty. The water looked invitingly perfect. Its aqua marine colour shimmering in the morning sun. In the distance, a wall of dark storm clouds gathered. I kicked off my sandals and walked along the beach for a kilometre or so, before it abruptly came to an end.
For a fleeting moment, I contemplated trying to round the rocky point, but I had no idea how deep the water might be on the other side, so I turned back down the beach. Just then, a few raindrops tumbled from the sky. I hoped I could make it back to my hotel, before the sky unleashed its angry torrent. But on this day, nature would get the better of me, and the rain soon poured from above.
I spotted a shelter, made of bamboo and covered with palm fronds, not far down the beach. I decided to wait out the storm there. I scampered up a small path that led to shelter that sat about 10 feet off the beach. The entire structure measured about eight feet by 10 feet, and was constructed of bamboo poles that had been lashed together. Behind the shelter was a tall hillside covered in lush vegetation.
|A fortuitous shelter to escape the rain|
Safe from the rain that lashed the top of the shelter, I pulled out a book, Richard Branson’s Business Stripped Bar: Adventures of a Global Entrepreneur, and began reading. When I grew tired of reading, I sat and stared out at the ocean. In the distance I sported a small ferry, and a few Bangka boats passed by, but other than that I was alone. It was as if I was marooned on a deserted island.
Two hours on, I grew restless, and regretted leaving my jacket in my hotel room. I resisted the urge to leave the shelter, knowing that I’d be soaked in a short time.
Thirty minutes later the rain eased and I dashed for freedom. The clouds that had tormented me, gave way to a bright blue sky. Instead of taking a trike back to my hotel, I decided to walk. I wasn’t sure how long it would take. The main road leading away from the beach climbs steeply, and I laboured under the warm noontime sun. I passed through small villages, where the homes that fronted the road also served as small shops selling fruit, candies, drinks, and other things that would allow a family to eke out a living. Most of the small homes were made of discarded wood, or palm fronds woven together. A lucky few were constructed of cement.
|Road leading away from Puka Beach|
One of many roadside shops
|A small village near Puka Beach|
|Father and Daughter|
|Father and son selling ice cream|