This is a story of how we lost a bet and won something priceless.

Pescador was the highlight of our weekend in Moalboal. It was as I expected it to be. The sea clear and salty; the coral formation, young and thriving. We spent almost an hour battling mild sea currents, taking underwater pictures and exploring Pescador’s shallow water ecos. Fun, memorable and exhausting.

I didn’t know we had one more stop.

“50% discount if you don’t find millions of sardines,” our guide announced with confidence as we drifted towards land.

A prank. It could only be a prank. We were heading for the shore; how could there be ‘millions of sardines'? A mental image of him pointing at piles of canned sardines started taking shape - which I thought was brilliant and hilarious!

As we drifted closer to the said site of the sardines, I noticed other tour groups -- Japanese on a bigger boat and Europeans on a yacht. Most of them were wearing diving suits.

I looked down the water. We were ten meters from the shore and the sea was still deep blue. Wait a minute...could there really be ‘millions of sardines’? The doubt lingered.

Our boat stopped as the anchor was dropped. The guide looked at us and said, “Go ahead and dive; you’ll see.”

Fuck exhaustion. Doubtful me was the first to grab a pair of goggles and dove. My sun-seared skin welcomed the cool water, my eyes didn't. So I washed the blurry goggles, put them back on and dove deep, deep down the sea world!

Bubbles! Lots of bubbles from the depths.

“Oh, divers!” I had to squint to notice them. They were, at least, 5 meters underwater and it was hard to see them in the darkness of the depths.

Then the darkness moved.

“What, what?”

And it moved again like a big piece of cloth dancing in sync with the water’s current and the land dwellers marveling at it.

“Wooh. Sardines!”, my mind cheered  ecstatically. Everywhere I looked, there were sardines.

Hundred of thousands or even millions of them!

It's a shame this pic isn't

We lost.

I looked up and smiled. “There really are...and..a lot of them.”

“I told you so! So you’ll pay us twice?”, our guide gleefully announced.

Everyone laughed out of excitement, wore their goggles and took another plunge.

Swimming with sardines