A unique guest experience by Kathleen Albert, Loveland, Colorado
On January 18, 2024, I arrived at El Galleon (from Loveland, Colorado) with the scuba club from Marin County, California. I have traveled with this club several times as my best friend who lives in San Francisco, organizes the majority of the trips. I am not a diver; however, I love the snorkeling these trips provide, the people, great land excursions and the chance to experience different cultures around the world.
Before leaving on this month-long trip, my boyfriend and I were looking into buying a house together in Colorado. One of our challenges in moving forward is his sweet, smart, very energetic Border Collie named Harlie. I am allergic to Harlie and a bit challenged with her endless energy at this point in my life (retired 63 yr old). However, love rules and you make concessions to be with the one you love. I am not going to lie…. I wasn’t exactly going to miss Harlie for a month 🙂
I joined the scuba boat on a 10:30 am dive after learning from the dive master that it would be a great place for me to snorkel. About 40 minutes into my serene, quiet snorkel, I heard a dog incessantly barking. My first thought was ” Why am I hearing Harlie?? I am thousands of miles away in the Philippines!!!”. I looked up to scan the shoreline to see if I could find the source of this annoying barking and there was no sign of a dog. When I looked out over the water, I could see 2 boats arriving, full of divers and a Border Collie racing from end to end on one of the boats barking incessantly. I won’t print what my first thought was, but my second thought was “WHY did that boat bring a barking dog??”. Approximately 100 yards from me, the boats stopped in the shallow area of the reef to drop off the divers. I quickly changed directions and started snorkeling in the opposite direction. The barking continued….and then it suddenly stopped. All was quiet for 15 seconds until a man started yelling. I guess this wasn’t going to be the serene, quiet experience I had set out to have.
I ignored what was going on and tried to concentrate on the beauty below me. The yelling escalated and now seemed a bit more urgent, so I looked up. To my surprise the Border Collie was swimming directly towards me about 100 yards away. By this point, I just brushed it off and said to myself ‘the dog just wanted to go swimming, regardless of what the captain wanted!’ I kept snorkeling. When I looked up again the dog had closed the gap between us and was now about 25 yards away. I kept snorkeling. Then I felt scratching on my leg and the Border Collie jumped on my back. Taken quite by SURPRISE, I pushed him off my back and into the water.
WHAT was going on???? The dog would not leave me alone and kept pawing at my legs and jumping on me.
The captain clearly did not know how to handle this, as he was the only one on his boat and could not come after the dog. After about 10 minutes of unsuccessfully pushing the dog away, I decided to swim to their boat. The dog followed me, all the while performing the same pawing and jumping on me routine. I couldn’t decide if the dog was drowning, thought I was drowning or WHAT???? When I got to the boat, the Captain and I had difficulty getting the dog from the water into the boat. After pulling from his side and pushing on my end from the water, we were able to get him back on the boat. Clearly annoyed, since I had incorrectly assumed that he was the dog owner, I voiced my opinion about having the dog out on the boat. I wasn’t rude, just clear.
The Captain from my Asia Divers boat, had started to work his way towards me after witnessing what was happening. I started to swim towards the boat, happy to get out of the water! Not so quickly girlfriend…..I heard a splash accompanied by more yelling. The dog had jumped back into the water and was now tracking me down like a heat seeking missile! Same routine happened all over with the jumping on me so I turned around again to help the captain get the dog back into the boat. At this point, my boat was fairly close and I beelined for the ladder. The Captain of my boat said he had never seen anything like that before…. LUCKY ME 🙂
Shortly afterwards all of the scuba divers were back on the boat, excitedly asking me, “How was your Snorkel Kathleen?”. I couldn’t resist a somewhat strained smile as I sarcastically replied ” A dog gone great time!”
Upon arrival at the dock, I was able to share my experience with the divers. Their shock and dismay were clear and that this was a highly unique event!
After sharing my dog tale with Ally (Marketing Manager at El Galleon), she went into research mode to find out who owned the dog. She found the captain of the boat who said it wasn’t his dog. The dog had jumped onto his boat when they were leaving the dock. Being a diligent type of person, Ally found out that the dog’s name was Bailey and belonged to one of the dive shops further down the pier. She found the owner and had a delightful conversation with him about Bailey and I. Truly Bailey was doing his job and herding me back to the boat as the black sheep who had wandered off (no comments here from any of my family or friends please!). Bailey was not giving up on redirecting me back to safety. It was hysterical and I am convinced that my Harlie back home sent a telepathic message to a long-lost Philippines cousin to get me out of the water so that I could read the email that the house we wanted to purchase was on the market. Do you believe in angels, cosmic events or the power of love?
Well, I do 🙂
Happy Diving and Snorkeling,