The view above is from the Tojoman Lagoon within the Sohoton Cove National Park. This is situated in Bucas Grande Islands of Socorro in Surigao del Norte, a fast rising tourist destination and exciting foray for adventure seekers. The Tojoman Lagoon is also home to the stingless jellyfish in Sohoton.
The stingless jellyfish is a wonderful phenomenon. Because of their enclosure and isolation from the open sea, they have evolved into a harmless species trapped within a lake devoid of predators. The protected habitat allows them to feed on the algae within the lake, existing and reproducing in peace, without interference from outside forces.
A group of jellyfish is called a smack. Other common collective names for these creatures include “bloom” and “swarm. (trivia)
However, as humans slowly creep into this fragile ecosystem, the situation may change soon. Even when strict tourism rules state that you cannot swim in the lake (lotions, sunblock will harm them), or carry them (they easily wither out of water), eager tourists will naturally want to commune with these gelatinous beauties without being stung lethally.
I have been to three such delicate marine locations. The first one was the famous Jellyfish Lake in Eil Malk in the Republic of Palau, Micronesia. It became a bucket list must have to most adventure seekers. I did not swim with the swarm at that time because tourists were already lining up, noisily waiting for their turn on a platform facing the calm enclosed lake. This was in 2006, and I have read that the millions of jellyfish existing there have since slowly dwindled down today.
Please excuse the photos, they were from my disposable film camera. 🙂
The second I’ve been to was in the less explored Libtong Cove in Cantilan, Surigao del Sur back in 2014. At that time though, the lake was very calm, lacking the shiny creatures who were on its seasonal migration pattern elsewhere, so said the boatman.
Third time around was better in Sohoton Cove last year (2015), as we were able to see different species of jellyfish in various shapes, sizes and textures. So I guess I must backtrack and revise my old published articles that Palau has the only non-stinging jellyfish in existence. Philippines and Indonesia have them, too.
Jellyfish don’t have brains. There’s not much to a jellyfish. They’re composed of three layers: an outer layer called the epidermis; a thick, elastic layer made of a jelly-like substance called mesoglea; and an inner layer called the gastrodermis. (trivia)
If you are interested in visiting Bucas Grande and Sohoton Cove National Park in Socorro, Surigao del Norte, you may visit Bucas Grande Island Travel and Tours as they have nice comprehensive packages and accurate directions on how to reach the destination.
I cannot provide exact rates as I was invited by the Department of Tourism Caraga Region. Special thanks to the office and team for this wonderful experience in 2015.
Will be writing more about the Sohoton Cove adventures in another post.