Not too long ago, I couldn’t stand early mornings. My body used to feel like an anchor, weighing me down in my bed every time the alarm reminded me that another day was starting. After the intense struggle to get up, I could always feel my hands catching on everything and my eyes falling back shut on their own. And after one more second, Robertas would suddenly become the worst man ever for no particular reason.
But ever since my 27th birthday, my attitude towards mornings has completely changed. To celebrate it, Robertas brought me to a private island called Naglayan.
Even from afar, the island looked very peaceful, and our villa, which I was already looking at longingly, seemed to tiptoe on the very water. From the moment we arrived, the balcony was my absolute favorite place. It was a cozy spot to hang out and the view was simply astounding.
It wasn’t until the next morning, that I found out the balcony could also show me the image of paradise. I’m sure, it will stay on my mind for a very long time. The emerald sea and the silhouette of the huge mountain seemed taken straight from Čiurlionis’s “Peace”, which I fondly remembered from my childhood.
I woke up at 5.30 AM. A warm wind was playing with the curtains and I felt as it was inviting me to come out. Charmed by the mystery of that moment, I wordlessly went to the balcony. The sea was choppy and the wind cold against my face. The same wind that seemed to have woken up all the waves I could hear them quietly lapping at the shore. In front of my eyes, I could see nothing except an expanse of darkness standing out. Suddenly, a small shard of light pierced the mountains and spread its rays above their peaks… I felt myself sitting in the armchair. The moment was magic. That Čiurlionis mountain found its contour in mere seconds. First navigation lights appeared from fishermen who had woken up even earlier than me. The golden color behind the mountains blended with orange and emerald green and the light perseveringly spread out. The sky changed shades countless times before I finally felt the heat rising. The dark shadow of the mountain rolled over the water, indicating the night had already come and gone. The mint-colored water returned and the moment was over.
Fascinated by that wonderful feeling, I woke up early the next two mornings as well. There was not even a thought about my heavy-lidded eyes or sluggish and clumsy hands. I tried to rouse Robertas from the bed so he could join me, but all I got was barely intelligible muttering, telling me to leave him alone – and I didn’t mind one bit! I was just so excited to admire the beauty of mornings again, that the usual irritation I feel at his grumpiness was completely blocked out. Unfazed, I focused all my attention on the happiness – the peaceful sea, the centuries-counting mountain, and the enchanting rising sun. I remember myself helplessly pawing at my phone, trying to at least partly capture the image I so admired. Unfortunately, I don’t think even modern technology can truly impart the feeling.
I am extremely grateful to Naglayan for showing me that I can still fall in love with mornings.
I am also grateful to the people of Naglayan for their very hospitable reception. The Sunlight Resort’s staff greeted us with smiles at the airport, helpfully took us to the seaside, and sailed us to the island. During the trip, we had all the time to admire the blue sea and the mountains, which were dotted with clumps of trees, looking very much like flocks of green sheep making their way to the summit. When we finally arrived at the island, everyone greeted us with traditional music and necklaces made out of seashells.
And while those beautiful mornings and their stunning sunrises did truly entrance me, they were only part of our four-day paradise experience. Every day, we enjoyed the fabulous cuisine, tasted a wide variety of seafood and soft, freshly-baked buns. We even decided to splurge a bit and ordered lobster (it was huge and yummy) for only the second time in our lives.
And that’s not even counting all water attractions we found there… During one stormy afternoon, despite all warnings that it was a very bad idea, Robertas and I braved the violent waves and went kayaking. Halfway through, we started to think that those warnings may have been right, but we had absolutely no regrets afterward. We realized that we love kayaking so much that it was worth the risk of being getting marooned on a random island and having to live like reality show participants for the next couple of days. I have to say, I did enjoy watching the guards following our movement from the shore of the island.
The next afternoon, we challenged the waves again, but this time on a jet ski. Robertas and I took turns – and by that I mean I started out driving, but nearly drowned us both, so he banned me from the driver’s seat. And naturally, we couldn’t end our trip without going island-hopping. It wasn’t part of our original plans, but the tour we booked right there took us to some breathtaking places. We also got to swim in the clear waters of the Twin Lagoon and Kayangan Lake, snorkel alongside the Coral Garden with some of the most colorful corals I have ever seen, and see the creepy underwater remains of a WWII ship, which they call the Skeleton Wreck.
And while there are people who say Coron and its surroundings are somewhat tourist-worn places, they seem to forget that they are tourists themselves. I think that while visiting the most beautiful corners of the world, which Coron is part of, it doesn’t matter how many other travelers are around. So if you have the chance, choose a private island like we did, and you will only see other “wanderers” while visiting the surrounding areas.
It is also worth mentioning that every evening on this paradise island was even more special because of the amazing sunsets. On our last night there, filled with the best emotions and hopes to come back soon, we escorted the sun beyond the horizon. Unexpectedly, our waitress played the best chord for my birthday that night. She not only forced us to dance but also cleverly used Google Translate to surprise me with a message engraved next to the cake: Su Gimtadieniu, Miss Garbanotieji Plaukai! (“Happy Birthday, Miss Curly Hair!”).
I fell in love. With Robertas all over again. With the Coron region. With the private Naglayan island, and, of course, with those magic early mornings.