Descending dragons in Ha Long Bay

Ha Long Bay was coined the “rock wonder in the sky” 500 years ago by an important Confucian scholar.  The current name means “descending dragon.” Either name seems appropriate for the thousands of limestone karsts peaking out of the ocean that look like dragon backs or floating rocks!

We made the long drive from the craziness of Hanoi to Ha Long bay in a small tour bus with people from the US, Korea, Israel, and the Netherlands. I felt sorry for the two Dutch guys who were picked up last, because they were even taller than Al. They somehow managed to squish their legs into the small space between the back seats. I will never snipe about being short again!

Light streams through openings in the Dau Go Cave

Light streams through openings in the Dau Go Cave

We arrived at our boat around noon, and after lunch we headed for the Dau Go Cave across the bay. The cave was kind of interesting, but we’ll be at the Phong Nha caves in a few days and know that nothing can compete with those!

After the cave visit we putted along to a kayaking spot where we crammed ourselves into a couple of kayaks that had seen better days. I tried to find a life jacket without broken buckles, but then I realized the life vests were best viewed as cushions for our backs. This is why I made sure my kids learned to swim at an early age…

The kayaking was pretty cool. We entered a karst island through a tunnel-like cave that the ocean has carved out over millions of years. We were suddenly in the middle of a lagoon  watching the birds soaring high above us. It was incredibly peaceful!

Cave entrance into a secret lagoon

Cave entrance into a secret lagoon

When we returned to our boat we tried to go for a swim, but the current sweeping past was too strong for the girls. I’m so glad I jumped in first, because I would have had to swim after Claire to bring her back to the boat. A situation I would  prefer to avoid.

We had a nice meal on the boat and got to know our fellow travellers. A few hundred pictures as the sun was getting low in the sky and a couple of beers later, we settled in for the night. It was the perfect evening!


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