Following on from my whinge fest – being sat in a harbour for hours and hours, we finally made it aboard the tourist boat – Minh Quang. If truth be told the girls have done well, very well. Our Junk is a 2 berth floating palace which in contrast to the other Junks – carrying between 16 and 32 passengers plus crew – we’re indeed travelling in style (well done TCT and SSW!) –
Life aboard see’s shades of our recent Cargo Ship voyage – travelling slowly, barely cause a bow wave, minimal people, the freedom to do as we please and a chance to get to know the crew – though speaking very limited Vietnamese, we’re all on nodding terms!
We asked Duc, our guide about the larger Junks; he told us that they cost about $400US per day, per person – this to us is an astronomical amount, paying so much for so little. Granted, the Junks are large though with that many people, they also look very cramped. The food is supposed to be excellent but given the choice, I’d rather be aboard Minh Quang – of which we paid $125US per person for the whole trip – as previously said, the food is excellent and we’re not beholden to 30 odd other passengers!
Having been away for the last several months, some of which was aboard the aforementioned ship, I finally got to swim in the sea – it was glorious! As soon as we set sail from Cat Ba, Jamie and I had changed into our swimming costumes and demanded to swim!
Neither of us being put off by the Japanese whaling fleet tailing us (we were safe in the fact that Greenpeace were just behind them) Us two land whales gracefully entered the water – I thought with the grace of Tom Daly though apparently not, it was more akin to a couple of breeze blocks being tossed off a bridge!
Later that evening we anchored up; the crew cooking a fantastic meal of fried fish, baked fish, tofu and several other tasty morsels, we ate well, drank warm white wine before retiring to bed, nicely tired and very happy.
I awoke a little before 6am this morning so took the opportunity to go above deck to snap some phots – it’s really beautiful here, there are several fishermen’s huts all of which are floating around us and numerous limestone cliffs rising from the water. One of the fishermen has some Vietnamese music playing in the background, in a strange way it enhances my morning rather than detracting from the peacefulness of this area.
Again, I’ve started a day with a dip in the ‘oggin – I really could start each day like this, diving off the boat into the emerald green waters. It’s our final morning aboard the Minh Quang, we’re about to have breakfast then we’ll set sail for Halong Way to join our minibus back to Hanoi City.
Tonight we leave Hanoi; we join an overnight train to the Vietnamese city of Hue…