Ha Long Bay Cruise Day 2 – Family Kayak

Travel Period: 21 Sep – 28 Sep 2014

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Hanoi Day 6 Itinerary –

A New Experience

We had never tried Kayaking before. I did a kayaking session before in a school camp but that was just using a surfboard. Therefore, I was quite nervous when they announced that they would be setting up this activity for us. 

Dar didn’t know what kayaking was like but he had seen a couple doing it yesterday, so he was quite keen. By then, I was tired from the Fishing Village and Cat Ba Island tours, and didn’t feel like doing any more physical stuff. However, it was not possible for him to go with Daddy alone so I obliged, thinking it as a new experience to add to my travel bucket list.

We wore our spare shirts and bottoms over swim-wear because the weather was still burning hot. I didn’t want to get sunburned and even wore my hat. We found out that was a mistake for Dar soon…

As we walked to the gathering deck, I realised there were nobody at all…except us. No one is interested in kayaking? Or everyone’s too tired? Since we are already changed, it’s too late to go back.

We signalled to the crew our interest. Earlier on, we had asked if it’s alright for Dar to be in the kayak with us. They said it was fine and brought a kayak close to the ferry. We are to step out from the ferry into the kayak. I thought the crew would teach us how to do it or help us but nope…I think he couldn’t communicate in English and thus couldn’t tell us anything.

Stepping into the small boat one by one, water immediately rushed in and pooled at the bottom. Dar was in the middle of both of us. We sat down and got our pants all wet. Dar being shorter, wet his belly too. That started Dar’s endless complaints about his wet bottoms. I knew he is very particular about wearing wet clothing and would never swim with clothes, but I thought since he was wearing swimming costume, why did it matter? Turned out, it did matter so much for him that he kept complaining about his clothing being wet the whole time we were trying to manoeuvre the boat away from the ferry. It was so frustrating!

Already, we were inexperienced since it was our first time doing kayaking. Trying to paddle and going the direction we wanted was hard. I try to recall what I did when I was taught this years ago…then I told Vin that he had to give the commands to paddle left, then paddle right. We HAVE to do it at the same time or the kayak wouldn’t move correctly. 

This seemed to work, as after seemingly turning round in circles and still in the vicinity of the ferry, we got the rhythm and started setting off to a faraway isle. I caught side of the crew who wouldn’t help us much just now and he seemed to be “laughing” at us. *humph. >.<

This is when I realised that we had forgotten our phone. I specially bought waterproof cases for this trip, yet forgot to take it out of our luggage to use. *Head palm. Sigh, how to take photographs of ourselves?

That’s why there are no photographs of our maiden voyage. Here’s a photo we took of our fellow tourists yesterday – how it would look like kayaking in Ha Long Bay waters.

Kayaking While Admiring the Surroundings

Kayaking in the middle of Ha Long Bay waters was a strange experience and a pretty scary one. We were all alone in the deep waters with only the mountains in front of us and the Au Co to the back of us. The boat was rocky with slight movements. The water level was only just slightly below the top of the boat due to the weight of the three of us and Dar was constantly whining about his wet clothes and fear of going into the water.

I was also nervous but I had to pretend I’m calm so he would relax. I told Vin about my worries of tipping ourselves into the water, even though we were wearing a life-jacket. If the boat capsized, we would have to be in the waters for a while before the crew can come over…since we had paddled quite far away. Frankly, I didn’t know where we got the courage from.

Maybe because it was a once in a life time experience to do this in a foreign country, amidst beautiful landscape. Both of us didn’t want to go back so soon despite Dar’s protests (Vin say it is because it’s hard to turn..ahaha). When would we have the chance to do this activity unless we specially pay for it? (It’s free as part of the cruise package) It was so nice to move around in the water and watch the sun starting to set afar….even though my arms were getting tired as some strength is needed to move against the water.

Soon, we reached a beach area and I panicked as the boat started to sway a lot. The waves would push us to the beach area and the unevenness would surely topple us all. How would we be able to get back onto the kayak? I shouted to Vin to start paddling faster and change direction, so as to move away from it. It took a while before we finally got away from the waves and moved along calmer waters.  My heart was pounding and I was soooo exhausted. Looking at the Au Co, it had became a tiny vision. We were so far away?! 

I suggest to stop paddling and just enjoy the quiet for a moment. Dar was not complaining by this time since I warned him sternly. He was still not happy though and was extremely scared of capsizing, grabbing to Daddy in front tightly at times. I think he regretted trying kayaking…heh..

We decided to go back since I couldn’t paddle much anymore. Vin took the majority of the paddling while I just try to move it along. We didn’t know how to move it close to the boarding area but fortunately, the crew grabbed hold of one end and managed to pull the kayak towards them. 

We were so glad to be back on the boat! 

After this, Vin even went for a swim around the ship while we went back to our room to rest. He noted that those who were swimming didn’t have life buoy nor life jacket on. Thus, he just swam freely too in the seawater but had to stop soon due to tiredness. 

Kayaking as a family was an interesting and memorable first-time experience for the three of us. I think I would want to try it again but maybe at more swallow waters, with others around?

{ Next Post: BBQ Night on Ha Long Bay Cruise }