Greetings from the Ha Long Bay! We've just docked after setting sail for two days! Although foggy and a little chilly we had an unforgettable time.
We sailed on our cruise ship through the 1,900 islands that make up the Ha Long Bay. We can all check one of the seven natural wonders off our lists as Ha Long Bay is ranked number three! We started off the trip with a huge lunch of chicken curry, squid, cucumber salad, seafood soup, and crab cakes. After cruising for about an hour, the group took small boats to an island where some hiked a mountain and others decided to take a dip in the cold waters! We soon became the spectacle of the beach as other tourists bundled up in winter coats were amazed by our "bravery" to run and swim in the frigid waters! Even Professor Moeller decided to partake in the Ha Long Bay polar plunge. We all got our five minutes of fame as people lined the beach shore begging for pictures, asking for selfies, and one man asked us for a jump picture! As the pictures died down those of us still on the beach looked up to see our friends at the peak of the mountain shouting the Luther chant. The Norse had taken over the island as the entire group began to chant together. After an intense game of beach volleyball, we boated to another one of the islands to explore Amazing Cave and it sure lived up to its name! When we completed exploring the cave and learning its history, we emerged at a lookout spot that provided amazing views of the bay!
After our swimming and hiking adventures, we were welcomed back on our cruise ship with a sunset party on the top part of the boat. As if lunch was not enough, we were treated to an eleven-course meal for dinner. The chef even wowed us with his special vodka cooked shrimp that put the dining room up in flames (kinda). Nobody went hungry on our ship that’s for sure!
To help digest our meal our tour guide, Danny Boy, suggested squid fishing off the front of the boat and a competitive puzzle game that had everyone fighting for first place. We are convinced there aren’t any squid in the bay as to the fact that none of us were able to catch any after hours of commitment. As the night settled down, we all headed to our cabins to be rocked gently to sleep by the soft waves.
Half the group woke up early for some tai chi on the top deck of the boat. We learned the basic traditional moves to work up an appetite for breakfast, which included Pho ga, the Vietnamese chicken noodle soup. After breakfast, we were off to kayak. Two by two, we kayaked through a cave into a small cove made by islands. I think we can speak for everyone in saying that the experience was once in a lifetime and that words cannot describe the beauty we saw. Sitting in the kayaks looking around in wonder and being awestruck by what surrounded us. We even made some new friends along the way, a family of monkeys who were delighted by all the tourists treats, including bananas, wonder bread, and candy bars.
Even after the short time we spent in the Ha Long bay, this was definitely one of the highlights of the trip. The views were absolutely breathtaking and no picture could ever do it justice. The cruise was full of speechless moments and unforgettable memories. We are looking forward to our last few day in Vietnam as we head back to Hanoi for more fun!!