The day after we got back from Hanoi was a day to relax. We did go into the city to go to the tailor and the market. It's the day my Mom and I got pedicures too. The next day I was going to take my parents on a tour of the Cau Dai Holysee and the Cu Chi Tunnels. Unfortunately Terryn got a really high fever so I decided it'd be better if I stayed home. I sent my parents on the tour without me.
Friday, March 30, 2012
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Our last day in Halong Bay was a good one. I was expecting us to have breakfast and then the rest of the day would be cruising back to the mainland where we'd have lunch and then be on our way back to Hanoi.
This was not the case.
We had breakfast and we did cruise around a bit, but then we stopped at one of the islands.
This island had a very small beach and you could tell it's where the tour company keeps it's kayaks.
There were stairs ascending up the rocky side of the island.
We disembarked and our guide led us up the stairs to the small mouth of a cave.
At this entrance there were some pretty cool looking trees with long dangling vines.
I managed to convince everyone to pose for a group shot.
The cave was pretty cool, albeit small. Our guide told us that fisherman used to use this place as a shelter in bad weather.
We took our time at the exit of the cave to snap a few pictures.
The sun was coming out and the day was warming up a bit.
Terryn did not want to pose for any family pictures though.
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
The next day we had another kayaking excursion. We told my parents that they should go kayaking together, but they insisted that Sean and I should go and they'd watch the kids. They seemed pretty set on it so we conceded.
We kayaked for a long time.
We went from cave to cave seeing different hidden beaches, stalagmites, stalactites and other rocky formations.
Sean and I joked that some of these caves would have proved good hiding places for pirate treasure. Hahahahaha.
It was pretty awesome to be able to go into these caves. Again the tide was in our favor.
I think it was probably a good thing that my parents didn't go though, because Sean and I both got pretty tired. We were fighting the current during part of it and I think my Mom especially might have had a hard time with it.
As we began our paddle back to the boat we came to an area of water that was extremely shallow. The couple that was in front took a route that was just a little too shallow for the kayak and they ended up tipping over. I think only Loren got wet, but I was glad it wasn't me.
Once back on the boat, I found my Mom cuddling with Jayce. I think she enjoyed having baby time. I told her the things that we saw and how in the end she should be glad she didn't go because it was really tiring. I think the kids were alright during our outing, but Terryn did have a potty accident. Oh well, at least it happened right before we got back instead of right after we left.
For lunch the crew set up a BBQ on the beach. It was quite picturesque.
We all wandered around the small private beach for awhile, exploring the rocks and looking at shells.
Terryn enjoyed being able to climb all over stuff without getting in trouble.
It was really peaceful here since we were the only people in sight.
We noticed that there was a ton of coral on shore.
Terryn continued running around the small beach, offering to help the crew cook lunch....
or throwing rocks in the water.
He found a weird bug on the sand.
And Katy showed him a starfish.
Then we ate lunch. It was tasty and we were all pretty hungry. After we ate we had free time to do whatever we wanted.
For most of us, that involved laying down on the beach and taking a nap.
While everyone else slept, my Mom and I continued exploring the beach. She found a sea caterpillar that was pretty cool looking.
First we stopped by a beautiful lagoon.
It seemed as if it was part of some lost world. Perhaps some giant dinosaur was going to come crashing through the vegetation... or perhaps not. It was pretty spectacular though.
Then we went to the floating village.
We visited their school and we greeted by their village leader. It was interesting to see how they constructed their houses. They floated on either Styrofoam blocks or plastic barrels. Sadly, there were little bits of Styrofoam floating everywhere in the water. Our tour company says they are trying to get people to switch to plastic barrels so that the water stays cleaner.
After the brief stop at the school we boarded our sampans again and we taken back to our boat. There we had some free time and then we had dinner in the indoor dining room as it was a little chilly. This was our last night aboard the boat so they had a special dinner prepared for us. The chef gave us a quick cooking lesson on how to grill shrimp over hot stones. They brought out a few courses and then they brought out the octopus and cuddlefish.
Then they brought out a food version of our boat. Pretty cool no? Again we were definitely impressed. It was a great last dinner aboard. We've really enjoyed our whole trip so far.
Monday, March 26, 2012
When we boarded the small bus to drive out to Halong Bay, there was one other couple on board. They were from Australia. They were pretty nice. We had some good conversation on the way there. My Dad and I sat in the front row so he got to see every scary driving moment aboard. Terryn sat in the very back row in the solitary chair left unoccupied by everyone's luggage. He was starting to feel sick from the fall that he had back in Sapa. We think he was running a bit of a fever.
The little guy was so tired too. He ended up falling asleep with his face smashed up against the side of the car. It was pretty funny looking.
Our boat was a decent sized one. There were only four cabins aboard and so those of us aboard consisted of our party, the couple from the bus (Denae & Josh) and one other couple (Loren and Katy). This new couple was from San Francisco. The woman was American and the guy was also Australian.
Once aboard, they had us sit in the dining area on deck and gave us pineapple juice. They then introduced the crew and talked about our itinerary. The weather was nice, although perhaps a bit cloudy. It was a lot warmer than Sapa and warmer than when we had done Halong Bay the year before.
We enjoyed being able to relax a bit. I think I took a shower as soon as we were settled. It was great to be on a ship that had hot water whenever we wanted. Our cabins were pretty nice too and the beds were comfortable.
I think my Mom was in awe of the beauty of the Bay.
Now THAT would have been horrible. As it was we'd been extremely blessed by the weather.
That started off being fine. The kids were doing okay.
Jayce was having fun munching on his life jacket and Terryn was enjoying being in the kayak. It was a little nerve-wracking for me though. I had my camera with me and every time I'd try to fetch it out of the dry bag I would get really freaked out about Jayce.
We got to explore some caves. The tide was low so it made things extremely cool.
I guess we got to go into some caves that we wouldn't be able to if it was high tide.
It was so pretty. The water is such an amazing emerald color.
We got to explore some cool lagoons and other caves. Terryn liked the way his voice echoed in the lagoon. He kept yelling, "Hello!" After awhile of kayaking, the kids were just done with it. Jayce was crying so much and I could barely calm him down. That mostly involved feeding him quickly. My poor Dad had to basically paddle the kayak all by himself. After a little bit Terryn started whining too. I looked at my Dad, took a deep breath and said, "Ahhhhh..... it's so peaceful isn't it?" as the kids were crying in chorus and it echoed off the water and the rocky sides of the mountain islands.
After kayaking we had dinner and there was time to relax. It was a good day and the food had been amazing. The people on the boat were all really interesting and fun. I was glad that they were pretty understanding of the kiddos. It would have been a real shame if they had made a real fuss about them. I would have felt bad and it would have ruined the trip for us all. Luckily the kids weren't terrible, other than the fact that it was hard to keep tabs on Terryn. He kept running off all the time. I'm thankful he didn't end up over board.