We Made It !
An Thoi Travel Blog› entry 39 of 126 › view all entries
The dreaded crossing back to Phu Quoc Island on three-foot whitecap seas was treacherous in the small boat. We all got soaked again. Saltwater spraying over the bow and starboard side was rather warm and the wind cold but it was probably fear that gave us the goose-bumps. We realized that we were at the mercy of the tossing sea and Nguyen's skill at handling it. He grew up a fisherman so the ordeal was probably routine to him; but to us, rather chilling if not downright terrifying. A capsize would have been catastrophic since there were no other boats in sight and no radio, cell phone, or signal flares. We had no life jackets.
The three of us breathed sighs of relief then relaxed, laughed, and cheered upon finally reaching the calm waters on the sheltered side of Phu Quoc island. We made it. Grinning once again, Nguyen docked at one of the floating houses that we had passed on our way out.
Our new driver cruised north among the hundreds of boats that made up the An Thoi fishing fleet. We were amazed at their variety of sizes and rigging. Each was outfitted for specific catches, or at least techniques.
Clearing the anchored fleet, white sand beaches appeared along the shore. Fish farms scattered on blue-green waters at another tiny fishing village. Round basket boats bobbed in the shallows but no people stirred. Without the wind and sea spray, the sun was scorching hot so we finally signaled the driver to head back. We returned to the rocks in front of Nguyen's house two hours after our seat-of-the-pants tour began.
Thrilled to be back on land, we stopped at the kiosk near our motorbikes for a beer and Coca Colas. While land-locked sea captains waited out the winds gambling cards - Phuong among them - Hubert, Michaela, and I recapped our wild experience. We agreed that those unplanned spur-of-the-moment adventures were often the most memorable. If they hadn't come along, I would not have done the boat trip either. We exchanged email addresses and I asked them to have a Bavarian beer for me when they got home from their two-week holiday. They said they'd have two.