The gang in our boat
Got up at 6am and packed what I needed for our overnight trip to Halong Bay
in a small backpack. Had a boring breakfast of a Vegemite roll then set off at 7am. The weather was not good - foggy, misty and raining in places. I slept on and off. Finished L's book which was just okay. Arrived in Halong just after 12, the weather was still really crap and there were loads, hundreds of tourists milling around waiting to see if we'd be allowed out in our junks onto the bay. Visibility was appalling. A decision was expected by 2pm. I bought some chips and a big bottle of water mainly to pass the time. Y tried to get us onto the boat to at least have lunch and this we did manage eventually.
The boat, Bien Ngoc 06, was exquisite. Varnished wood, gorgeous little rooms and lovely sun deck (pity about the lack of sun!). We had lunch, which was yum, and finally the decision came - we were allowed out onto the bay, yay! I was looking forward to spending the night on the boat whatever the weather as it was such a pleasant environment. I even got a room to myself which was heavenly; a night of unbroken sleep, rest and peace! K + M got the double bedrooms upstairs, and the rest of us got twins downstairs. K decided to go on a chain-smoking and boozing binge. The rest of us stopped off at the Sung Sot cave after lunch. The cave was magnificent. Enormous inside, full of various limestone formations (including an extremely phallic one complete with testicles!), stalactites and stalacmites. I loved it. It went on for ages, each cavern higher than the last, until at last you popped out with a spectacular view over all the junks moored in the bay surrounded by limestone karsts. The only downside was the other hundreds of tourists also in every photo! Got back on the boat and sat on the sundeck for a while until I got too cold so had a hot shower. Spent the next few hours intermittently trying to locate my jumper (which had my room key in it)...eventually found it in K's room even though she swore she hadn't seen it. Not happy as I was freezing! Dinner was decorated with stunning intricate flowers made out of fruit and veggies. Spent a while up on deck with E having a chat before heading to bed.