Arriving at the pier in Halong Bay to board our beautiful teak Junk was an exciting moment. I felt like I was a pirate boarding a mighty vessel to drink some rum and find me some loot..
Once we received the welcome spiel and our complementary fruity drink, we were assigned to our cabins.Â Our a/c cabin was honestly amazing, with beautiful teak furnishings, an oriental atmosphere, a marble bathroom and a big 4 pane window that opened onto the bay. This was truly the way to sail and I felt like I had just added a tick to my list of things to do before I die. Looking at the other boats sailing by, ours was easily the most impressive and elegant.
After lunch, which had never ending delicious food, Nic and I decided to goÂ kayaking.Â Okay, so Nic and I have a rather turbulent history when it comes to Kayaking, some may even say explosive, the word apocalyptic also comes to mind. See a year before we went to Laos and kayaked down the Mekong in a double kayak. The person in front controls the pace, the person behind controls the steering, or something like that. In this simple setup is where it all falls apart us â€“ both of us want to steer and both of us want to set the pace. In the confusion we go no where, paddles start flying all over the place, insults start getting thrown around, a misguided paddle hits my head, water gets thrown at Niki and inevitably we both sit there saying nothing, sulking and seething whilst we get closer and closer to hitting a whole heap of rocks. Needless to say Halong Bay was no different. However getting past our wedded bliss, the kayaking was truly mesmerizing and tranquil as you slowly passed local water villages, spiritual grottos and colourful birds fluttering around the karsts.
The rest of the afternoon was spent swimming and jumping off from the top level on the Junk, which isnâ€™t for the faint hearted. I was living out every pirate and lost on a tropical island fantasy Iâ€™ve ever had. That is until I lost my balance as I was jumping from the top deck and landed sideways in the water. All I remember as I fell sideways was â€œshit, this wasnâ€™t the way I was meant to dieâ€. Nursing a few sore ribs, the evening finished off with Niki sipping a perfect G&T, and I a whisky and coke whilst lying on the sundeck watching the Milky Way go round. This was what travel was all about and I felt truly relaxed for the first time in a year. Moored under giant karsts, we went to sleep with the windows wide open and a soft breeze slowing rocking us to sleep.