“HOW DO YOU STEER?”
“I DON’T KNOW.”
With a sinking feel of dismay my kayak buddy, J, and I watch as the others competently steer their way through the water, as we drift further away in our reversing kayak.
We strike our oars in to the water, and with frantic paddling, a steady stream of swearing, we manage a 360 turn and are back on track.
Until I ask, “Which way do we go?”
“I think I saw the others go through this way,” J says, boldly pointing to a hole in the rock. There’s no sign of the others so we take a hazardous guess and steer our way through. The rock is low, just a few meters above our heads but it isn’t long before we’re out in the open.
I am relieved to see the others but the thought quickly washes away as I struggle to take in my surroundings.
All I can think is ‘wow’ and I tell myself that feeling is something important to remember.
The sun warming my skin, the smell of salt and fish, the orange of the poorly fitted life jacket, the wobble of the kayak, and the sound of water rushing over the oar. Despite the steady flow of water, everything feels so still and peaceful.
I look around and see fellow kayakers placing their oars down, heads slowly swiveling, trying to take in all this scenery, too.
It feels over far too quickly as we follow the guide back to the pier. He had told us this was the most beautiful way to see Halong Bay and despite the dismal start, I wholeheartedly agree with him. I could have stayed on those waters for hours.
It’s 4:30pm and the sun sits lower in the sky and casts a glorious nebulous yellow light over the water and the smiling faces on the boat.
We have spent the day on this boat and earlier I had sat in the front of it, watching the bay, admiring those mini mountains from afar.
This was after we had explored Dong Thien Cung cave. Walking through that cave was like being at a fireworks display, I couldn’t help ‘oh’ and ‘ah’ at the magnificence of the place.
It was baffling to think of the sheer number of centuries it took to form all of this. I found it strange that rocks could be so impressive, usually they act as the foundation for something but here they had their own spotlights and were the star of the show.
It is a glorious feeling to be surrounded by such beauty for so much of the day and I joined in the smiling faces on the boat as the sun sunk lower in to the sky.