Halong Bay, VietNam
We pushed off from Hanoi towards the coast for Halong Bay, one of the premier natural sights in VietNam. More than 3000 sheer limestone edifices jut out of the emerald blue sea. Legend has it that these islets were created by a dragon as he plunged into the Gulf of Tonkin, and indeed the name "Halong" means descending dragon. Speckled amongst the islets are towering cliffs, hidden caves, and cozy beaches, all calling out to be explored.
Our overnight boat trip through the rocks and islands had a stop at one of the larger, more impressive caves, and even let us explore the bay on our own. We had an afternoon to kayak all around. It was great to get up close to the rock face, go under overhangs, and even through tunnels! After kayaking, we spent the waning light hours jumping into the chilly waters from the third deck of the boat. Even Ann got into the action, and after a few nerve-building false jumps, she finally took the plunge!
The entire trip would have been the perfect picture of beautiful seascapes under a peaceful sky, but once again our cabin was on the well-beaten mouse circuit, and a few late night visitors had us bleary eyed in the morning. Still with plenty of good food, friendly mates, and spectacular scenery, we can't complain!