The legend surrounding Halong Bay is that a mother dragon, along with her children, descended from the heavens upon the land of Vietnam in order to guard them from northern invaders. The dragons dropped giant emeralds from the sky in order to create a sanctuary of protection for the people, thus, the northern aggressors retreated. The dragon and her children transformed into humans and showed the people how to cultivate and enrich their land.
Dotted with limestone karsts, the beauty of this emerald bay was a breathtaking site to behold. Once we were on the boat, it was time for lunch and a few beers while we glided across the jade waters toward Surprise Cave. Once in the cave, our guide pointed out formations which resembled other creatures or objects. We had met some lovely friends by this point, and the six of us were all slightly amused by what our guide called the 'happy finger' which was jutting out aggressively near the ceiling of the cave. It seemed to all of us be some sort of hidden innuendo, but I'll let you look at the picture and decide for yourself.
Back on the ship, Lynzie did her best Titanic impression as we sailed to a netted cove to languish in the warm waters of the South China Sea while safely away from the flourishing jellyfish in the water. After taking a dip, it was time for cocktails and snacks, dinner, games and night fishing for squid, all while laughing hysterically with our new friends from South Africa and Tasmania.
After being rocked to sleep by the gentle lull of the boat we woke refreshed and ready for morning tai chi and kayaking. Paddling through the coves while singing childhood songs and gazing upon the stunning backdrop, was quite an enjoyable and serene experience.
It was now time to head back to Hanoi and say goodbye to our sweet friends Katrina, the other Katrina, Tony and Caroline. We will miss our darling friends from other continents, but an unknown person once said, 'There is no distance too far between friends, for friendship gives wings to the heart.'