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Turquoise Water so Dense

Turquoise Water so Dense
 
 

UPON leaving the viewing platform from the cave, we followed the path downhill along the steep staircase path through the forest until reaching sea level. From there we followed an elaborate boardwalk going around the cliffs over the water. The cliffs were just a metre away, but the lower metre or so of them swung into overhangs over the placid water. The overhangs were due to the perpetual wave motion gradually dissolving away the rock over many thousands of years.

The boardwalk
The boardwalk

The boardwalk continued around the bay, hugging against the cliffs and passing through a few thatched gazebos. After a couple of hundred metres we reached a jetty containing several small boats, including the one we had towed behind our junk.

Just before climbing back on board the boat, I looked back up the cliffs from where we had come from. I could see the gaping hole at the bottom of the cliff face where we had explored. I could also see the lower entrance of the cave system. The cliff face above the holes was astoundingly high. It was hard to believe we had that much rock above our heads when we were exploring the cave.

The junk
The junk

We climbed back onto the small boat to head back out across the placid turquoise grey water to our junk.

Once back on our junk, we sailed out of the busy channel with numerous junks sailing past the small fishing village. We turned right passing a very high cliff headland going into the sweeping bay we had passed earlier. The bay swept back roughly a kilometre into moderate terrain with forest down to sea level. To the left of the bay was a solitary hill towering vertically above the rest of the land to a large forested dome at the top. From there the headland of the bay was moderate apart from a sheer cliff at the very end.

The cave
The cave

We didn’t quite sail back into the main bay. Instead we anchored in fifteen metres of turquoise water about a hundred metres off the precipitous cliffs. From here the cliffs seemed to sweep in three layers running diagonally across the front face as if Godzilla had taken a swipe at it. Each layer steeply plunged into the opaque water. Trees clung on at the base of each layer, indicating there would be a way up to the top if one so desired. My tour guide Danh told us we could swim here, so I went downstairs to change. I went through the dining cabin, then down to the next level where the bedrooms were. Each room had two beds in it, and was very elegantly constructed in wood.

Kayakers
Kayakers

Once changed, I returned to the deck where half of the others were already in the water swimming. I decided to keep my glasses on and worked my way down the steep ladder into the water.

The translucent turquoise water was very warm, and very salty. It was very easy to stay afloat here despite the water being some fifteen metres deep. It was very private here.

There were a few boats passing on the other side of the junk, and one anchored about a hundred metres away. Under the shelter of our junk though, we had complete privacy. There were the occasional eddy currents that would sweep us around a little bit, but otherwise it was safe and calm here with almost no swell. We were definitely in the calm before the approaching storm.

We floated around in the surprisingly buoyant laminar water getting to know each other. We never got cold or tired, just lazing around in the warm water. We discussed many things about our lives back home, what we did for work, our hobbies, our interests, and why we had decided to come here to Vietnam.

Sheltered still water where we swam
Sheltered still water where we swam

It was surreal having collectively escaped our real lives now a world away.

We could have stayed there forever floating around here in such an exotic location to get to know each other. Finally though, we had to get out. The sun was creeping low in the sky and the air was starting to feel cooler now, even though the humidity was still very high. We needed to be back in Halong City before dark to seek shelter before the onslaught of the typhoon.

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Date:

 

Location: Country:

 

Latitude: Longitude: Altitude:

12 October 2009

 

Halong Bay

Vietnam

 

20°51'N
107°05'E
Sea Level

 

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