April 18th, 2015 - Ha Long Bay, Vietnam - Day 247

No this was not our boat - ours was much nicer!

We woke up this morning to the boat gently rocking back and forth.  It was a really good nights sleep and Stacie and I made it all the way to 5:30, which is pretty good for us.  I scrambled upstairs and hunted around for some coffee.  I could not find a single soul, but I did find a pot of hot coffee at the bar and since it is complementary I helped myself.  We had our coffee and by 6:30 the kids were up and we all headed upstairs for Tia Chi on the sundeck.  We all tried to follow along, but my performance was horrible, so I stepped out to take a few pictures.  

With Tai Chi out of the way, it was time for breakfast.  All of the food on the cruise has been fantastic and this was no different.  

By 7:30 we were stuffed and headed back down to the cabin for some free time before the morning activity, which was a visit to a floating fishing village.  We had almost an hour, so I grabbed my computer and headed up to the sundeck to edit some pictures and write the dump from yesterday.  However, once I reached the deck I met a wonderful family from Chicago of all places.  Stacie came up 15 minutes later and we spent the remainder of our break time getting to know one another.  It's always wonderful to meet great people while on the road.

After our break we were summoned to the main deck for the mornings activities.  We all boarded our little transport boats and were taken to the start of our floating village tour.  The villages were created as permanent resting places for the fisherman so they did not have to head back to shore every night.  At one point this village had a population of 300, but that has dwindled over time down to 100 and the main income has switched from fishing and pearl farming to tourism.  We had a short information session and then boarded our bamboo boat for the a tour of the village.  The thought of living in a place like this is beyond my comprehension.  It is beautiful and serene, but must be an incredibly difficult life at the same time.  Here are some pictures of the village:

Our tour took about 30 minutes and then we jumped back on the transport and were back on our boat a few minutes later.  We had a little time before lunch, so we laid down for a little nap.  It feels strange to be in a situation where we HAVE to be places at certain times after being so free to make our decisions of when and where to be for so long.  I have to say I don’t really care for the regimented schedule, but we wanted to see everything so we did not skip much at all.  

During lunch, Lea started to turn a bit green.  We were crossing some open water and the boat was pitching pretty good from side to side.  She bailed from the dining room and headed down to her cabin to lay down and get some more rest.  The staff brewed her some special tea with justices to make her stomach better and provided her with some bread to fill her up.  We were on our way to an island where we were going to ride bikes to a small village.  However, in order to get to the island we needed to cross some open water.  About halfway through lunch the captain came in and informed us the sea was too rough and we would not be able to make it to the island.  We needed to turn around and head to an alternate activity - sea kayaking.  

The kayaking was great.  We went through some caves and saw some beautiful lagoons and then at the end we had the chance to swim around the transport boat, which was fun.  

Once back on the boat we showered and after a little break we headed up for happy hour and some cards, and a wonderful barbecue.  Another good, but exhausting day and an early bed time.