Old Friends, New Friends & Cat Ba

by hamishandkat

We were very excited to get to Hanoi for a number of reasons:

a) get off the bus that we’d been on for 24hrs,

b) see a new city in a new country; and

c) catch up with some very good friends.

Rhiannon had emailed us a month or two ago saying she was in Hanoi volunteering with an NGO and that we should catch up in Hanoi, then later to say that Reece was coming over to visit her and spend his birthday there while at the same time Lou and Kokwah from home would be in town.  Good times? I think so.

She’d also been great enough to organise and book a few day kayaking adventure around the HaLong/CatBa area to celebrate Reece’s birthday, staying on an island and doing day trips around.  Joining us to make eight would be Gaz and Krista.

Bamboo Boats

Kat and Lou rocking the double

Rhiannon, Reece, Kokwah and Hamish

Gaz and Krista exiting the first paddle-through cave to the Lagoon.  None of us were really expecting to be paddling through a cave for so long, nor the reasonably swift current flowing from the lagoon out to the open water.  There was much crashing into walls and a couple of swims at one point.  For some reason no-one acknowledged my calls of “Carton!” and “Bootie-Skull!”… i was vastly outnumbered.

Explanation: in certain circles of kayaking, exiting one’s boat in anger results in a double headed penalty.  Firstly a carton of beer, or a round of drinks at the bar, is required to be bought by the swimmer.  This is essentially showing thanks to the rest of the crew for  having to rescue the swimmer, items of gear or their boat and possibly putting themselves at risk while doing so.  The second penalty is to chug a beer out of a wetsuit bootie.  If said swimmer does not wear booties one is usually offered by another member of the crew.  This is purely for humiliation purposes and for most people is enough to force them to reconsider swimming and have another attempt at rolling.

Kat and I exiting one lagoon in a double.  A lot of lagoons like this can only be entered through the arches during low tide, at high tide they are completely sealed.

Bike riding on one of the islands for lunch and caves.

Kat in front. Sea kayaks are now on the sanctioned “things to buy” list

“Huh? Nah…sorry… I can’t speak Vettnamese”, Aka, Kokwah

The Birthday Boy

Graceful Gaz.

Lou, Ronnie Mac and Reece.

All the gang.