Cat Ba Island, Part One

Friday morning we ate the free (lousy) breakfast from our hotel and then walked up the block to join our rock climbing trip. The company is called Asia Outdoors and apparently they have a pretty good reputation for leading climbing trips. The location where we’d be climbing was a small island in nearby Lan Ha Bay. Even with the low clouds and mist it was a scenic boat ride to get there. Just beyond the boat dock we passed a floating village presumably inhabited by local fishermen and their families. After that we motored through some of the steep limestone rock karsts this area is famous for.

A village on the water!

A village on the water!

A view of Lan Ha Bay

A view of Lan Ha Bay

The climbing was pretty fun, but considering how long it’s been since I’ve done any climbing, I got tired pretty quickly. I think I only did a total of eight climbs and my arms were worn out at the end. I’d love to come back when I’m in better climbing shape to do some deep water free-soloing (which is where you climb without ropes, but on overhung rocks over water deep enough to fall safely into).

Another shot of Alan climbingClimbing a different route nowLeaning into the rock

Caroline got bored of photographing Alan climbing

Caroline apparently got bored of photographing Alan climbing 🙂

After the climbing we had some excitement as our boat tried to help pick up a couple other climbers who were climbing a rock face above the water. They got off the rock and into the boat, but their rope was still attached to the rock. One of our climbing guides took care of the problem by climbing barefoot and without ropes to retrieve their rope. He didn’t have to climb far, but it’s still impressive considering how sharp the rock can be and considering how he had to wait a little while for our boat to get close enough to pick him up. Having our boat bumping up against the rock face and rubbing on rocks below us was just extra excitement for the day.

Our boat was bumping the rocks while he got off the rope

Our boat was bumping the rocks while he got off the rope

The waves were pushing our boat against the rocks above and below the surface

The waves were pushing our boat against the rocks above and below the surface

Our guide had to go fetch their rope

Our guide had to go fetch their rope

And, back on the boat!

And, back on the boat!

After that adventure we had a tasty lunch on a bigger boat and returned to town while some of the other climbers went kayaking nearby. There was more nice scenery of the limestone karsts as we motored back to town.

A side view of the cliff those climbers were on

A side view of the cliff those climbers were on

Overhanging rocks

Overhanging rocks

Narrow channels and tall rocks

Narrow channels and tall rocks

Caroline enjoying the view

Caroline enjoying the view

The next day we skipped the free breakfast offered by our hotel. Prices are so cheap here we don’t mind paying a few dollars for a better breakfast. We spent most of the day in our room working on blog posts and sorting through photos. That evening we walked around the main street and along the harbor. There was a lot going on with loud music playing and lots of locals out for a night on the town. Apparently this weekend they’re commemorating a visit to the island by “Uncle” Ho Chi Minh back in 1959.

Sunset on Cat Ba Harbor

Sunset on Cat Ba Harbor

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One thought on “Cat Ba Island, Part One

  1. So great to read about your travels. I know you mentioned it isn’t the most fun for you two, but it is really neat to read about the places you’ve been and all the amazing experiences. Write when you can. Enjoy your travels!

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