When we reached the dock at Halong Bay, it was only too clear that we were very late. The crew hustled us aboard the lovely Ginger Junk without much ceremony. And, Lan was nowhere to be seen! The wooden junk with burnt-orange sails sailed out of the busy harbor without much ado at all and we were soon seated with the other 16 passengers for a huge & delicious seafood lunch. There had been a haze in the air all the way from Hanoi and we had decided that it was probably high humidity rather than pollution and we were confirmed in that belief when the haze continued with us out into the Bay and among the fantastical karst (rough limestone) islets strewn about the waters like acorns beneath a huge oak tree. Some of the rocky structures are too small to accommodate anything but birds and stunted trees, others are large enough for some human habitations and structures. The formations are rough-hewn and jagged and create ghostly visions on the horizon as well as quite close to the junk as it passed. The beautiful bay is certainly worthy of protection and preservation.
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