Everything on the ship was wet, but it wasn’t raining, it was just so incredibly misty. Together with some 20 people I had just boarded the Dragon’s Pearl junk for an overnight cruise in Halong Bay, Vietnam.
During the previous days I had studied the weather forecast with great interest, hoping for the overcast days to end just in time for my trip. And the forecast did indeed show that the sun would pierce the clouds just around my boarding time. But the otherwise rather pessimistic site that I regularly consult (yr.no, I like it just because it is slightly pessimistic and it’s much nicer to get a positive surprise than to be disappointed) proved to be wrong this time. No sun. Just thick clouds.
But as soon as we had left the busy harbour my disappointment turned into sheer fascination: the seascape was unreal, all black and white (except for the flags adorning the junk), with the tiny islands and cliffs almost floating. It was nothing short of magical.
I soon got used to everything being wet too.
We moored in a little bay where some people, most people actually, went canoeing. I wouldn’t ever have dared. What if I couldn’t find my way back?? Sometimes my imagination is just a bit too vivid.
While we were moored the captain raised the sail, I suppose only because it looked pretty. There was absolutely no wind and the ship wasn’t going anywhere.
As darkness fell, the magic continued.
As soon as I got out of my cabin early the following morning I felt that the air was different. I touched the railing and it was dry! There was still some mist, but it didn’t look the same.
The morning programme was one of these tourist visits to a pearl farm, where my fellow passengers on the junk showed very little interest in buying anything at all. However, I had just the previous day lost a necklace with a pendant in Hanoi, so I actually welcomed this visit since I thought a little pearl on a chain might be a good replacement. I found what I was looking for, and that indeed awoke the buying instinct in the others! The pearl farm made good business that morning.