It is our second day in Halong Bay so we took the opportunity to walk towards the town. To do this we followed a cone-lined walkway.
En route we watched a local fishing boat, with the fisherman’s wife at the bow hauling in the nets. It did not appear to be a big catch.
At the end of the jetty we were surprised to come across the old Ocean Terminal. It looked like it had witnessed the halcyon days of travel by ocean liner.
It was undergoing restoration and, quite fortuitously on the land facing side, we found an open door so in we went!
Before entering we inspected the sculpture of ‘Kissing Chicken Rock’ (one of yesterday’s islands) which is the symbol for Halong and this area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Upon entering we saw the restored 1920s/30s interior, including check-in desks and public waiting areas and wall mounted maritime scenes.
We concluded our walk by returning to the ship.
This afternoon we were lucky to take a tour of the Bridge and Engine Control Room. We saw that everything was electronic and a Windows based system which is so sophisticated that, as the Captain said, does not need paper charts. However, when he drives his car with GPS in the Netherlands, he has old fashioned maps handy because the car system is not as sophisticated as his ship’s.
We saw how this very large ship is controlled with fingertips and small movements of switches. A couple of movements enables the ship to go sideways, forwards and backwards.
There is no longer a big wooden wheel to steer the ship, though there is a small half wheel rather like that in a Formula 1 car, but it is only used as a last resort.
We met the Captain and he answered our questions.
Following the tour of the Bridge we went below Deck 1 to the Engine Control Room. We were greeted by a photograph of our ship in dry dock
and then by the Chief Engineer. In this windowless room everything that works on the ship is monitored.
As we write the sky has cleared and we see Halong Bay at its best. The humidity has dropped and the late afternoon sun is picking out the beauty of the limestone islands.
We write, having returned from dinner, and found our towel friend, which we think, is a replica of the dragon that made the limestone pinnacles that we are leaving behind in the darkness!