After a hearty lunch, we continued our second day experience in Ha Long Bay with another session of kayaking. Our tour guide Smiley said that it would be a longer trip than the first session. Instead of going somewhere and then coming back to the junk boat, on this second trip we were dropped off a location, and from there we would follow our junk boat from a distance as we’re heading to our next stop in Ha Long Bay.
This time around we knew a little better on how to row and steer our kayak after practising in the first session the day before. However, the water was not as calm as the day before, so we had to work harder on keeping the pace with the group. After going for a while, we noticed that somehow the kayak was more difficult to keep moving straight; it kept veering to the right. I thought it was simply because of the wind or the waves that we had to fight, until one of the other kayakers came next to us and told us that our rudder was down to one side, so that’s why it kept veering off and we couldn’t go straight. The line for controlling the rudder was broken, so we couldn’t really adjust it or take the rudder off ourselves. The other kayakers were nice enough to help reach out rudder and manually flipped it off so it’s not engaged and we could go straight again. That worked well for a while, until the group started moving fast again and going through rougher waters. At that point, somehow the rudder engaged again and we couldn’t control it, so for the rest of the trip we had to put extra effort to keep correcting the bearing of the kayak.
The photo below was taken during a break in the middle of the kayak ride. Smiley was nice enough to offer to take photos of us from his kayak. You can see the little white piece at the stern of our kayak — that the little rudder that made us put extra effort to steer the kayak during this ride.