Well, I guess its up to me to tell you about Whale Island, so I'll just go ahead and dive right into the good stuff that I know you all want to hear....... The geography of the island is quite astounding. It is located about 1 km off the main land, the closest big city being Nha Trang. The relief off the landscape is a different story all together, but I'll stop right there, I'm sure the joke has become jsut a frustration. To be honest, all that I can really say about the island is summed up in the pictures; it was a beach paradise! Probably the best thing about it was that we were staying in beach huts, although, they weren't basic - we had an ensuite wetroom. However, the gaps in the thatching meant that you could be quite visible on the toilet! There were a number of activities - scuba diving, snorkelling, free pool and of course the bar. The dangerous thing was that it was all operated on a tab system. Luckily for us we had only brought a small amount of money with us so for the whole 3 days we only spent about 14 quid between us! However, the two Andy's managed to rack up a combined bill of 1,500,000 Dong (about 80 beers)! From what I've said, you may think that although it was a nice chance to relax, there isn't much to say. However, you are forgetting that even the most leisurely activities such as... canoeing lets say an turn into a fight for survival especially when I (Will) am involved! Here is my dramatic story.... (the following is an extract from Reader's Digest "heroes and survivors" edition featuring Will Rastall) " Well, I'd seen the canoes and thought it looked like fun - a nice relaxing canoe round the island. We were told that it wouldn't take more than two hours so a group of about 8 of us decoded to go for it. Johnny was my partner which was a good thing for me as he was considerably taller and stronger than myself so I thought if i sat at the back, he could do all the work. Stu and Doreen were in front of us - Stu was quite an experienced canoer so he gave me a few pointers about steering which seemed to help quite a lot. Although it was harder than I thought it would be, we managed to get a rythm. We were making good progress round the first bend, but as I looked back I saw the last canoe which held the two Andy's and Kimberley capsise. The beers they had brought for the journey sank immediately - Andy tried to save them but it was too late, they were never found. That was when I first realised the task that lay ahead would be dangerous...... Anyway, we made it to another secluded beach and had a little swim, afterall, we were still making good time. The midday sun beat down hard and I was thankful that I'd brought enough water. We carried on around the next bend. Suddenly the scenary changed and we were met by a vast expanse of water - the south China Sea. The next part of the journey became more difficult with the calm water making way for waves that, although would be insignificant to a surfer or a water beetle, made balance in the canoe a bit harder. We rounded the next corner trying hard to steer through an outcrop of rock.... Doreen and Stu were heading for another beach but both Johnny and I decided that we could make up alot of ground by going straight for the next bend cutting out a good 300m of the journey. However, as we drew near to the corner Stu and Doreen overtook us. It was at that moment with all the onlooking fishermen laughing did I realise just how rubbish we were. We were starting to tire and it had got to the stage of team talk. We were both willing each other forward but the waves had increased in their momentum and just as I thought we might be able to hang on, we were hit. We capsised immediately and found ourselves scrabbling for our things as wave after wave literally slapped the upturned canoe..... We were being taken by the current to a beach on the island so we decided to swim for it with one of us holding each end of the canoe. When we got to the beach we were glad to see that Stu and Doreen had realised what had happened and had come to our rescue. We took a few minutes to drink and relax on the beach before attempting to head out again....it would be tough - we were now fighting the current. Even though our strength was gone and we were probably sunburned, there was something more important at stake here - male pride. Do not undersestimate it's power. We now swapped positions on the canoe (Johnny was probably suspicious of me) and tried to get off the beach. 20 minutes later we were away and fighting hard to keep afloat. There were another 2 or 3 occassions where we nearly capsised again but we seemed to be having some luck. We were close now. There were only a couple more bends to go but we didn't know for sure - hope kept us going. We had to stop again on some shallow rocks ffrom fatigue. This was where the battle was lost - each time we stopped we had to regain any momentum we had. We knew that the next 200 m was the most crucial as it would take us around the next bend and probably within throwing distance of the resort. However, it was alarge stretch of water and we would be going across the waves. The team talk and profanitys towards the sea doubled in our effort to motivate ourselves. 50m gone - control was getting harder, 75m - any misjudgement in the waves would be the end. we have moments when it all seems possible, when belief can overtake reality - I belive this is being "in the zone". For a brief moment this is what I felt. However, this feeling was shattered by a wave that caught us of balance and threw us into the sea once more. With Doreen and Stu out of sight we knew we could not recover. We had lost the battle. We quickly hatched a plan to anchor the canoe on a boat and come back for it later. we managed with some difficulty to swim to a beach which luckily had a path which we hoped would join one of the islands nature trails. We tied the canoe up and with our paddles, began the climb. After 10 minutes we found Andy who had obviously been sent by Stu to look for us (our male pride was beginning to suffer - a search party!). Anyway, with our tail between our legs we found the guy we were looking for and asked him to take us on his boat and collect our vessel. To our frustration, the corner we had not managed to get round had been the last one. We towed the canoe back to the beach. But then, a flashing moment of inspiration hit me from the most unlikely source - the Jamaican Boblsed team of 1986, I refer of course to the film Cool Runnings. And so, despite having lost the battle to the unrelenting power of the sea and its half-foot halves, we carried the canoe for the last 20 m into its position on the beach." Will never spoke of this incident again.