After quite a good nights sleep, we were up for a quick breakfast, before we went out kayaking around the bay, it was good fun heading around the giant rocks and again more well needed exercise for us. Once everyone was back on the boat we headed back to the harbour, which took a couple hours. When we arrived back, the plan was to go for lunch in Halong city but we had the usual waiting around for 30 minutes until our bus arrived.
While we were stood waiting a Japanese guy who was originally on our boat yesterday, but moved to the nicer boat in the evening came over for a chat. Yesterday we were all joking that him and the 5 others would be living in luxury for the night while we had to stay on the wreck that was our boat. As he approached us he looked like he hadn't slept a wink all night and asked us if we had heard what had happened.
We had no idea what he was talking about but was clearly very shaken up. He went on to explain that last night while they were having tea on their boat, the boat suddendly accelerated across the bay, they quickly found another boat sinking and they were providing rescue! As his English was limited he couldn't explain much more, only that people had died and they had rescued as many as they could and had stopped in a hotel in the city for the night.
We were all quite shaken up by the news and couldn't understand how it could have happened. We were taken for lunch and as we were sat there we saw Anna and Elin two Swiss the girls from our boat yesterday, who were on the same boat as the Japanese guy. They looked awful and clearly devastated by what had happened. They told us that just before the boat went down, there was a group of English and French girls who had joined the boat as theirs was full. Three of them went down to their cabin to shower before tea, when the boat started to sink. These poor girls ended up stuck in their cabins unable to get out as the boat slowly started to go under. When the boat Anna and Elin were on arrived, it was too late and the boat was under the water.
They rescued those who managed to make their way to the top of the boat and Elin (who was a nurse) asked the Vietnamese crew on the rescue boat for the first aid kit so they could start treating those that were injured. They were abruptly told that there was no first aid kit on board and the staff continued to sit at the back of the boat drinking and smoking. Anna and Elin were forced to start tearing up table cloths to dress the wounds of those who had smashed through windows to escape. Absolutely unbelievable! The more she was telling us, the worse it got, there is no way you can comprehend the Vietnamese attitude and total disregard for all that had happened.
We had a very subdued bus journey back to Hanoi, just glad to be leaving Halong Bay. We checked into a hotel with Laura and Orna, the Irish girls from our boat and after an emotional day went out for a few drinks, still struggling to get our heads around all that had happened.