Vietnam. Nha Trang Snorkel Trip (and a boat party)

Remember how we only wanted to spend 2 nights in Nha Trang? Well, it turned out the medical clinic’s hours and bus ride schedules were not compatible; the buses left only at 8am, and the clinic did not open until then. So we booked another night in Nha Trang, and planned to leave on the 3rd via bus to Mui Ne Beach.

And it was, for another reason – more surprises – a good thing. I signed onto the internet, and here is what I discovered:

Oh perfect, cause Nov 2 is tomorrow. And of course, the one beach we are on is exactly where the center of the storm is supposed to make landfall. Well, it could be worse, and we figured maybe it will be exciting. But for the time being, it was off to the boat!

Just as on Cat-ba, we had seriously no idea what we were getting. We had asked the lady at the front desk of our hotel, who set this up, if we could snorkel, and she had smiled and said yes yes okay, but we did not think she really got what we were saying. So, who knew. We got on the bus that picked us up for the boat ride, and the guy asks where we are from, and we say, USA – his reply: “Ah! you speak English very well then. Yes, okay.”

The boat ride

Our boat was packed with vacationing Vietnamese (its a weekend) and toursits from all over. Turns out the guy leading the tour could speak just about every language, from local to English, French, German, Spanish, Chinese, and so on. He was very energetic and fun to be around. The general attitude of the boat was jolly.

Our first stop was a beach where we could snorkel. Well… turns out the water was choppy because of the winds, and this part of Vietnam is just not all that great for snorkeling this time of year (the rivers run into the ocean with muddy silt that clouds the South China Sea; its best to snorkel here in the dry season, or head farther south to clearer waters). So, we took to treading water and swimming around for a bit, and then returned to the boat. The next stop was a floating bar/sport center, and things really got interesting. Out boat tied up to another from the same tour company, and they served lunch. It was family style, dig in!

For some reason, the guys who worked these boats paddled around in things that looked like bath tubs, maybe they were playing lifeguard? We never figured it out, but it was endless laughter.

Next, the guys from our boat brought out musical instruments, and began putting on a show. They could all sing, play the drums, carry a tune and a beat, and knew songs from just about every country. WHO KNEW?! It was AMAZING. The best lunch ever. They went around to every couple or group and asked where they were from, and sang a song from that country. It was so entertaining and they were really, really good! Better than many cover bands I’ve heard.

Notice the interesting scene here: A guy sining, a happy Asian girl drumming her chopstik to the beat, and the surly looking older Asian woman. Her pissed off face did not change the entire time. So sad.

Serenading the French guys:

So now we are thinking, yea, this is pretty rad. And then it got even better. What could be better? Free alcohol, dancing, and music, all in the water. One guy gets onto a floating box with local brew in it, the music starts going, and he starts dancing. Then more crew dive in, some jumping from the top of the boat, and everyone who goes in gets a free shot and an intertube. Griff was the second tourist to get his a** into the water. It was the best.

Right after taking some pics I realized we could jump from the roof too, and off I went. It was such joy. And then, perhaps the best thing yet: There was a couple from New Zealand. The guy was a bit taller, and hairier (neither here nor there), and a bit thicker built than Griffin. The girl was a bit taller than I was, and easily weighed 260lbs. But, her size was not about to stop her from having an amazing, fun loving personality. And she climbed to the top of the boat, and jumped. The entire crowd goes “huuuuuhh??” and lets out something like a gasp at the same time, and then cheers so loudly when she surfaced after her jump. I am so sorry I have no photograph. She was amazing. She even did a few cannonballs later. We loved it. And in the second pic below, Griff looks like a magnet placed on a picture – but he really is jumping.

So that was the most fun tour yet, despite the lack of good snorkeling. After we were taken to another island and then an aquarium, and back to shore.

Fancy-pants dinner

We got back to our hotel in the evening and checked up on the status of the Typhoon. Yep, its coming here, but no one seems to know when. So, off to dinner! We went to the Sail Club just down the beach. The evidence that the storm was out there was now showing, as the waves were getting bigger and more angry.

In Thailand we had booked at a top end, expensive resort, to see what it was like, so here, we decided to have a top-end dinner, and order the most expensive things on the menu, and see what that did for us. $50 later, I had a 1-lb lobster, Griffin had a huge crok-pot of seafood soup, several drinks, and a yummy desert. With the waves right next to us and a beautiful sea breeze, it was, after all, a pretty inexpensive dinner by US standards.


We went to bed with the sound of the surf pounding and thoughts of whatever tomorrow would bring – the land of surprises.

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