Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Lamma Island

The plan for the national day public holiday was to head over to explore Lamma Island. Lamma is a sparsely habited, outlying island, one of many to dot the seas around here. There are no cars and only a few villages on the entire island, but there’s a hiking trail that traverses the island, connecting two of the villages that have ferry service to Hong Kong Island. Perfect plan – except for the fact that many, many other people had the same plan.

We didn’t realize this when we got up and caught the 960 bus down to Kong Kong Island. Perfect timing allowed us to catch the bus right as it pulled up to the bus stop (with only a short sprint to make it). As we got off the bus in Central, we realized we could hit the 10:30 ferry if we hustled. Upon making it to Pier 4, we saw a big sign announcing the number of seats left on the 10:30 ferry. 127…126…125. The numbers were ticking down quite rapidly. Okay – so where do we buy a ticket? 103…102…101. Crap – no ticket office. Everyone seemed to be going through these turnstiles. How do those work? 99…98…97. Octopus cards – we needed our Octopus cards. 93…92…91. Where the hell were our Octopus cards? Gah – it was a stressful few moments as it felt like we would have to watch the seats disappear before we could figure out the system.

Octopus cards secured and used, we rushed on to the boat with everyone else and started the scramble for a seat. Ahh, 4 seats located, we sat down in the first row and settled in – only to notice that it STANK. It was at this point we saw the sign – “The first two rows are reserved for pet carriers.” Ewww – that’s why it stank. But at this point, there were no seats left together, so we were stuck. Sigh. At least it was a short ferry ride.

Upon arriving at Lamma, we managed to locate the organic, vegetarian cafĂ© described in all the guidebooks (mmm – veggie burgers and fake chicken nuggets). Fully sated, we joined the masses for the march. I don’t know what all of us were expecting, but to be sure, it wasn’t this. The path, which is paved, was packed – wall to wall people, most of whom weren’t keeping up the brisk pace we’re used to. There were even traffic jams at some points, when the narrow path and slow walkers caused a bottleneck.

As those of you who know me can imagine, I was not happy at this point. Nor were the boys who were itching to let some steam out. So, every time we came to a path not paved that we could explore, we did. It was on one of these paths that Berkley spotted a deserted beach. Instantly, he decided he HAD to go there, but we couldn’t find a path down. He wanted to scramble down the scrub brush until we said no. Extremely disappointed, we moved on. But at the next little turn off, there was another beach, and Berkley persisted until he found a trail that headed down. At times the trail almost disappeared or was almost completely overgrown, but we carried on – even past a sketchy looking boarded up shack – until we made it to the beach.

Let me tell you, it was just what the doctor ordered. We probably spent an hour and a half there – beach-combing, castle-building, stone-throwing, rock-climbing and yes, even some napping.

The only thing that marred the deserted island feeling was the massive power plant off to one side of the beach (note the massive yacht there too - Lamma Island is where the rich motor over to enjoy some R&R along these secluded beaches). Oh well – you can’t have everything.

Sanity restored, we finished off the “hike” – past the small farming village, past the WWII era Japanese kamikaze caves (which were never finished or used before the war ended – somewhat disappointing) – and enjoyed a fresh seafood dinner before heading back on the restaurant ferry. This time, we secured seats on the open air top deck, for a less malodorous and more refreshing end to what turned out to be a lovely day.


  1. Great story-telling Shannon. Good job, Berk, at finding the beach. You saved the day. Great pictures of a happy group, made me smile on a tough day. Dad ( with help from Judy!)

  2. sounds like a not so great start but terrific ending. love the pictures, the boys look so big!

    aunt cheryl

  3. Great slice o life post Shannon! Hey do you guys have skype? Lucca and Mia would love to talk to Quin and Berks in China sometime! mbaum65