John Gray’s SeaCanoe Vietnam runs a Halong Bay staff training trip every October that sea kayakers can enjoy at a reduced rate. The 2009 staff training trip is from October 21-24 at a reduced rate of US$495 for four days of sea kayaking to the traditional sites of Haeng Toi and Dao Da Be, as well as new and sometimes undiscovered locations in areas far from the heavy tourist areas where all other copycat company operate. Lead guide Cuong Nguyen teaches sea kayaking basics including proper paddling strokes to University students interested in becoming sea kayak guides. The legendary Cuong Nguyen followed John “Caveman” Gray and Kent Bry from Adventure Ski School into a Dao Cat Ba hong in 1995 and is Halong Bay’s senior and most accomplished sea kayaking guide. Cuong frequently helps groups with untrained guides with no knowledge of tidal technology out of caves, including a now famous 2006 rescue of five tourists in improper decked kayaks who capsized several hundred meters into Hang Toi cave. Despite serious cuts and a rising tide, all five tourists and their guide were rescued from total darkness with no loss of life. In true mariner’ tradition, Cuong Ngugen doesn’t talk about the rescue, saying he only did what had to be done.
Seasoned guides Mai Huong, Halong bay’s only qualified female sea kayak guide, highly experienced Binh Nguyen Huy, and another Cuong Nguyen also accompany each training trip. With luck, John gray’s SeaCanoe Vietnam managing director Han Quang Vinh often joins this trip.
John Gray’s Seacanoe Vietnam doesn’t have these problems, in part because of these annual sea kayaking training trips. If you really want to see the Bay with John “Caveman” gray himself and the Ha Long Legend Cuong, this discounted sea kayaking trip is just for you. As an added bonus we also explore the furthest reaches of Halong Bay, far from the tourist crowds.