Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Island hopping: Lamma style

It has taken us awhile to actually leave Hong Kong Island and see what else is out there. But we are slowly getting the hang of ferry travel and every trip really proves the effort is worthwhile. We recently tackled Lamma Island, the island closest to our home and consequently, the one we most often gaze at during the day.

Despite our proximity to Lamma Island, we did not exactly know where the ferry to Lamma departed but we knew the general neighborhood. Our taxi driver did not know either (or just could not understand us). We were dropped off on one side of a large fish market, which we walked through to get to the ferry. While the long walk was hard for the kids, it was even harder for them to look at all the dead fish! Nonetheless, this proved a good introduction to Lamma Island, where we saw lots and lots of dead fish, not to mention plenty of live ones too!

A little ferry boat took us right through a major shipping channel to Lamma, a ride of about 25 minutes. We got off in little Sok Kwu Wan, a village of primarily seafood restaurants (lots and lots of live fish to view and explain). Sok Kwu Wan has a population of about 300, most employed in the fishing industry. Though we didn’t think the kids could make it, the main thing to do on Lamma Island is to walk from Sok Kwu Wan to the only other village on the island, Yung Shue Wan (home of Mr. Chow Fat, the movie star). The walk (about one hour and a half, or so we are told) takes visitors past a Tin Hau Temple and other historical sites going back to the Stone Age and more recently, Lamma’s history (circa the 6th century) as a supply base for merchant ships.

The other thing happening on Lamma Island is the Lamma Fisherfolks’s Village, a museum of sorts on the fishing industry and lifestyle. We shuttled out to the floating museum in a little fast boat and boarded the fisherfolk’s village (sort of floating interconnected piers). A tour guide hustled us through a number of exhibits, including one where he scooped up fish and then let us hold them. We were all a bit hesitant, except Tori, who held every last creature he pulled out of the sea. Later, our guide even netted out a nurse shark for us to look at but cautioned us not to pet this one. There was all sorts of information at the village as to the types of ships used, the types of nets, what the living quarters were like on boats etc., but what really looped us in was "funny fishing."

During the event of "funny fishing", all the kids were given long bamboo poles with bait. They then dunked the bait into a contained part of the sea and had the pleasure/horror of a live fish pulling on their line. At first, Tori immediately dropped her pole when it was tugged by a fish, albeit a huge one. However a few minutes into "funny fishing," all kids were gamely hanging on as the fish fought over their bait. The day had everything ocean related; big boats, little boats, fish, weather. Everything except pirates, accordingly to Adam.


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