The usual morning ritual of washing, packing, taking breakfast and going to buy lunch was brought forwards by 30 minutes as today we were to catch several boats to the first of our islands.
Our rambling snake left the overnight accommodation and made its way down across the road to the bus stop and on to the Star Ferry terminal. Crossing the harbour, we darted right and soon found ourselves at the ferry to Lamma.
The Star Ferry has been running across the harbour since the 1950’s and takes just 7 minutes from Tsim Sha Tsui on the Kowloon side to Central on Hong Kong Island. The staff wear blue mâtelot uniforms and run around the little boat keeping the ancient infrastructure running. Surprisingly, there are two channels in which to queue, the upstairs being more expensive than the downstairs. This particular morning, the water was very rough and it was rather exciting trying to disembark whilst the little boat oscillated some 8 feet!
The ferry to Lamma, on the other hand, was a modern affair - a sleek black and white, twin-hulled power boat with no outdoor deck! Having experienced the rough crossing of the harbour, the
best place to sit was therefore as close to the back of the boat and in the middle. It took about 30 minutes to travel around Hong Kong Island before arriving at Yung Shue Wan (Banyan Bay).
Disembarking, we were given half an hour to have tea, etc., but I decided to go and investigate a tiny temple I’d seen on the way in. Climbing up through the little village, I made my way through back gardens, up and down steps and eventually came to the headland; so close to the bustle of the village, yet so quiet, the little pavilion with its green tiled roof sat on the rocks above the sea. Making my way back through the ramshackle fisherman’s village, I met the remainder of the group outside the Deli Lamma.
Lamma is the nearest of the islands to Hong Kong and has a small expat community - mostly hippys! Whilst the island is very picturesque, it is home to a massive power station and a cement factory!
Heading off through the village, we began our trek of the island. Climbing up through houses, we had superb views of the hills, beaches and, of course,
the power station. But as the sun got hotter, we found ourselves in more open country and, at that point, two of us separated from the main group and took the more scenic route along the coastal paths. This allowed us to stop at the various Chinese Pavilions and admire the views in a more relaxing atmosphere. We did however, meet up with the rest of the group again at Lo So Shing, where there was a little beach and lunch.
Climbing back up the path, we continued on towards the little village of Sok Kwu Wan where floating wooden frames (for fishing) fill the harbour and junks bob about, their canvas shelters providing accommodation for the fisher folk. Just before entering the village, we went past the Kamikaze Caves built by the occupying Japanese to house MTBs. A short while later, we stopped at the little Tin Hau temple.
Passing through the village, we began to climb towards Mount Stenhouse and the southern coast. At one vantage point, the leader decided to take everyone down to the beach but, having already been to the beach, two of us expressed a desire to climb the to summit. The
views from the top were absolutely stupendous with one particular wooded bay looking rather Shogun-esque with a sampan moored! Needless to say, we continued walking along the ridge before finally meeting up with the remainder of the group immediately prior to our evening meal.
After a very nice meal on the island, we headed back to the ferry and began the long journey back Kowloon in the dark.
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