We spent the day enjoying a quintessential northern Vietnam experience: riding a junk through the karst gum drops protruding from Ha Long Bay. We’ve been on Cat Ba Island off the port of Haiphong for three days appreciating the off season in a place that apparently is a tourist hot spot when it’s warm and dry. Our first two days were overcast and rainy, so we spent them doing homework and hiking through the national park. Today’s forecast called for temps in the high 70s (the warmest we’ve seen so far) and a low chance of precipitation. The weather did not disappoint. We booked a day-long boat ride that included scenery, kayaking, a seafood lunch cooked aboard, and some swimming.