Coasteering, Bouldering, Sea Cave & Bushwhacking – A Misadventure at Lobster Bay

“Have you got medical insurance?” asked a friend of mine jokingly as we travelled to Lobster Bay (South East Coast of Hong Kong) for a coasteering trip. We laughed and commented that only the minions would accept our coverage for doing hardcore trips like these if you give them bananas.

As the taxi pulled into Lobster Bay, we pretty much “cut the foreplay” and got cracking onto our first sea cliff. There were a lot of mini-crossings between rocks and rock-pools along the coast, which was rather exciting to start the day.

Lobster BaY
Lobster Bay

It was a hot sunny day and slowly I felt rather uncomfortably warm (maybe a sign of heat exhaustion???), I had the temptation to jump into the sea as soon as possible. When I saw some of my friends jumping into the sea to cross the bay, I didn’t hesitate and dived in to the sea like a penguin and what a relief! I didn’t understand why some people decided to take a longer way and walk along the coast.

Hardcore transverse - sensible people swam
Hardcore transverse – sensible people swam

Half way through my swim, it became apparent that it was a race between people on land and people in the sea to reach the rendezvous point. We were competitive like this! And the swim was definitely worth it.

Open water swim selfie
Open water swim selfie

Island Hopping & Backstreet Boys

At some point during the trip, we saw an island in the middle of the sea.

Guess what? When you see an island and when you see an open sea crossing, it’s mandatory to swim across it! It must be a very Hongkongese thing to do, just as easy as walking down the streets of Mongkok, but less people. Of course, it is almost mandatory to sing songs as we do a long open water swim to keep one entertained. (And yes we chose Backstreet Boys or was it “Backwater Boys”)?

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Wild life in Hong Kong
Wildlife in Hong Kong

Sea Cave and Fun in the Waves

I was really glad that we decided to swim across, because the water was really clean and you can see many fish and some jellyfish swimming in the sea too. It felt like being in an exotic holiday spot like Thailand.

When we reached an island, we decided to take a rest with a lunch break and admired the natural beauty that we don’t normally see in Hong Kong. After lunch we continued and later we discovered a sea cave. What a great opportunity to play with the wave in the cave.

Found a body board on the cliff. Let the fun begin!
Found a body board on the cliff. Let the fun begin!

Some of us initially wanted to swim through the cave by battling against the waves. Some of us went further in than others, but I don’t think any of us managed it. It felt like we were some crazy hardcore dudes and dudedesses doing brilliantly stupid stuff!

The Misadventure

After the euphoria, we made our way towards the halfway point of the adventure. The tide was slowly closing in without any of us noticing. At, on what it turned out, the final crossing we made, the wave was getting much rougher, the undercurrent was getting stronger. But all of us decided to cross anyway as that would be only the way out for us. A couple of guys and I jumped into the sea. Half way through my swim, someone behind me shouted and it turned out one of my friend fell 5 meters from a rock and got stuck between a rock and the sea, but he managed to get himself out safely with some help.

Bust up leg - after basic first aid. Sorry guys - no picture of the "before" is posted here. Probably too gruesome,,,
Bust up leg – after basic first aid. Sorry guys – no picture of the “before” is posted here. Probably too gruesome…

As I swam toward the rocky outcrop on the other side, I was battling to get a grip onto the rock. The tidal waves were very strong and it felt like I was being dragged towards the open sea. It took me a long time (and with help from a friend, J) I steadied myself and pulled myself onto the outcrop.

What a relief. I was safe.

But looking back towards the sea, most people were still trying to cross.

Now the French guy was approaching, J walked towards the edge of the rock and attempted to pull him out safely. Suddenly, a freak wave bashed onto the rocks and both of them were washed away. The French guy got dragged along the rocks and barnacles for about 10 meters towards the cove, but eventually managed to pull himself out. And J? He was lost. I shouted for him but there was no answer and I was not able to see him. I started thinking that he had hit his head and become unconscious. It was certainly very dangerous to jump in to look for him given the rough sea.

In the corner of my eye, I saw a hand on the rock and what a sight. J pulled himself out and climbed onto the rock, like some kind of Hollywood action hero. I was so relieved! In hindsight, it was a cool and dramatic entry!

He was finally safe.

Slowly other friends managed to cross.

Taking Stocks

So, J and the Frenchman were covered in blood, but J was much more serious. Blood kept dripping out of his leg onto the rock. So much so, there was a trail of blood behind where he walked. G got out her first aid and patched him up. Although, I was sure those guys were in pain, nevertheless they were in high sprites and simply brushed their injuries aside! No sign of shock of course and they started bragging about their injuries! It must be a real lad thing to do!

I’m not sure what I would be like if that had happened to me. Maybe I would be in shock?

Anyway, after the first aid, we tried to figure out what was the best way to get out. It would either be a scramble and a hardcore bushwhack or coasteer out of the place. Neither of which would be suitable for the injured. We later managed to flag down a boat and the local divers were kind enough to take J and the Frenchman back to the nearest beach with a lifeguard where they can get proper first aid. As the boat couldn’t get near the shore, the divers swam to the shore and then swam with them back to the boat.

Getting rescued from the local divers.
Getting rescued from the local divers.

So, finally with both of them safely on the boat, we took the bushwhack route out.

So what was the lesson? Better planning and try not be a Rambo!

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