North lamma Island Day Tour
NORTH LAMMA ISLAND DETAILS
Lamma, an island naturally divided into 2 sections - north & south
Lamma Island is a paradise just a 30-minute ferry ride from the Central, the closest of the large inhabited islands of the Hong Kong Archipelago.
The island is evenly divided into 2 halves. The northern half is where the majority of the inhabitants live (approx 6,000 residents). The village of Yung Shue Wan, the largest village on Lamma Island, is regarded as Hong Kong’s expat hippy capital due to the laid back lifestyle, arts and crafts stalls, boutique restaurants and cafes and of course fresh organic foods.
The southern half has almost no one living there (approximately 500) and is an untouched sub tropical paradise.
The "Island of Thieves", a pirates' den
From the 1100’s to the late 1800’s pirates ruled the oceans around Hong Kong and China’s coastline. At their peak the pirate fleets were 10 times larger the the Spanish Armada, a formidablr force not to be trifiled with.
Lamma Island was known as one of “the islands of thieves” by the Portuguese sailors based on Macau, centuries before the British colonised Hong Kong island. It is not hard to understand why pirates would want to be based on this beautiful island.
Sea Kayak Hong Kong is based at Lo So Shing, an ancient walled pirate village. It makes it hard for us to forget the sea faring heritage of this amazing island, one of the 260 that make up the Hong Kong archipeligo.
Lamma is also home to scores of stone age villages and archeological sites (the most important location for archeological artifacts in southern China). It is also the 3rd largest island in Hong Kong SAR but the least populated of the larger islands. As such it has a wide variety of natural environments, incluing the only Green Sea Turtle hatchery in Hong Kong.
Man-made monsters that dominate the senses.
In absolute contrast to the serene and natural environment, Lamma Island also boasts some coastal engineering feats that over-power the senses, not just because of their size and proximity to us, in our puny little sea vessels, but because of their total audacity and disregard for the natural environment in which they reside.
The contrast is surreal – hard to adjust to – one moment we are edging along granite cliffs looking for pirate treasure and within a moment, a massive power station dominates the horizon. If this was located in the New territories Hong Kong horizon, it would blend as part of a modern skyscrape – but on Lamma, it is definitely the elephant in the room!
But to kayak through such a demonstration of mans ability to manipulate earth’s natural elements, bend it’s will to do the bidding of a human being, and to see it up close and personal is a kayaking experience that is both awe inspiring and damning, making us wonder at the stupity and cleverness of the human race as a species.
East Lamma Channel - the busiest shipping channel in the world by volume!
Lamma island is the closest island to Hong Kong, sperated by a deep water channel, between 28 and 35 meters deep, the deepest in all Hong Kong waters.
This is the main shipping channel that services the massive container terminalsof Hong Kong, with an ocean going container ship passing by every 9 minutes. In contrast, our little sea kayaks seem like pieces of flotsum. Its hard not to get a feeling of incredible weakness as we pass close to these moving behemoths. Man’s attempt to conquer the forces of the oceans. How silly can we be?
Paddling the East Lamma Channel impresses on so many levels, but you will never get tired of the view of Hong Kong Island, just 2 kms away, with its dominant mountains tamed by the towering skyrise that pepper the landscape. Wow.
Sok Kwu Wan - a floating fishing village now famous for seafood.
In the centre of the island is a bay and an isthmus that divides the north and south sections. The bay called Sok Kwu Wan, meaning Big Net Bay, is protected on 3 sides from weather and ocean swells, only open to the deep waters of the East Lamma Channel.
This bay has been the home to fisherfolk for thousands of years. The other, more ancient name of Lamma Island is Pok Liu Chau (舶寮洲 or 博寮洲) , because ‘Pok’ in Chinese means docking place, while ‘Liu’ means foreigners. Sok Kwu Wan was a famous docking place for foreigner ships in Tang and Song dynasties (1000-1200 years ago).
In recent history, Sok Kwu Wan was the home to a large Japanese invading army and the base of the infamous ‘kamakaze boats’. Over 140 were based in tunnels dug into the cliffs around the entire bay. Sok Kwu Wan, an amazing place in history!
Dog Island - a deserted island on the edge of the East Lamma Channel
Depending on which way we paddle (if the wind is from the west we will be in the Channel in the afternoon, but if the wind is from the east, this is a morning stop.
Dog Island is a small deserted island, with the exception of 2 resident dogs who have, somehow, made this their home. The beach is their place of residence and no finer home could you want.
We stop here for a brief rest and swim either before or after tacklinf the East Lamma Channel on our way around the north Lamma island coastline.
From here we peer across at the eastern coast of Lamma where development ceased in the mid 60’s. A total contrast to the incredibly hectic development of Hong Kong Island just 2 kms away.