UNESCO GEOPARK EXPEDITIONS

Section 1 - The Sai Kung East Country Park

What is a UNESCO Global Geopark?

Put simply, it is an area / region recognised by UNESCO as being of globally significant and unique geological features that should be showcased and protected.
Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark is made up of 8 such areas all encompassed within the one Geopark.
Sea Kayak Hong Kong has created a sea kayak expedition to 7 of the 8 locations neatly divided into two distinct sections both significantly different in their geological AND seakayaking nature.

AMAZING!

Divided into 2 sections or the entire experience! to create 3 amazing sea kayak trips.

The Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark comprises 8 individual sections. seven (7) of these sections are connected, but the 8th is seperated by a 20km section of ocean.

Sea Kayak Hong Kong has created 3 tours that cover up to 7 of the 8 sections of the Geopark. We have divided the Geopark into 2 logical sections and made it possible to combine both in one single expedition to create the 3rd option.

As section 1, the Sai Kung East Country park coastline is totally exposed, we can only offer this during periods of relatively low winds and small swells. 
Section 2 is entirely different. A completely enclosed lagoon, except for the journey there, is sheltered in all weather conditions (typhoons are an exception). So we have seasons. Read the details to asertain which one is for you. All are world class sea kayaking trips.

4 days 3 nights

DAY 1

This tour starts in the north eastern Hong Kong town of Sai Kung, situated in Shelter Bay. Our kayak trip starts with an easy paddle between the many sand islands just off the coast.

Sai Kung is a relaxed, beach-side town that has become a popular place to live for the upper middle class population of Hong Kong. It is the jumping off point to some of the most beautiful, natural landscapes and beaches in Hong Kong. We pack our kayaks on the town beach then begin our journey east and north.

We have plenty of time today. Our afternoon paddle to the first camp is only 10kms so we can take the opportunity to commence our exploration of the outer rim of the Geopark as we pass by Sharp Island. This is the outer crater rim of the super volcano that exploded here 140 million years ago and created the amazing volcanic landscapes that we will be viewing over the next few days. If we have time we may stop to do some snorkeling on one of the inner coral reefs. The water here is clear and blue, having no other land mass between it and the Pacific Ocean.

Geopark Sea Kayak Expedition Sai Kung East
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Shelter Bay

DAY 1(cont)

There are plenty of deserted beaches to choose from for a swim as paddle through the inner islands of Shelter Bay.

We will also attempt to paddle through the first of many sea arches that are to be found in this amazing Geopark journey.

As the day draws to a close, we select one of the remote beaches to camp overnight, our choice will be determined by the prevailing wind direction at the time. 

A beach campfire is a great way to get to know your fellow paddlers and iscuss the upcoming strategy for he next day’s paddle.

No light polution here, so if it is cloudless, the stars will be shining down on us.

Tai Long Wan (Big Wave Bay)

DAY 2

Day 2 sees us up early, ready to explore. It’s a long one (22 kms) so me need an early start.

Our first stop is Bluff Island. This is one of 5 islands on this journey that have sea caves and arches. We are now on the outer edge of Shelter bay so as soon as we round the headland, we will know what type of conditions we will be in for the next 3 days. From here on we will be exposed to the open sea and all she can throw at us.

Paddling around these outer islands (Bluff Island, Basalt Island and Town Island) we will understand how this amazing coastline has attracted the attention of the UNESCO Geopark organisation.
Towering sea cliffs made of vertical columns of solidified ash, broken and pummelled by the relentless action of the ocean. Sea caves, arches and tunnels carved out of the very rock itself.

Sea Kayak Hong Kong UNESCO Geoparktour
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Tai Long Wan

DAY 2 (cont)

We take a well deserved rest at Pak Lap Wan, a sheltered beach and local campsite. The only way to get here is by kayak, charter boat or hike. 

Departing Pak Lap, we head back out into the open ocean to paddle north. We pass by the dam wall of High Island reservoir – an impressive engineering feat in itself.  Our journey today takes us past towering columns of volcanic rock, punctured with deep inlets, cascading waterfalls, remote beaches and small islands.

Depending on weather and sea conditions, we will enjoy lunch at one of these bays or inlets. Our final destination is Tai Long Wan (meaning Big Wave bay in Cantonese). An indicator of what to expect as we head into this spectacular crescent bay. Here we will head to our overnight location to set up camp. An afternoon of surfing, swimming or just relaxing after a long day’s paddle..

Sharp Peak to Grass Island

DAY 3

Day 3 starts with a hike, not a paddle!
After breakfast, its time to scale Sharps Peak, the mountain that has been dominating the skyline since midday yesterday and is directly behind our campsite.
From the peak we can see south back to Sai Kung but turning around we are able to view the distant coastline of Mainland China! and the rest of the journey ahead of us over the next 2 days.

We return to our campsite for an early lunch and swim before heading back out to the open sea again. Once we leave Tai Long Wan we again feel the power of the open ocean as we continue to head north to yet another island – Grass Island – at the mouth of the Tolo Channel.

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Grass island Hong Kong

Grass Island

DAY 3 (cont)

This is an island in Hong Kong that has permanent settlement that has been here for millennia. Originally This island has permanent residents earning a living serving food to day trippers or working as fisher folk. Here we can sample the local fare as a last night celebration for those paddlers leaving the journey the next day. A final farewell drink around the campsite to remember the epic journey behind and send off our new found friends.

Heading home

DAY 4

Our campsite faces due east so if the weather is in our favour, we will see a gorgeous dawn as the sun rises out of the ocean. After a leisurely breakfast we pack our kayaks to head due west into the Tolo Channel, an ancient, now flooded fault line that cuts deep into the New Territories of Hong Kong.
This deep water channel is home to some of the oldest rocks in Hong Kong (400 million years) and is the geological divide between the volcanic blasts of the Sai Kung East Country Park and the sedimentary geology of the Double Haven Lagoon to the north. It is also home to Hang Hau, a secluded bay that boasts over 80 species of coral. We spend the morning here swimming and snorkeling.

This the last day for some in the group who will be leaving for home. Others will be staying on and completing section 2 of this amazing journey, 

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For the crew leaving today, it ends too soon and there is transport to catch. After bidding farewell, it is time to make the short paddle south down to the end of Long Bay where our bus is waiting to take us back to civilisation – the thriving city of Hong Kong, is such a contrast to the wild and remote coastline and small local villages we have spent the last 4 days exploring.

This is Hong Kong, a country of amazing surprises.

More images to tell the rest of the story