One Morning in Hong Kong

Exploring Sai Kung, Hong Kong

By: Kyle Obermann + Save to a List

Village dogs’ yelps split the air, unseen and untethered in the night. For the first time I begin to question this adventure since blindly groping to mute the alarm at 2:30 AM. Now it was close to five. The deep tenor of the ocean rumbles in the dark like distant thunder. Our destination is near.

We pass through the small bundle of lights that was Pak Lam village. The dogs hold at bay by the invisible line between the concrete driveway and the path through the cow field. The trail splits at the foot of the crooked, low hanging tree and we head up left through the thick brush on a heavily eroded track.

At the top, cliffs plunge into the roaring blackness down to the left. The silhouette of Pak Fu Shan mountain rises over the sea to the right. Straight ahead, the tide ruthlessly batters a nearby island. The ocean glows fluorescent blue.

Lanyanlei, blue tears, Isaac yells, torchlight and finger pointing ahead in the dark. Every wave that crashed against the island exploded into glowing showers of light, the crests of swells under Pak Fu Shan sparkled as they collapse into the beach.

We had originally come to this part of Sai Kung East County Park to shoot the sunrise. This chance encounter with Noctiluca scintillans was a fortuitous bonus. The sunrise, however, was a total flop: just a sheet of flat, colorless haze stretching across the horizon. But we found other ways to entertain ourselves.

This part of Hong Kong is a geological wonderland, a curious explorer and angle seeker’s paradise. Here, volcanic rock many millions of years old crumble into the ocean, leaving sea bridges, caves, cliffs, staircases, and islands which wax and wane with the tide. The only limit to exploration is your stomach for heights, strength in the water, and length of rope.

We pick our way down through a series of cliffs, down to the mouth of a sea tunnel.

The tide rolls through the tunnel, waves exploding as they hit the entrance. The price for crossing to the other side is a very soggy shoe. We're definitely coming back here, though, ready to get closer and get wet. The opportunities for creative shots seem limitless.

At nine we begin to head back into town. We finally get cell service back up on Man Yee Road and hailed a taxi back to Ma On Shan. By ten it was a traditional Hong Kong Cha Canting breakfast of ramen in a boiling, savory broth, a thin, fried pork steak, one ham-filled egg omelet, two pieces of buttered toast, and a mug of iced milk tea. 4.50 USD.

By eleven I was on the bus home. Eleven-thirty swinging my backpack onto the chair and sinking into the couch on the 27th floor. Wow. What a start to the day. This nap would come easy. Still had the afternoon to go.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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