For a long time now I have been eyeballing a beach way off in the distance I can see from my hotel lobby. Well, I finally decided to check it out. I hired a small tourist boat to make its way to my beach and pick us up. You see…… My idea was that I could offer a tour from my beach instead of having to be herded like cattle to the busy port on the far south of the city. The plan was to put guests into those basket boats and deliver them to the boat moored close by. Take an hour to cruise to the island and then supply equipment for snorkeling. After a bit of swimming, I would fire up the BBQ and offer a beach side supper as the sun set over the city. After dark, we would set out with free drinks and enjoy the city view at night as we approached the shore. I think it is a grand idea and so do others. Lloyd and Lee, two brits decided to
accompany me and we headed out in very choppy waters to see what the island was like. I was informed that somebody had bought it, but that was OK…. A few bucks can go a long way here. We arrived at the island and I dawned my snorkeling gear eagerly anticipating a great swim to the sandy beach. Below us were large masses of dead coral, something I am getting used to here.
There are coral reefs both to the left and right of my hotel. It could have been another big piece of paradise. A person can go swimming in front of my place and experience warm sandy beach, but if a person wants, a 10 minute swim in either direction will bring you to coral beds. One of the sad facts about the NhaTrang bay is that almost all of the coral beds have been destroyed. The fish populations were also wiped out and this is what I have been told is the reason. Most of the American soldiers here were little more than kids. At 18 to 20, they had no thoughts of
environmentalism or endangerment of species and could have no idea of the consequences of their actions would be. I do not blame them…. How could they know the extremes the Vietnamese would take things to. The Vietnamese are a very resourceful people and the environment is the last thing they think about even to this day. Soooooo… Some dumb ass soldier showed a fisherman how a single concussion grenade could stun a lot of fish. A fisherman could just row his basket around and scoop up the profit. Well…… that was the end of a lot of marine life in this area. Grenades were used everywhere killing whole generations of fish and thousands of years of coral development. To this day
the coral in most places remains lifeless, and there are so many nets and traps that a fish cannot grow more than 4 inches before it is consumed. It is sad…… Back to the story
The three of us were in the water and enjoying a bit of a swim. I however, wanted to investigate the sandy beach. The water was too shallow for the boat to get much closer, so I headed off for quite a distance to check out the place. To my utter disappointment, I found that the choral beds ran right up to the shore and there was no place a person could walk or swim without the fear of being cut by the sharp coral. Back on the boat we circled the island in the bucking seas but could not find any other access. Also, this island had a few small buildings that had prying eyes to watch for birds flying the coup. (Sorry to the Viets for the idiom) My mission accomplished, we had the boat operator take us for a bit of a sight seeing tour of the coast visiting some abandoned Russian resort and having a heck of a time
avoiding nets and fish farms that have been set up. One day perhaps the government will decide that the ocean is a great natural resource and rules will be put in place to protect it…… but not yet. We arrived back at my beach about 4 pm. The local Vietnamese had come to swim and play. When our boat came close to shore to drop us off, the local kids went wild!! A diving platform!! We did not have the time to disembark before dozens of kids had scaled the side of the boat and were diving back in.
Diving and snorkeling in NhaTrang makes for a pleasant day but please do not expect the splendor of diving off the coast of Australia or Egypt. Just enjoy the water and what you can see. The snorkeling and scuba trips are fun and relaxing…. I will be going again with any group of my guests that will have me.