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Thursday, January 5, 2017

Halong Bay, Vietnam

Halong Bay is a UNESCO world heritage site.  Thousands of limestone isles rise out of the emerald green water.  To say this is a tourist destination is an understatement.  We did a three day, two night junk boat tour into the bay.  At most times, I could see 20 other tourist boats.  Despite this fact, it was incredibly peaceful and restful.  I left behind all devices on this trip, so there were no distractions.  I spent hours on the decks, with camera in hand, just watching life go by.  We did a few stops along the way, but for the most part we enjoyed the scenery, which I hope you do through this photo tour!

The fishing village you see in the background of this photo seemed like one of the most remote places on earth to me.  We talked about it and decided that they have easier access to society than some other places, but they live with generators on their floating, one room houses.  A radio tower is positioned atop a nearby islet to warn of incoming typhoons.  

A style of Asian shrimp fishing boat that we have here in Taiwan as well.  At night we could see the boats with the bright lights on to attract the shrimp into their nets.

It was typical to see men and women paddling their boats with their feet.

We stopped at Hang Sung Sot (Surprise Cave), one of the largest and most beautiful caves in Halong Bay.  We were truly surprised at the size and length of this cave.  A kazillion people were visiting.  We were headed along by our guide, so it was hard to get a good look.

Chad and Damon kayaked the fishing village while the girls and I opted for the rowboat option so we could take lots of photos!

 In the middle of Halong Bay floats a cultured pearl farm.  We stopped for a tour of how pearls are grown.  The process is interesting.  The basics are:  An "irritant" is carved from the shell of an oyster and implanted into an oyster of the correct age.  A piece of tissue from another oyster is added at the same time (I really didn't understand this part, but they do it none the less).  The oysters are put in cages and suspended in the sea so they can grow.  The oyster builds a pearl around this foreign substance.  Periodically they are taken out of the water for the buildup to be cleaned off the shells.  This farm grew the pearls  

rows for cages of oysters

Inserting the seed made from a shell
Finding the pearl
from 3-7 years depending on the type and desired size.  Around 40-50% of the oysters survive and grow a pearl and only about 10% produce a high value, round pearl.  The flawed pearls are sold to be ground into make-up.

We traveled with Legacy Cruise Halong and had a wonderful experience!

1 comment:

  1. Enjoyed the pictures and seeing the family again. Damon, when did you get so tall???