Monday, June 27, 2016

MENU goes East - A fishing village and pearls on Ha Long Bay

On our second day we were taken to visit the Vung Vien floating fishing village. Most of the people now live on land, some have remained but they still earn their income from the sea and it was very interesting to see how they used to live and still work afloat
The village is now all on moored pontoons and is situated in a secure bay which protects it from the weather. They can get very bad typhoons in the area
The boats on which people live and from which they fish
It's a small cabin but, apparently, it serves their needs
In the Information Centre, Huang explains how the village works. There is also a small museum and a social centre
We were then taken on a tour in these small boats (4 people at a time) rowed by very adept and strong rowers, mostly women
Off we set
all wearing our life jackets
And we were offered the traditional conical hats as protection from the sun. Made from palm leaves, bamboo and bark "Non la (palm-leaf conical hat) is a traditional symbol of Vietnamese people without age, sex or racial distinctions"
Standing up to row
Our rower was a friendly man
Lynne took the offer of the hat. One is very cool underneath it; no wonder it is still in use
Passing houseboats
in the shelter of the rock formations
Up closer, you can see the nets and other fishing paraphernalia
Nowadays the houses float on polyethylene drums
Working boats, with fishermen tending their nets
Hundreds of tiny fish in tanks beneath us. Fish farming is part of the operation
A school for the village children
Shrimp and crab nets
We head for the hole in the rock. The wind blowing through it was strong and the rowers had to turn round
This is the pearl fishery. The oysters are grown on strings beneath the buoys
Pearl oysters growing. It takes at least 5 to 6 years before they might produce a pearl and the odds are low
These are the more mature oysters, which have been seeded
We watched this expert seeding the oysters. First he prises them open gently, places a small piece of antiseptic and then the round bead that the oyster will coat with nacre over the next few years until it produces a cultured pearl. When that is done, he closes them and they go back into the sea. The bead is an irritant and the oyster produces calcium carbonate to coat the irritant, which becomes nacre or mother of pearl
This one was a success and produced a beautiful pearl
The jewellery shop which sells the pearl jewellery. It was rather expensive
The girls wave us goodbye
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2016

No comments: