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Around the World with Captain Mercer: Nha Trang

Our voyage from Hong Kong was far better heading south than our heading for it. Although still rough, (force 7 gale and a rough sea and swell), it was coming from astern of us and we ‘rode’ it far better.

If one takes a direct route from Hong Kong to Phu My, Vietnam, the course takes you straight through the Paracel Islands, supposedly uninhabited, the area is contested by both China and Vietnam, presumably because of the possible resources far below the islands. There was even a naval battle over them, in 1974, the Chinese landed a group of soldiers, supported by a naval flotilla; when the (then) South Vietnamese found out, they too sent marines and ships in an attempt to oust the Chinese off the Islands. After a land and naval battle, costing the lives of many personnel on both sides, the South Vietnamese withdrew, leaving the Chinese victorious.

So here we are today, in Nha Trang, basking in glorious sunshine and temperatures in the 80’s, (or 30’s) depending on where you’re reading this. The charts to this place leave much to be desired, so great care was taken coming in here. As we passed the islands that dot the approach, we passed fishing boats which reminded me of my school days and my history lessons, the Celts using ‘coracles’, circular boats made of woven material. Well, here they use them too, it would appear that they are towed out by a ‘mother’ ship and then they go to work, quite difficult to spot in the swell, I can tell you.

Into the port and a tight turn after passing the last 2 buoys between the reefs, using ‘joystick’ as this is easier than having to choose which azipod to use, (only 1 at a time) and too much chopping and changing; joystick lets one ‘play the piano’ with one hand and none of that ‘kerfuffle’. Docked alongside and ready to go by 8 a.m. I was hoping to go on one of our several tours, however we have a surprise visit from Vietnamese Port State, to conduct an inspection…bang goes my tour……

They inspect all our paperwork, log books, training, fire-fighting equipment and heaven knows what else. The have the ability to stop a ship from sailing, were they to find anything amiss, however they give us a clean sheet and disembark. As I can’t go on tour, a quick walk up to the (inevitable) market, conveniently placed in the way of any guest disembarking. They have a wonderful selection of beautiful clothing though, dazzling colours; watches, sunglasses, suitcases, Vietnamese clothing; you name it, they had it and temporarily at least, I was a millionaire! $50 is 1,000,000 Dong! Your money certainly goes a long way in this lovely country, rolling hills, turquoise water and the most friendly people. Other tours took our guests into the countryside, visiting a school and seeing life in Vietnam; others went to Chi Chi, where there are over 150 miles of tunnels, burrowed underground by the North Vietnamese during the war, you even have the opportunity to fire a few rounds from the veritable AK47 while you’re at it…….

We are berthed under the cables of a cable-car, which takes holidaymakers to a resort on the nearby island, we just fit under it, but will have to take it slowly as we leave for Phu My, the port of Ho Chi Min City, formerly Saigon……

1 Comment
  • Betty Stone

    Great pictures and excellant blog. Thank you and see you soon!

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