Under the sun, the high-speed boat was taking tourists to Phu Quoc Island off Kien Giang Province in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta. Our boat rode the silver waves in “V” shape as it sailed on the blue sea, adding color to the poetic view of the island.
Our tour guide was Duy—a founder of Sea World project which designs a walk on the seabed allowing tourists to admire coral reefs. Duy briefed us on islets that we were to visit on that day, such as May Rut, Dam Ngang and Mong Tay. We would experience a “promenade” on the seabed to be in touch with the world of colorful coral reefs.
Island and islet
I asked Phuong why here some are called islets while others are called islands.
Phuong said according to locals living in the southern sea, the word “island” is designated to Phu Quoc and Con Lon (a.k.a. Con Dao), and “islet” is for all the smaller islands. In addition, there are rivers, lakes, mountains and valleys on an island where locals can do farming, Phuong told me. Meanwhile, some islets do not have flatland areas for farming and lack drinking water. However, half of the islets in Vietnam’s southern waters are home to many local people, which means that Mother Nature has given natural prosperity to these islets.
These basic distinctions between “islands” and “islets” helped tourists on board tell a difference among them on the way. In the vast sea, those islets and islands looked like giant miniature landscapes surrounded by blue water, white clouds and sunrays.
“Magic” ancient tree
On board a boat sailing from Rach Gia to Phu Quoc, I saw plenty of islets in strange shapes, Rua (turtle), Nghe, Cu Tron, Dua, Men, Heo, Roi, Thom, to name but a few. All are worth a visit.
On a small island where nobody was living, there was an ancient tree. The islet, Cay (Tree) islet, is named after it which has been there for centuries.
It was told that water inside big stones on the islet keeps the ancient tree alive for a long time. However, no one knows where the water comes from.
The ancient tree is believed to be a god of tree that protects local fishermen during their fishing trips.
By Duong Thuy