A whale of a time at Nhum Ba Island

We got on a small fishing junk, which was roughly two meters wide and five meters long, to leave Nghe Island for Nhum Ba Island in the Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang.

A whale of a time at Nhum Ba Island

The splendid view of Nam Beach on Nhum Ba Island, Kien Giang Province

When we got further into the East Sea, we saw the junk shrink in comparison with huge waves which we feared would plunge us into the immense, never-ending sea.

Amidst the blue vastness, we sometimes saw some herds of small fish that were like flying toothpicks surfing on the water surface. Our journey was only nine kilometers but it took us about over two hours to get to Nam Beach on Nhum Ba Island.

Nhum Ba Island, in Hon Ngang Hamlet, Son Hai Commune, Kien Luong District, has just seven households, the most crowded among the four islands of Nhum Ong, Nhum Trau, Nhum Ba and Nhum Gieng.

There are many nhum trees, a wood tree that fishermen often use to make boats and junks, that’s why the island is named Nhum.

Tran Cong Huong, an island resident, said: “There were 50 families living here about 40 years ago, but they left for a better life on the mainland and better education for their children. Currently, just seven families, who are my relatives, are left but we have a family teacher. When the children get to fifth grade, though, we will take them to study in the mainland.”

We continued for about two kilometers on a sinuous, rocky road to get to Chuong Beach. This season, the beach has been full of big waves which crash onto the coral rock shore. The beach was deserted and only had a handful of old men sitting on giant rocks which jut out about five meters into the sea, fishing.

As the day wore on we were getting hungry but Huong ensured we didn’t go short as we feasted on the local favorites of fish, squid, shrimps and snails at a family party at the Huong house.

After that it was time to go and we headed off on our junk. We left the island as the sunset was coming over the sea. Huge waves continued to fight against our little junk and to our amazement we saw a school of whales diving up and down as if they were performing in a circus, giving us such excitement as we looked on entranced.

Some fishermen prepare their large net before fishing on Nhum Ba Island

Some fishermen prepare their large net before fishing on Nhum Ba Island – Photos: Phuong Kieu