The first stop on our boat trip was at one of the floating villages in Lan Ha Bay, or, it wasn’t a stop, as the boat just sailed slowly by, but we were close enough to see the small houses and all the fishing utensils. The people out there make a living from fishing and from raising fish and shellfish and there are several communities like this at different places in the bay.
When we later stopped at another floating settlement to go kayaking, my dad got the chance to talk to some of the residents, and they showed him a really big fish in an underwater cage. They told him that they would keep the fish in the cage for up to 7 years, and then sell it to restaurants.
It was fascinating to get a glimpse of this very different way of life, but the visit also left us worried. Apparently, there are plans to resettle the people from the floating villages to the mainland in order to reduce the environmental impact caused by the waste from the villages.
There’s obviously a waste problem, especially in Ha Long Bay, because one of the first things I noticed was how polluted the bay was at certain places, with garbage floating around in the water. Though my immediate impression was that the primary source of waste was actually from the boats carrying tourists around in the bay.
Even though it was rather quiet, while we were visiting Ha Long Bay, we passed several party cruises with people tossing beer bottles and cigarette butts overboard, so maybe a better idea would be to start regulating the Ha Long Bay tours first, and maybe even consider resettling some of the most messy tourists instead.