ISLANDS AND ARCHIPELAGOS OF VIET NAM 6

B. Islands of the Central Part
Some large inshore islands of Thanh Hoa province
In the sea of Thanh Hoa province there are many small islands whose natural conditions are greatly favorable with great potential for the exploitation of sea products and the promotion of sea tourism. The most important large inshore islands for economic development, national defense and security in the sea area of Thanh Hoa are Hon Ne, Hon Me and Nghi Son.
Hon Ne Island
Hon Ne is located at 19° 54’46” North latitude and 106° 32” East longitude. The Long Vuong (Sea God) Temple is located on it. Every year, on the 15lh day of the 5th lunar month, fishermen in the coastal districts of Nga Son, Hau Loc and Hoang Hoa arrive in dragon-shaped boats on the islands to implement the ceremonies to pray for good weather and calm seas.
In July 1964 soldiers of the Vietnamese People’s Navy chose Hon Ne as an ambush site to fight and drive out the Maddox destroyer for its violation of sea sovereignty in the “Bac Bo Gulf incident”.
Hon Me Island
Hon Me Island belongs to Tinh Gia district south of Thanh Hoa, 11 kilometers from inland. Area: 420 hectares. Around Hon Me are ten small islands. Hon Me has a tropical monsoon climate. There are two windy seasons in the year: the season of the northern wind and the season of southern wind. There are no settlers on the island. However, operations for exploiting sea products are bustling as the island is located rather near the shore.
According to recent research, around Hon Me Island there are 440 species of sea creatures of 165 genera (including 133 plant plankton species, 46 animal plankton species, 8 sea plant species, 56 coral species, 141 species of animals living on the seabed and 55 fish species living amid coral reefs). But coral reefs now are seriously degraded. Biological species requiring urgent protection are coral types (that form coral reefs), lobster, sea snails, stichopusjaponicus selenka, pearl and some kinds of sea plants. On the island are lots of monkeys and other animals such as antelope, squirrel and marten.
Nghi Son Island
Nghi Son Island is an island commune. On the map it is titled as Cu Lao Bai Bien or Bien Son. It is like a huge hand stretching to the sea, entirely embracing a harbor the depth of water of which is adequate for boats and ships to escape from sea storms.
There is a cluster of ancient fortresses on Ngoc Mountain, including Don, Huou and Ngoc fortresses. Bronze arrows and ancient pottery pieces have been excavated here. In the foothills of Ngoc Mountain is still preserved the Ngoc Well–the relic of a tragic love story of the time of the Au Lac state. Legend has it that when king An Duong Vuong and princess Mi Chau were chased by the enemy here, the Kim Quy God (Gold Tortoise God) appeared and told An Duong Vuong that Trong Thuy, the husband of My Chau, had stolen his magic crossbow, which led to his defeat in battle. King An Duong Vuong killed Mi Chau with his sword and then he cleaved waves to go into the sea. When Trong Thuy arrived at Ngoc Well, he was retold all these things. He dropped himself into the well to commit suicide. The blood of Mi Chau was mixed with seawater. Any oyster having swallowed this sort of seawater was turned into a pearl oyster. The pearls found in this sea area could only be shiny and bright if are cleaned by the water of Ngoc Well. The dome part of Ngoc fortress and two cannons from the Nguyen dynasty are still preserved.
Con Co Island
Other names of Con Co Island are Hon Co, Con Cop, Hon Me etc. It belongs to Quang Tri province of Central Viet Nam, 13-19 miles from the mainland. It bars the approaches to South Viet Nam and is a point of the baseline division in Bac Bo Gulf. The area is approximately 2.2 km2. In terms of territorial administration, Con Co Island is also Con Co district.
Con Co Island is 27 kilometers east of the Mui Lay cape, at 17°10’ North latitude and 107°2T East longitude. Prior to establishment of the Con Co district, Con Co Island belonged to Vinh Quang commune, Vinh Linh district and was managed by the Military Committee of Quang Tri province. Con Co district was established under Decree 174/2004/ ND-CP dated 1 October 2004 with an area of 2.2 km2 and a population of 400 people. On 18 April 2005, Quang Tri province launched the ceremony of establishing this district.

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