SOME GULFS AND BAYS 13

Cam Ranh Bay
Cam Ranh Bay belongs to Cam Ranh town, Khanh Hoa province. It is regarded as one of three nicest natural bays in the world. The area of Cam Ranh Bay is over 60 km2, intruding into land by about 12 kilometers. The major part of the bay is 18-32 meters in depth. Some sections of the mouth of the bay are three kilometers in width; but some other sections are smaller. The depth at the bay’s mouth is 20 meters and there is no alluvial sediment so vessels of tonnage over 100,000 tons can come in and out of Cam Ranh Bay easily at any time during the year. Cam Ranh Bay can receive lots of fleets of vessels at one time. This is the absolute advantage of Cam Ranh compared to other major ports of Viet Nam. Along the international maritime routes, it takes three hours for ships to arrive at Vung Tau and eight hours to Hai Phong port. But it takes only one hour to Cam Ranh. If Cam Ranh will be turned into an international transit port, no ports in Viet Nam and in the region could compare with it in terms of safety, short time of transit and costs.
With pristine beauty, Cam Ranh Bay spreads out like blue silk. Its narrowest place is about 10 kilometers; its widest place is 20 kilometers. From the north Cam Ranh Peninsula approaches the east and west sides of the bay. On the south side of the bay is the mainland. Boats may cruise on the bay as if on a “calm carpet” because there are no big waves. The sky in the bay is blue all year long and the bay is full of sunlight.
The daily tidal ebb and flow in the bay is rather regular and timely. These characteristics of the tide are very significant for naval engineering and economy. The bottom of the bay is almost flat and is made of rather solid mixed sand and mud. It is convenient for ship anchorage. Cam Ranh Peninsula protects Cam Ranh Bay well from winds and it is a good shelter for boats from storms. On the outside of the bay are several bare islands and islets. On them are elevated spots favorable for the construction of lighthouses and naval radar stations.
Smooth white and yellow sand covers the beaches of Cam Ranh Bay. The sand in Cam Ranh contains a great volume of silicon and titanium. It was exported to Japan for making glass. On the seabed are lots of coral reefs and shoals of colorful fishes. But wind-ground and wave-cut rocks are most beautiful. Rows of beautiful coconut palms grow near the beaches, creating a typical scene of the coast of Central Viet Nam.
Cam Ranh Peninsula is about 12 kilometers in length with over 10,000 hectares of forests, large freshwater lakes and beaches. Many beaches are working all year round. The peninsula is also home to lots of famous wild traditional sea animals such as lobster, oysters etc. With its poetic landscape, Cam Ranh Peninsula has great potential for tourism. It is the perfect place for various entertainments of sea tourism for international tourists like sailing, fishing, diving to see coral reefs, relaxation, treatment of disease and mountain climbing. There is little wind in the bay because mountains stand all around the bay. At Cam Ranh Airport ten large transport aircrafts may land at one time. Roads, warehouses and technical infrastructure in Cam Ranh are very favorable for constructing a special economic zone.
Cam Ranh Bay is an important military place. The French had used it as a naval port for French forces in Indochina. The Japanese used the bay as a preparation place for the Tsushima battle in 1905 against the fleet of the Russian empire. They also used the bay to attack Malaysia in 1942.
On 18 October 1946 President Ho Chi Minh met the French High Commissioner DArgenlieu on the battleship Suffren in Cam Ranh town in the presence of commanders of the French marine, air and land armies, plus foreign journalists.
From 1965 to 1972 the US made Cam Ranh an “inviolable” military base (a base for supply of military equipment in war). Cam Ranh was also used to control the “Western corridor” of the Pacific. At peak times the frequency of landing and taking-off of aircrafts in the Cam Ranh Military Airport was the highest in the world. The specially trained troops of the Vietnamese People’s Army successfully raided this airport, setting fire to Cl30 aircraft and the bomb warehouse of the US.
After the war and the reunification of Viet Nam, the Soviet government signed an agreement with Viet Nam to rent this port for 25 years (in 1978); Cam Ranh port became an important naval base of the Pacific Fleet of the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Russian government continued to implement this agreement. On 2 May 2002, two years prior to the expiration of the agreement, Russia decided to withdraw all their employees and return Cam Ranh Bay facilities to Viet Nam.
Before the 20 th century, Cam Ranh was a locality of few people. In 1939, the French governor in Indochina issued a decree for setting up the Ba Ngoi territorial administrative unit. In 1965 Cam Ranh town was established on part of territory of the Cam Lam district. In 1970 Cam Ranh town was expanded with two new North and South Districts.
After 1975 Cam Ranh was reorganized into an administrative unit at the district level and town level. In 2000 Cam Ranh town was re-established on the basis of Ba Ngoi town and had an area of 690 km2 and a population of about 200,000 people. Now Khanh Hoa province has planned to put investment to develop the economy and society and strengthen national defense in the Cam Ranh Bay area.

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