SOME GULFS AND BAYS 4

These ecological characteristics are strong points for the potential of Bai Tu Long Bay in promoting ecological tourism for the sake of nature conservation and enhancement of the people’s living standards in the core and buffer zones. During its operation, Bai Td Long National Park has successfully deployed lots of conservation measures and has perfected the management, protection, scientific research and preservation of natural resources, among which are sea tortoises.
The left side of the Con Trui sand bank, nearly 500 meters from Minh Chau harbor (Pearl harbor), is the place where the globally protected sea turtle species of Lepidochelys olivacea make nests and lay eggs. From 2004 to 2007 scientists have discovered two nests of eggs of Lepidochelys olivacea turtles here. They also rescued a mother Lepidochelys olivacea turtle and realeased her back into the sea. This sand bank is constantly collapsing or augmented with extra alluvial soil. The degree of sloping is dangerous to humans; but sea turtles are smart animals so they choose this sand bank for laying eggs because few people come here and it is safe for procreation.
In Bai Td Long Bay sea turtles make nests only at night from May to July every year. They like to make nests at midnight, especially in the stormy nights when the tidal waves are highest and human operations are the least. They strive to ride the strongest waves to make a landing because only such waves can help them to reach the highest and driest places on the bank, which are the most ideal places for nests. Only the eggs laid in the nights of the highest waves are capable of survival and the hatching of young turtles. The eggs laid in nights of the lower waves can be easily damaged by flooding or landslides.
In the procreative season the mother turtle crawls heavily to the safest place on the sand bank. It starts using its front paws like oars to dig the sand to make a nest. When the front half of its body has submerged in the hole, it continues to use the back paws to dig the sand into a completely round hole of 50-70 centimeters in depth. If the hole collapses while being dug, the turtle leaves it immediately and makes a hole in another place in the same night or next night. Now the turtle begins to make the birth efforts. Each time a sea turtle may lay two or three dozen or even a hundred eggs. When the spawning is done, the turtle carefully fills up the hole with sand and only then it slowly returns back to the sea with the eyes imbued with tears like the tears of a woman in laying. In natural conditions, from 45 to 60 days later (or 72 days at the most) the eggs will hatch. Only 1 of 1000 young turtles can survive. The hatched young turtles wait with each other in the nest for a few days and then hastily crawl together up to the sand bank. From the sand bank they rush into the water and swim off shore to avoid the possible dangers from predators such as birds, snakes, iguanas and others. This is the early stage of life of each turtle to adopt the necessary information of life. About 20-30 years later, at the mature age, they go back to their hatching place to lay eggs for the first time. This is the interesting biological behavior of sea turtles.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has recently collaborated with Bai Tu Long National Park and the government and people of Minh Chau commune to deploy activities to conserve sea turtles. People are encouraged to be involved in turtle conservation. Such pragmatic activities as protecting turtle eggs, rescuing mother turtles and bringing them to spawning places have helped to protect the sea turtles of Bai Tu Long from extinction.
Ha Long Bay
Ha Long Bay is a small bay at the western coast section of Bac Bo Gulf, in the northeastern sea region of Viet Nam. It includes the sea areas and islands of Ha Long city, Cam Pha town and a part of Van Don Island district. Its names have changed over historical periods. The present name of Ha Long Bay (Landing Dragon Bay) appeared in bibliographies and in some French maritime maps only from the late 19th century. Bai Tu Long Bay lies adjacent to the northeast part of Ha Long Bay. Cat Ba’s islands are next to the southwest part of Ha Long Bay.
The area of Ha Long Bay is about 1,500 km2, including about 2,000 small and large islands, most of which are made of limestone. The core area of the bay covers 334 km2, where 775 islands are clustered. The tectonic movement in the bay, in which limestone was formed, occurred about 500 million years ago under different geographical circumstances. The full tectonic evolution of the karst terrain of Ha Long Bay took over 20 million years. In this evolution thick limestone was decomposed under hot and humid climate and the terrain was slowly raised. Ha Long Bay is the center of a larger area with similar elements of geology, geomorphology, landscape, climate and culture.

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