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Turning to the sun
Many documents described Con Dao Island as “a bear with its back to the mainland and its legs were advancing straight to the East Sea”. However, I am more convinced by the comment of a captain who has been working at sea for half a century that Con Dao island looks like a “ tiger looking up to the sun”.
We have made a trip to Con Dao by ship. After a night cruising on the sea we reached the island at 6 a.m at a small harbor with dozens of trawlers when the sea was so calm and so blue. We were told later that it is only a narrow place with still water just enough for a few trawlers to anchor or in keeping with the smile, the place where we just set foot on is the stand where “ the tiger “ sits, looking at the sea
We followed the zigzagged road from the Dam Wharf to the centre of Con Dao District while admiring the picturesque beauty of the sea, as if embracing the mountains. Looking from above, one could see the sea as a white line separating the Blue Mountains and the vast blue sea glistering under the sunshine.
The road passes Hon Trac Lon Cape to reach Con Son Gulf where Con Dao District Town lies. We were all amazed to see huge trees and vast carpets of colorful wild flowers trying to show their beauty under the sun.
Con Dao district Town lies in a valley, half way between Co Ong Airport and Ben Dam harbor. The District Town has its own school, hospital and a waterfront park besides the administrative offices, a border post, hotels and restaurants.
Con Dao Island is surrounded by 16 smaller islets, all with different interesting names and of different sizes and shapes. The only thing they have in common is a diversified coral reef system contributing to the exceptional blue of the seawater in the region.
Facts reveal that the lighthouse on the “ Bay Canh “ or “ 7-sided Island” is an independent one which is effective up to 35 nautical miles during the day nearly 27 nautical miles at night, to help ships operating in the Ba Ria – Vung Tau sea region to identify their location and avoid dangers. At the location, there is still a plate with information confirming that the lighthouse war built in 1883 in colonial times and was equipped with a solar energy device to ensure energy for the light system so the staff in charge can continue caring for “ the eye of the sea “.
Huong, one of the 3 young men working in the Bay Canh Lighthouse told us that they would be switched to another lighthouse once every three years. Their accommodation is decent and above all they have a little garden with various kinds of spices, hot chill and limes and other fruit trees. However, they depend greatly on food supplies from the mainland once a week and they sometimes could even send fresh fish back to friends on the mainland. They have also access to TV, radio and mobile services.
We left the lighthouse after being treated to a good meal prepared by the three young men who have devoted their youthfulness to take care of the “sea eyes “for the safety of others.
Leaving the lighthouse we followed a quiet road to Hang Duong Cemetery to pay our respects to the martyr Vo Thi Sau and those who had laid down their lives on the island for the cause of national salvation during the two had resistance wars against foreign invaders. Local traditions say that the best time, what you prayed for would be realized. No wonder flower shop were still open very late to provide flowers, incense and other offerings to the pilgrims.
Standing at the grave of Vo Thi Sau, a strange feeling ran through my body while the familiar song entitled “ The Season of the Lekima Blossom “, in praise of the young girl whose courage had frightened the enemy, was echoing in my heard.