Diving for sea urchins on Pirate Island

By Di Vy  &nbspOctober 12, 2019 | 03:00 pm GMT+7

Hai Tac (Pirate) Island in Kien Giang Province offers visitors the opportunity of diving for sea urchins and tasting them raw, just like a local fisherman.

The Hai Tac island part of a archipelago is not as well known as Phu Quoc or Cat Ba island in Vietnam but it doesn’t mean its pristine scenery is to be taken for granted. The archipelago is located in Ha Tien district, Kien Giang province. From the pier in Ha Tien City, it takes you more than an hour to get to the island. A high-speed boat ticket is VND100,000 one way ($4.3)

Hai Tac in the Ha Tien Archipelago is not as well known as Phu Quoc or Cat Ba islands but it is increasingly a tourism attraction as the island boasts pristine landscapes.

The archipelago is located in Tien Hai Commune, Ha Tien District of southern Kien Giang Province. From the pier in Ha Tien Town, it takes over an hour to reach Hai Tac Island. A high-speed boat ticket costs VND100,000 ($4.3) one way.

The archipelago consists of 16 islands, of which Hon Tre Lon, aka Hon Doc is home to a large population of residents. One of the local activities that attract lots of tourists there is to do scuba diving to fish squid and echinus. Before the dive, the boat operator will give you a tour around the islands.

The archipelago consists of 16 islands, of which Hon Tre Lon, or Hon Doc, has a large population of residents. One local activity that attracts a lot of tourists is diving for squids and sea urchins. Before tourists dive, the boat operator gives them a tour of the islands.

Tran Chi Thanh, 45, a resident of Hai Tac Island, said that tourism has developed on the island for the past two or three years. Each boat trip costs from VND500,000. The price depends on the number of passengers, Thanh said.Accustomed to life at sea, Thanh can dive deep without an oxygen tank and catch dozens of fresh echinus.

Tran Chi Thanh, 45, of Hai Tac Island said tourism has been developing on the island for the last two or three years. “A boat trip costs from VND500,000 ($22). The price depends on the number of passengers.”

Accustomed to life at sea, Thanh can dive 2-3 meters deep and catch dozens of sea urchins each time.

Thanh said the water level at dive sites are shallow but only people good at swimming and diving would gain a wholesome experience. Catching an echinus is not difficult, but it is important to know how to dive and have good eyesight. The echinus lives on rocks and corals. You would need an aluminum tong to pick the echinus and a net to hold them.

He said the water level at dive sites are shallow but only people good at swimming and diving would gain a wholesome experience. “Catching an echinus is not difficult, but it’s important to know how to dive and have good eyesight. The echinus lives on rocks and corals.” You would need an aluminum tong to pick the echinus and a net to hold them.

The creature usually reproduces between the third and sixth month in the lunar calendar. At Hai Tac, skilled seafarers know the rocks and holes where echinus live like the back of their hands. The work requires extra care, otherwise you will be pinched by its spines.After bringing them on the boat, Thanh put them in a big basket and shake it hard so some spines fall off. He proceeds by using a scissor to cut off the remaining spines.

The sea urchin usually reproduces between the third and sixth lunar months. At Hai Tac, skilled seafarers know the rocks and holes where sea urchins live like the back of their hands. Their work requires extra care since the spines could sting.

After bringing them aboard the boat, Thanh puts them in a big basket and shakes hard so that some of the spines fall off. He then uses scissors to cut off the remaining spines.

Finally, he cut the echinus in half. There is no grill on the boat, so the echinus is often eaten raw after being caught. The meat has a light yellow hue and a creamy taste. You can also eat it with a bit of mustard. Thanh, on the hand, likes to squeeze a bit of lime on top, add a pinch of salt.

Finally, he cut the echinus in half. There is no grill on the boat, so the echinus is often eaten raw after being caught. The meat has a light yellow hue and a creamy taste. You can also eat it with a bit of mustard. Thanh, on the hand, likes to squeeze a bit of lime on top, add a pinch of salt.

Other seafood includes oysters and scallops that can be steamed directly on the boat. These particular items are brought on the boat in advance by the local fishermen.

Other seafood like oysters and scallops, brought by the fishermen, are steamed on the boat.

Fishing is also a favorite activity for many tourists because not everyone knows how to dive, Thanh said. The bait is usually fresh squid. The caught fish is steamed on the boat.

“Fishing is also a favorite activity for many tourists because not everyone knows how to dive,” Thanh said. The bait is usually fresh squid. The caught fish is steamed on the boat.

To get to the island, visitors can depart from from the pier in Ha Tien City. The first ride starts in the early morning.Accommodation services on the island are still under development, but you can still find a place to stay starting from VND 150,000 ($6.5) a night for 2 people. Apart from scuba diving and fishing, motorbikes are available for rent if you want to explore the life on the island.

To get to the island, visitors can depart from the pier in Ha Tien Town. The first boat leaves early morning.

Accommodation on the island is still basic, but you can still find a place to stay starting at VND150,000 ($6.5) a night for two people. Apart from diving and fishing, you can also explore life on the island by renting motorbikes.

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