The two day slow sail from Hong Kong to Saigon passed through the contentious South China Sea (West Philippine Sea? ) where China and Vietnam spar over control over the Paracel islands and China, Taiwan, Vietnam, The Philippines, Brunei and Malaysia are all at odds over control of the Spratly Islands—tiny islands, islets and reefs that are uninhabitable, but where all of these countries have set up stations (on much expanded reefs and islands) so that they can then claim the hoped for oil and natural gas in the EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone) of each island. As we sailed this sea I taught my political geography class about the Law of the Sea with a focus on the South China Sea.
Sailing from the South China Sea up the meandering Saigon River took several hours. I spent from 7-11 am up top watching the whole journey.
On deck geography lesson in the wind. Photo by Krstin Rush
The ornate steeples of a CaoDai Temple in the distance. It is a syncretic religion unique to Vietnam that revers the likes of Victor Hugo and Sun Yat Sen as saints.