Foreign Waters

By Adam Capelin

Smoke on the water

Windsurfing in Vietnam was an opportunity I couldn’t refuse.  Mui Ne is a speck on the Vietnamese Coast about 5 hours on a bus North East of Ho Chi Minh City.  It was great to escape the city for a few days.  I think we were Minhed out after spending almost a week there.  I forgot I was in Vietnam for a few blissful minutes on the water until I registered the foreign coast line from a few clicks from shore.  Where am I again – that’s right, Vietnam.  The coast didn’t look familiar at all.

Mui Ne is a South facing beach in the Northern Hemisphere, which puts it in the same catagory as Noosa in the Southern Hemisphere with regards to swell.  Not much.  But it does get a good dose of wind judging by the numerous windsurfing and kitesurfing hire places.  The town itself depends on tourism for existance. A superficial strip on the waters edge with a backdrop of red earth and weed infested rural country life.  Most of the resorts and hotels are built right on the sand dunes above the beach and some of the older establishments have lost all their beach due to sand errosion.  The strip is hot unless you find yourself on the beach side of a hotel or bar and exposed to the breeze.  Like most of Vietnam, there is quality budget accommodation and food if you go looking for it – but plenty of other places trying to rip you off.  There was an incredible number of european tourists in Mui Ne.  Perhaps a well kept secret for budget getaway wind seekers.

I hit the water for two days while Keira’s tan got busy on a sun lounge.  The smallest sail I took out was 4.5m2.  I guess the wind was 25kts+.  I just couldn’t hold onto anything bigger!

Mui Ne also boasts some interesting natural attractions.  There are giant red sand dunes beyond the beaches Eastern headland and past a traditional fishing village.  The locals will try and sell you a plastic mat for sand tobogganing but its about as steep as the Noosa North Shore sand patch – nothing like the dunes of Moreton Island.  There’s also a refreshing walk up a spectacular fresh water creek called Fairy Stream that carves its passage from the edge of one side of the red sand dunes.  The stream is a natural filtration of water through the dune and separates red sand on one side from lush green vegetation on the other.  Travelling further North East from the red sand dunes is rewarded with some even bigger white sand dunes that provide a sunset over water as the coast loops back on itself.


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