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The Charm of Hòn Yến, Where Coral-Watching Doesn't Involve Diving

Every year, from May to August, when the water reaches its lowest levels at Hòn Yến, a “jungle” of vibrant coral reefs and other marine creatures rises to the surface.

Thousands of aquatic animals call these tidal pools home — including a variety of corals, starfish and sea urchins — forming a populous, diverse ecosystem.

Hòn Yến in Phú Yên Province is among the few places in Vietnam where humans can marvel at coral reefs while on land, without the burden of diving equipment. But this convenient access is also one reason why the reefs have suffered major damage.

In the near future, the local government plans to begin a conservation program to protect the coral reefs.

Two starfish rest on a reef just inches from the water surface.

Coral "blooms" like flowers in the sun.

A jungle of coral stretching as far as the eye can see.

A tranquil scene during sunset.

Coral can take many fascinating shapes.

A view of Hòn Yến.

Trương Hoài Vũ is a Saigon-based photographer. Last year, he was the runner-up in the 2021 Royal Society of Biology’s photography competition in the Photographer of The Year category. To see more of Vũ's works, visit his Instagram accounts.

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