Monday, August 31, 2015

Lanyu: Days of Steel, Days of Sun

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Another August, another trip to Lanyu (Orchid Island) off Taitung, Taiwan. This time I brought my daughter, Sheridan, who took everything in with wide-eyed appreciation and good humor. A rewarding trip for both of us. Click on READ MORE if you can stand another dose of Lanyu pics (slogan: "A goat with every picture").

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Our trip started out at Houbihu Marina in Kenting. From there it is less than 2.5 hours to Lanyu, while it is 3 hours by ferry from Taitung. Moreover, you can get a taxi to/from the marina directly at/to the HSR for 350-400/person. This means that you can make an early afternoon ferry if you leave Taipei early in the morning.

Because our taxi driver drove like, well, a taxi driver, we got down to Hengchun with plenty of time to spare, and decided to do a quickie tour of the city. Here I pose on one of its restored walls. There's plenty of interesting things to do in and around Hengchun -- highly recommended.

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We went over to the port early and walked around tourist style, cameras in hand. Fishermen were hard at work on their boats.

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A drydock. The boats are lowered onto sleepers and then winched up the rails.

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Finally at 1 we boarded the ferry. The weather was good, overcast, but no rain.

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Soon Lanyu came into view.

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We picked up scooters in the harbor and drove over to our hotel. Of course, goats.

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We stayed at the Lanyu Bieguan in Imarod (Hungtou), because it was relatively cheap and drinking and eating establishments are at hand. There's a view of the ocean too, but then there's one at almost every bed and breakfast. Last time I am staying in Imarod, I think. Thinking about the next day, the ocean looked lovely, but the clouds...

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The next day we set off on the scooter in the morning to circumnavigate. Here a taro patch wonders where the sun went.

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My daughter grabs a shot.

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Daughter with concrete company in background.

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We gave in to consumerism, and stopped at the only 7-11 for coffee. The rainbow was a promise that it would be a good day.

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This shot is from the road that goes up to the lighthouse at the north end of the island. It started to rain and I did not want to descend on a slick road, so we didn't go up.

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A crab got stuck in the fence, so Sheridan levered it loose.

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Just beyond that tunnel is where the good stuff starts.

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Sheridan studies the tunnel.

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Lanyu, volcanic in origin, has some amazing rock formations.

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The steel-gray clouds and light were lovely over the water.

A boy brought his dogs to chase the goats around. The next morning we met him again doing the same thing.

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One thing I did more of this trip was drive up side roads to the villages. Here is part of Iraraley town.

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Goats with boats.

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Looking back. Sheridan loved the many-colored sea.

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A hammock is all you need on Lanyu.

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We stopped here and went down to the pools in the rocks by the sea.

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Goats love these rocky shorelines.

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Even in the gray light, it was still gorgeous.

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So was my daughter.

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The pools were filled with hermit crabs.

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Then we came upon battleship rock.

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On our way to the next town over those ridges in the distance...

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...while Sheridan stopped for souvenirs...

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...I hefted a glass of Baileys over ice.

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We went down to where the sea bashed a tunnel through the coral rock...

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The water swirls red and blue, but I'm not showing you. You'll just have to go see it for yourself.

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The turn off is right at the end of the white wall on the sea side of the road as you come over the hill. Just follow the little paved strip to the end, there's a parking lot.

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Then we dropped by the traditional boats.

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In Yeyin, while my daughter photo'd the traditional houses, I got a shot of this hen with some really nice chicks.

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Baby pigs are everywhere.

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South of Yeyin the island is very undeveloped.

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Got lots of nice pix of Sheridan...

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With Little Lanyu in the background.

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We walked out to the grassy field, Chingchingtzaoyuan, where previous tourists had clearly met a horrible end.

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Took the obligatory pics.

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Then we visited the ruins of an old village nearby. Here an orange flavored lizard wonders where the sun is.

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Then back to the room, where the local Han were setting out tables for Ghost Month festivities.

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We went to get gas and dropped by the abandoned lighthouse at the harbor.

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We stopped by this little museum/exhibition place. Cost 50 NT to get in. We did not find it worthwhile.

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After that, resting and contemplating the beach...

That night it poured so hard that the rain blew back through our air conditioner and leaked into the room. We were both awakened at 4 AM by the pounding wind and water blowing into the windows. Oh crap, we thought. The weather will be terrible tomorrow. Nope...

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The morning turned out to steadily clear, and the sky was so clean that clouds could be seen rolling over the mountains on Taiwan. Since we didn't have to meet the ferry until 3:30, we set off on the scooter again.

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Beautiful colors of Lanyu.

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Someone had painted the kerbstones...

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As you can clearly see, this goat had a tough night and could barely walk in the morning.

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This time we made a point of exploring side roads and turnoffs.

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This road through the bushes goes down to an unused boat launch site.

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With good views of Yeyin and the road up to the weather station.

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Our next goal was the weather station. The traditional houses fill one side of Yeyin town.

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We made it up, but I can't walk uphill well, so we headed back down.

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Coming down to Imarod.

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We went back to the grassy field and explored all the paths.

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Even the ones that dead ended...

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After lunch, we went around the island via the south, counterclockwise. Here a set of rock climbers tackles a rock formation.

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Many rock formations on Lanyu are composed of columns of volcanic rock, laid down and then twisted by nature over time.

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The fields bounded by walls near Yeyin.

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Turning up a side road, we took a back road through Yeyin.

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Storage?

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We stopped by a boat launching site in Yeyou.

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Pigs and chickens rest in the boathouse next to the launching site.

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Finally we went back to the port and dropped off our scooters. Then we walked out along the mole...

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...and grabbed some pictures of the harbor.

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Then it was good bye to Lanyu again. My daughter was delighted with the trip...

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...and the ever-changing colors of the powerful, mysterious sea. A series of rain squalls blew by, transforming the ocean. Freighters criss-crossed our path...

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Finally, Kenting and home. Another great trip to Lanyu, made special because of Sheridan. Thank you, love.
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4 comments:

an angry taiwanese said...

thanks for sharing the journey with us poor souls stuck in Ma-Hung-Lien-Hau nonsense.

Phillip Charlier said...

I love Lanyu. It's like going abroad without having to flash your passport, when people say 'the mainland' they mean Taiwan, and 'going to the city' means going to Taitung.

Anonymous said...

Nice Pics. The clouds and "threaten-to-rain" mist provided different backdrop this time, compared to your previous trip. It looks sober, contemplative and serene; demonstrating the Orchid Island's sophisticated face. Thanks for sharing!

Will Fehlow said...

Great post, thank you! Found link on Remembering Taiwan fb page. I enjoy your casual descriptive style. We're just back from a week on lake Superior's south shore; fickle seaside weather is a delightful game to travel and play by! Cheers! :)