Saturday, August 16, 2014

With FTV on Green Island

Last week Lanyu, this week Green Island to do some shooting with FTV. Snorkeling, conservation, and other activities with Michella and Charles! Click READ MORE as always.

Since I was taking the ferry, only 50 mins from Taitung to Green Island, I headed over to Taitung city a day early just to walk around and take photos. Here some egg wholesalers distribute the goods.

Since I hate aircraft,especially small planes, it was reassuring to see the size of the ferry Uranus....

...porpoises greeted us at the harbor mouth, diving in and out of the water.

Green Island in a single image. It's far more touristed than Lanyu, but if you can look past that, there's superb scuba diving and snorkeling, some interesting history, and beautiful coastline.

Wednesday morning, waiting for the FTV team to arrive, nothing to do but circle the island on my rented electric scooter. Off I went....

Though not as stunning or as wild as Lanyu, Green Island does have some beautiful rock formations.

This sign rather exaggerates.

Catching the old prison in the early morning sun. The prisons here incarcerated political prisoners in the martial law era and gangsters during the brief crackdown in the early 1990s.

Once you pass the prison you've left the strip where all the tourist stuff is. Then the ride becomes very enjoyable.

More lovely morning light.

The road, 22 kms long, has a couple of climbs. It's a challenge to an inexperienced cyclist. This is the highest point, with good views....

...over the rocky cliffs...

...and a parking area for the short hike to the pavilion.

The road along the coast makes for some great shots.

On the beaches plenty of tourists out taking pictures even early in the morning.

The road crawls along the rock faces.

Here is the Queen 3.0, which I rented from the Kymco place just next to the port. Very nice people, and wonderful machine. It has a 40 km range, rides smooth, is lighter than a comparable gas powered machine, maxes out at 85 kmph, and has a special power button that adds juice for going up hills. Very impressed with both shop and motorcycle.

Continuing on...

...past the coral rocks and breaking surf.

Getting back to Nanliao where the port is

Fishing boats and equipment, always an interesting subject for a picture.

Nanliao, morning.

Next door to the Kymco shop where I rented the scooter is a shop that keeps a deer as a pet. It came out to lick the salt spray off my scooter. After riding the scooter, I returned it for recharge and got another one, so I always had a fresh scooter each day. Great system. On the last day in the morning I returned the scooter and they said I didn't owe them a cent -- $350 for three days. As I walked off to return to the hostel, the owner roared at me "Where are you going!? No need to walk!"  He gave me another scooter just for the walk home and told me I could bring it back in the afternoon when I got on the ferry. Really a nice guy.

Breakfast time. Some of the eateries have great views.

After breakfast I met up with Dai Wen-ying, a research assistant working on projects on the island, who was acting as our guide. She lives on the island. I had met her the day before when she drove me out to the ferry port. She turned out to be extremely knowledgeable, tough, courageous, sweet, kind, and competent. Her research topic was the culture of the Han settlers on Green Island. I am so used to thinking of Green Island as a place where tourism takes place that I had never really thought about the culture of the people who lived there, though I learned a bit about it in the next few days.

Wen-ying finds...

...a hermit crab. She also told me that though she had come and gone on the ferry many times in her years on the island, she had only seen dolphins once. I felt very lucky.

We stayed at this place, the Lin Family Hostel, well known to the locals. It was so environmental that the rooms had no furniture, just a bed. The family has been on the island for two hundred years.

They operate a snorkeling shop.

If you peel back the tourist kitsch, you soon find the old Green Island, a place where they raised peanuts and deer, not for their meat and hides, but for the medicinal uses of their antlers.

An old well.

Michella and Wen-ying plot strategy for a shoot.

We went snorkeling at Chaikou coral reef. I was shocked. I've become quite cynical about snorkeling, since I've had so many experiences where I've seen a fish or two and little else. But this was like being in a Discovery Channel marine life special. Brightly colored reef fish and coral everywhere, in abundance. Very enjoyable. I am a strong swimmer and found all the equipment a drag, but since so many Taiwanese can't swim, the safety precautions seemed very useful.

We headed over to the Lighthouse for our next scene, involving conservation.

Taiwan is easily visible from this side of Green Island.

The beauties of Green Island await me.

Charles, our cameraman.

Lighthouses were made for romantic evening shots.

Then it was dinnertime. I can't decide what to eat first, everything looks so good.

In the morning I drove around again, taking photos of people preparing to open their restaurants...

...and lovely shots of Nanliao.

Breakfast at the Shai Yo breakfast place. The seats are in an old building built of coral and later concreted over. It housed, not people, but deer.

Breakfast. My Sony DSC RX100 has a special setting for food pictures.

Rock formations, especially striking. Took many pictures of this group.

A student from my university was there, and recognized me. Like many students, she was working for the summer on Green Island.

We next went to the dive shop to don scuba equipment. Here's some eye candy for those of you who like your men hot and half naked.

Michella suits up. They wouldn't let me dive, since I couldn't unblock my left ear. As we found out the next day, I had a cold which was just starting. Just as well, as I really didn't want to.

Michella heads out.

Groups of snorkelers cross the reef.

I so do not understand this sign, which apparently is the Green Island logo. Or something. Many shops have it.

Then it was back to the port for the ferry. 5-6000 people a day in the high season. There scooter traffic jams on the streets in Naliao, the locals told us. You can always tell who is who: the locals all drive with reckless speed as if they were the only individual on the road.

I'll be back!

Yushan from the water. Back to Taitung for more shooting. Alas, no dolphins.

The next day we stopped by Shihshang Village to participate in handicraft making...but met them... the old sugar factory.

Then off to Tie Hua Village in Taitung city for scenes of vendors, the live music venue, and the special balloon lantern display. The live music was... well, the lanterns sure were nice.

Hoping to move to Taitung.... love this place so much. I'll be back!
Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums!


Anonymous said...

Very nice! Didn't know that Green Island was so big. And, a family's been there for over 200 years!

Unknown said...

Looks like you had a great time! I really liked Green Island - I went there for a long weekend with my mum when she came over to Taiwan. It was really quote touristy though, especially as we were there during summer break. We didn't get to see a deer either, which was a shame!