Archive for April, 2010

吉貝 camping (jibei, penghu, taiwan)

April 11, 2010

waiting for the boat, these guys spotted a pair of puffer fish. i jokingly suggested the one might catch one with his hat. well he set right to trying. actually the hat didnt work but the other guy used one of those pieces of wood that you can see in the background, slipped right under it, and lifted it up just like that. then they put it in the hat just for viewing purposes.

the girls they were with were even nice enough to offer to take a picture of me holding it too.

it was starting to make sort of these horrible clicking sounds with its gills, trying to breathe, and i was starting to wonder if we werent keeping it out of the water too long, but apparently it wasnt that scared yet. presumably, it gets scared below:

once everybody got a few more pictures of that, they dipped it back into the water, and it seemed to swim away just fine, so fortunately, i can say that no puffer fish were injured during the taking of these pictures, though it fact, i had had the good fortune to dine on the delicacy of puffer fish skin just a few days ago.

on jibei, i immediately headed out to the famous “sand-tail” (吉貝沙尾), just a short walk from the harbor, where i planned to chill all day, and then find a decently secluded spot to camp for the night.

actually, there was this sort of confusing sign up that “prohibited water activities such as diving, snorkeling, jet skiing” with fines from about $500-$1500USD, for “running such activities”, though trying to read the chinese, made the english seem even less clear; i decided to assume that “water activities” didn’t include just swimming on your own. in fact from my reading of the map, the “forbidden waters” stretched up to the hill on the left, and there was definitely all kinds of “water activities” such as jet skiing going on up there in front of the hill. when i headed up there for lunch i also asked the people below if it was alright to swim, and they assured me it was, though i think they hadnt even seen the sign.

these girls wanted to take a picture with me, and i said only if i could get one too.

their guy friends even wanted to take pictures with my pack on.

on the way to look for some lunch, i found a perfect campsite.

just knowing that i knew at least one good place to sleep, i really think made the whole day better.

at the place with all the water activities, i ran into the puffer fish catchers, and they were all eating some kind of combined noodle rice soup. i went to buy some, but all i could find was drinks, corn, and tea eggs. finally i found the pot of soup, surrounded by the tour group leaders, and by asking them about where i could eat, was ultimately able to mooch a couple bowls of soup off them for free. it was delicious too.

it actually looked interesting further up beneath the hill so i decided to skip nap time and check it out. then further on, it still looked interesting, so i decided to keep going. though i really could have camped almost anywhere, i was still thinking about the perfect campsite back by the spit, so i started getting it in to my head that i could probably walk all away around the whole island.

the kinds of fish traps shown below are pretty common all over here. but the only people i saw out collecting stuff where just collecting little sea snails. i started hypothesizing that in earlier times when the seas were more full of fish, the traps were more useful, but now there weren’t enough fish. however, at dinner, i asked these kids about them, and they told me that they use them in July and August. i also had snails for dinner so as to sample the local delicacies, though i’d previously been a little hesitant about them, and even the old lady running the place was insisting that i probably didn’t really understand what i was ordering and was pretty funny explaining that i was going to have to suck the snail out of the shell. actually they were pretty good too.

i recalled at some point that overexposure can sometimes be a fun way to get some trippy effects from a photo. some of the above photos might have used that, and i particularly figured this wreck could benefit from washing out the details.

I was going to say that I was sure that it was less than 10km around, and might not have even been 5, but i’m just out of shape, and walking in sand is extra tiring, but Taiwan’s tourism bureau actually says the coastline is 13km.

i made it back to town perfectly in time for dinner, and back to my perfect campsite before it got too late. it hazed up over the night so I only ever so one star, and couldn’t find the moon even when i woke up at 3am. the temperature was perfect, the breeze was mellow, and there was only one little mosquito trying to get inside my netting. the sun came out for a bit in the morning, but then the fog took over. i still went for one more swim before i headed back to the boat to baisha.