Wild Taiwan

A lady of leisure writes about wildlife in Taiwan.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

He Ping island marine park

One of Taiwan's port city is Keelung. It's in the north eastern coast of Taiwan. There's a Peninsula that juts out of this port city called He Ping Dau park or peace island or Jungjeng park. The entrance fee is NT$60 or about S$3. It's a very popular park.

The moment you enter the park, you'll see a giant swordfish? replica. All the buildings are kind of old. There are some hawkers selling drinks, nets used in aquarium tank, swimming gear, floats etc.

As one walks further, over the floating platform, one'll reach a concrete path. Beyond that, are the strange rocks. The rock formations here are really interesting. One can also see fossil arthropods embedded in the rocks. As the rocks are mainly sandstone with other harder rocks embedded within, erosion rates differ. Due to differential rate of erosion from rain, wind and acid rain, the rocks showed shapes like seals, mushrooms, tofoo etc. The other more famed coastal area where one can presumably see the head of Cleopatra is Yeliu.

One has to watch out for falling rocks whilst on the path. Recently there are steel nettings overhead so it's safer. One can also see forts with lookout posts up on the slope, presumably defence against China, although it's facing the wrong side.

There's a swimming pool just next to the sea, I'm not sure whether the water is fresh or it's marine. Just beside it are people BBQing. Strange mix.

There are so many Lygias there, the sea cockroaches. They're as numerous as the beetles in the movie, The Mummy. I wonder if they are so numerous because of the recent typhoon Matsa, which blew in a lot of debris, organic or otherwise. I didn't recall seeing them during the cold spring last year.

This park has many potential but unfortunately it's not run very well. Maintenance is not very good. As you walk on the floating wooden walkway on the sea, some of the wood already rotten and if you're not careful, your leg may just go right through. There's little education about marine life at the park. Almost everybody is trying to catch fish, crab, or whatever they can find and put into mineral water bottle to bring home. There are few if any educational signboards. Strangely enough, there's a famous marine university just round the corner. Perhaps there should be more involvement from the uni folks in public education.