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Shuiwei Fishing Harbor

I walked from Danshui along the north coast shore. Heading northwards, I passed Sanzhi and Shimen, crossing the main street of Jinshan, where visitors swarmed during the weekends, and then it started raining. When I arrived at the entrance of Shuiwei Village, the rain did not show any sign of ceasing. In front of the seafood restaurants, a few motorbikes sparsely lay. Rooftops grew moss, and two boats moored by the brook, and now all were immersed in the mist of rain. An old man wearing his wooden clogs held an umbrella, heading towards the sea, and he turned, disappearing in the long lonely alley.

I uplifted an umbrella and walked to the pavilion. The tides were ebbing; tiny circled waves were urged into the brook, spreading towards the abundant reef tufts upstream. If it had been a sunny day, one would have spotted people rowing a canoe, slowing floating up towards the Jialitou Village, passing the women busy themselves planting vegetables and white cranes taking the currents of the wind jiggering up and down in the sky; or one may have encountered a gray-faced buzzard. But today, the whole landscapes were a painting of Chinese watercolor of ink—the layers of the hills and slopes were dipped in different hues of misty rain. I walked near the sea and the Yeliu islet floated tranquilly on the water, as if it had been a fishing boat put to rest, with a few sea gulls who was not afraid of the rain slid across its ridge.

The waves were not big, but the fishing boats were few. The season of bombing the fish is over. The night had not fallen yet, and one could not sea splendidly lighted fishing boats dazzling their colorful lanterns on the sea, absorbing the eyes of the fish with the spot lights that shone like heaven’s day light. Faraway on the distance where the sky met the sea, a few cargos floated waiting to enter the Keelong Bay to anchor or to set off to another distant country.

I walked into the village. A few old trees lifted their hunched trunks and crooked bare twigs against the sky, unwilling to give up the chance to catch the rain so that in summer the leaves would thrive to form shady spots. As I walked along the files of the wintry trees, people churning the spatulas on the woks could be heard in the white-roofed bungalows. It was the smell of fish. The dwelling by the sea had received the gifts from the ocean. As I passed the vegetable garden, an old woman with ragged rain coat crooked her back, collecting cabbages and eggplants. She raised her back, where was so bent as if it were going to enter the vegetable basket, to be closer to the earth.
Further towards the sea lay the open air café which faced the ocean and which I frequented in summer. On the terrace, four high school students were gliding cellphones. The rain tapped on the tin roof, uttering platter sounds like beads. I stood on the entrance of the café, hesitating if I should get a cup of coffee. In the harbor floated a few fishing boats and outside the deck, passing the jetty and reefs, a stretch of the sea extended towards Wanli, towards Yeliu, and further it was Keelong islet and the right wing of the rising Yangming Mountain Range. In sunny days dusky clouds could be seen encircling the hills, and during the night it will be a vast sky of stars. To the left on the hills grow heavy leafy evergreens, and further, it lies the legendary secretive coast. On top of the hill, it is the Lion Park which can only be accessed from the port of Huang Harbor at the Jinshan side, where the twin candle stick islets could be seen—the husband and wife, in local mythology, had transformed themselves into two rocks, squatting in the water, mutually seeing each other, supporting each other. Shuiwei Harbor is thus located solitarily between hills and Yeliu, avoiding all the hectic atmosphere and murmuring words from the mundane world.

Inside the harbor, a man with bright raincoat was fishing. He looked relaxed, unlike the fishermen standing on top of the wave breakers outside the harbor. The man said the fish was not hungry today, so they did not bite. I said probably the rain had scared away the fish. The man often rode the bike far from JiuFen Village. He was fond of riding the zigzagging mountain path to Shuiwui Village to fish, to feel the different atmosphere of Shuiwei. As the night began falling, the lights flickered between Yeliu and Wanli. Lights in winter were different from those in summer—the lights in summer seemed to swim carelessly, and lights in winter were more composed, calmed, and mature—esthetics is like this; it changes as the seasons and weathers change, following a diversity of sentiments. Dusk skies were full of colorful clouds in Shuiwei, for example, would accompany birds flying over the hills and among the woods; Shuiwei Village in rain is then similar to a wise old man, familiar himself with star maps and sea, profoundly understanding the reason of tides alter with the seasons.

On the way back to the parking lot, the young students on the terrace of café had all left. Christmas lights on the frames of the windows twinkled their eyes. I ordered a cup of coffee. The owner is a young woman who had worked in Taipei for a long time and d decided to come back to her hometown to inherit her parents’ coffee house. She then can hear the horns of the boats and calling of the tides—maybe it was a sort of nostalgia from the hometown who had summoned her back? It for sure was a sort of ideal, a dream, waiting to be filled into the blank of wishing lists. Two foreigners riding the bike stopped at the entrance of the café; they were checking the map. The came from England to bike around Taiwan, and spent last night in Danshui and today they rode the way up to the Balaka highway deep into the National Yanmingshan Park and passed Jinshan dowanrds, heading towards Keelong by way of Shuiwei.

We ran into each other by chance in the accidental trip at Shuiwei Harbor. After coffee, they disappeared at night and I walked towards the parking lot and the rain had stopped. The seafood restaurant had hung a yellow bulb and the owner and his families were watching television in the living room. Some children were riding bikes under the street lamps. On the empty parking lot, huge Christmas decorative lights blinked crazily , dashing brilliant colors of pink, red, purple…Not too far away, the Governor’s Hot Spring revealed its dimly lighted window frames, wavering at night, as if calling me to walk to its rooftop hot spring, listening to the wind humming a mixture melody of ocean and mountains. The lights floating near the Yeliu Cape seemed drowsy and the wind gushing down from the mountains blew against the tin roof tops and the sea of the trees on the hills, uttering the echoes that could only be heard in Shuiwei Village—it was spiritual as if in a space; it was not lonely, but nature’s surging, churning, flooding away the much disturbed world.

Tonight at Shuiwui, there was no tides rippling with the moon. Its melody was the trickling sound of water. The hot spring flew over a landscape that was formed in my body—a vast of ocean, the tranquility of the harbor, the life of that boat, the roaring of the wind, the creek and the sweetness of the reefs, and the rising and descending of the white cranes, brave villagers fishing, and the rain, and the sunny sky, I will always return, return to the perseverance of Shuiwei Village.

Last updated:2017-03-22
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  • Office (Baisha Bay Visitor Center)
  • No.33-6, Xiayuankeng, Demao Village, Shimen District, New Taipei City, 25341 googlemap
  • Phone: 886-2-8635-5100
  • Fax: 886-2-2636-6675
  • Sanzhi Visitor Center
  • No.164-2, Putoukeng, Puping Village, Sanzhi District, New Taipei City, 25245 googlemap
  • Phone: 886-2-8635-5143
  • Fax: 886-2-8635-3748
  • Jinshan Visitor Center (Yehliu Service station)
  • No.171-2, Huanggang Rd., Jinshan District, New Taipei City, 20844 googlemap
  • Phone: 886-2-2498-8980
  • Fax: 886-2-2498-5290
  • Yehliu Visitor Center
  • No.167-1, Gangdong Rd., Yehliu village, Wanli District, New Taipei City, 20744 googlemap
  • Phone: 886-2-2492-2016
  • Fax: 886-2-2492-4519
  • Heping Island Visitor Center
  • No.360, Ping 1st Rd., Zhongzheng Dist., Keelung City, 20247 googlemap
  • Phone: 886-2-2463-5452
  • Fax: 886-2-2463-6987
  • Guanyinshan Visitor Center (Guanyinshan Service station)
  • No.130, Sec. 3, Lingyun Rd., Wugu District, New Taipei City, 24844 googlemap
  • Phone: 886-2292-8888
  • Fax: 886-2-2291-9444
  • Jhongjiao Bay Visitor Center
  • No. 180-3, Haixing Rd., Jinshan Dist., New Taipei City,208003 googlemap
  • Phone: 886-2-2408-2319



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