Ocean Themed

Hua-lien Travel Blog

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Hualien port
Today is our second day in Hualien, and it is going to be ocean-themed. We set off early to Turumoan office the first boat out to pacific ocean for whale-watching. Apparently, hualien is a favourite place for Taiwanese to do whale-watching, we were probably the only foreigners in the whole boat of about 20++ passengers. The driver who drove us to the office informed us about the ports of Hualien, its history and everything. He also told us how our Turrmoan guide came to work in Hualien after her whale-watching trip etc. I was very amazed by how friendly everyone in Hualien is. Even a short drive from the office to the port is filled with information.
Our friendly driver told us to chope the front-most area of the boat (Ok, i know there is bow, stern, starboard and portside but I dunno which is where, so just the front-most area).
..He told us to sit there, put our legs out, so that if there are playful dolphins, they will be playing under our legs, and that is the best experience throughout the whole whale watching trip. So, me and huiling settled ourselves and we set out into the vast ocean to search for some whales and dolphins.
The guide did a great job about informing us not only about the ceteceans but also the geographical aspects of Taiwan as a whole. It is very cool to see mountains in one direction and if you turn 180 degrees around, you see pacific ocean. Taiwan is located on 2 platonic plates, so this unique feature draws an ocean current which serves as a highway for sea creatures and thus, whales and dolphins can be spotted in Hualien. If you want to know how special the geographical aspect of Taiwan is, just zoom in to the map in the profile page of this site and turn it to satellite view.
The boat that carries us on the search expedition
You can see the geography of the east coast of Taiwan. The mountain is as high as the ocean bed. Hence, it is dangerous to swin in the coast of Hualien cos the drop is very  drastic.
We cruise at the ocean for a very long time. approx 3 hours and all that were spotted are some flying fish and some birds. The excitement of spotting flying fish soon died-ed as everyone became soo demoralised that there are no dolphins at the least. Nonetheless, our guide tried to informed us about Hualien, including the very nice and picturesque Qing Shui cliffs near TaiLuGe. We searched for near 3 hours, and then there was an excitement coming from the guide. She had spotted something in front, but as we draw nearer, it turned out to be a large school of fish. That kind of brought the morale up a little, but since 3 hours have past, and there were no sightings, all of us were kind of certain that we will not see anything this trip.
Qing Shui Cliff
Then near midday, we spotted another boat and some "waves" breaking around it. The guide proudly announced that we have spotted doplins!! As our boat drew nearer to the dolphins, ooohs and aaahs became louder and everyone was filled with excitement. There were more than a dozen of the dolphins. The guide then informed us about the nature of this specie of dolphins. We had spotted the pantropical spotted dolphins, and apparently, this group is circling a school of fish. We tried to follow them but the school of fish was near where our boat are, so the dolphins bascially just have no mood to play with the boat at them momemnt, they are busy hunting. Anyway, we followed them, saw them breached the waters for about 10 minutes, and not wanting to disturb them hunting, the boat left for Hualien port again.
The best still I got of the pantropical spotted dolphins

It was a 10minute reward for a 3 hour long of searching and sun-burning, but it is all worth it. Throughout the 3 hour of search, I was praying soo hard to at least spot some dolphins so that they can play underneath my leg that was stretched out of the boat. But seeing real, wild dolphins up close and personal, not separated by the thing called TV or book, I felt soo happy and excited. The excitement was that like a child scoring 100% in her first test. It was very very very cool for someone who only saw dolphins on TV, books and zoos. I was also very impressed by Turumoan company cos they did not use sonar to spot the dolphins. The respect they have for these wild creatures was something which I really admired, and I am glad that they do not do this purely for tourism, but more of education and awareness.
Welcome to Ocean park
.soo, I want to recommend this company for anyone who want to do whale-watching in Taiwan. Here is the website..http://www.turumoan.com.tw/...it is in chinese though...
Apart from the experience, another gift I got from this trip is a very burnt skin on my face and my forearms....We had forgotten the necessary sun-protection in our excitement..but the burnt skin are going to be a very nice ice-breaker when we interact with the locals.
Our next stop is Ocean Park. It is bascially Everland shrunk down. Though most of the rides were meant for kids, there were rides that are challenging to us standing at 1.6m tall. Anyway, we took most of the rides in Ocean Park. I challenged myself at Viking ship and I sat at the second seat closest to the centre. Yes, the Viking ride was terrifying.
I sat second to the center, first daring attempt.
..My butt basically just left the seat at the highest point, and everytime I thought I may just fly off and die. It was such a relief when we got down, and of course, my legs were shaking like mad.
Most of the ride operators were very friendly. They keep telling us to go for the most challenging seats. Of course, with burnt face, wherever we went in Ocean Park, the operators will recognise us and tell us to go on the rides they operate one more time. It was the interaction that was fun. Anyway, there was a dolphin pool where one can go down and feed or interact with the dolphins for a fee. As I had a wild encounter with dolphins in the morning, paying to feed and touch those in captivity does not appeal to me much. We caught a show about mantanee (did I spell it wrongly?) They were cute.
In a volley-ball ride, just because it starts to rotate.
haha...I dont know why I used the word cute now, because all along, when I see them on TV, I thought they were too fat to be called mermaids. Anyway, the ones we saw at Ocean Park are really cute. One of them is left-handed too. Their favourite pastime? As the guide told us, swimming in circles...
We took a taxi back to our minsu, then went out again for dinner around the city area. The busiest area of Hualien is the triangle region bounded by 3 main roads. Anyway, we met the taxi uncle who drove us back from Ocean Park because we are the sun-burnt girls, everyone seem to recognise us. He pointed a wontan stall that he said was very nice. We walked and walked, and managed to get lost. Whilst we were lost, we saw that cats and dogs in Hualien can cross the roads much better than us.
A lone boat
Probably it is due to the lack of the red-and green man here. We were just used to crossing the road only when the light turns, but in Hualien, people use common sense and logic and their senses to cross the road. There was a point where we tagged behind a stranger and crossed the road only when she did. But soon, we managed to cross the road ourselves, and it was quite easy actually, with the green man. Anyway, by the time we got back to our minsu, we were fed, watered and our legs are as sore as possible. It was a very tiring day and throughout the night, both of us couldnt sleep due to the burnt skins on our arms. Anyway, we were also very excited about the rafting trip the next day. Cant wait...
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Hualien port
Hualien port
The boat that carries us on the se…
The boat that carries us on the s…
Qing Shui Cliff
Qing Shui Cliff
The best still I got of the pantro…
The best still I got of the pantr…
Welcome to Ocean park
Welcome to Ocean park
I sat second to the center, first …
I sat second to the center, first…
In a volley-ball ride, just becaus…
In a volley-ball ride, just becau…
A lone boat
A lone boat
A view of Hualien from the ocean
A view of Hualien from the ocean
Some more dolphins
Some more dolphins
Approaching Hualien port
Approaching Hualien port
Russo dolphin..
Russo dolphin..
Pacific Ocean
Pacific Ocean
View from the ferris wheel
View from the ferris wheel
Hua-lien
photo by: seahlk