Friday, 17 June 2011

Tseng-Wen Reservoir (曾文水庫) Trip

OK so I wanted to go out with my dog and see Tainan County's three reservoirs on account of this little short in the Taipei Times a week ago. Of the three, Tseng-Wen Reservoir (曾文水庫) is by far the largest (it is apparently the largest in all of Taiwan). Driving out there took just over an hour from my place in Tainan City, averaging 65kph. I headed out east bearing slightly north through Yongkang, Sinhua, Shan-Shan, Zuohzhen, Yujing, and Nanhua districts into Nanxi, where Tseng-Wen is located. It's a lovely drive once you get past Shan-Shan.

The toll guard let me in for NT$45 (down from NT$70 after consulting with his female colleague - I've no idea why they thought I deserved a concession price, I wasn't even really listening to them). To be honest, the charge could have been five times that amount and I wouldn't have been too bothered - but I would think NT$45 is still cheap even for families with lots of kids. There was an Information Centre with a convex glass design, which I thought was nice though I didn't bother with it other than to take a quick snap as I was somewhat time conscious. I will go back for another visit at some point, and then I'll have a look around - maybe they have some reservoir stats, dam construction pictures and old black and whites from before the dam was built. I'll look next time.

This is a view of the Tseng-Wen reservoir (曾文水庫) dam from the approach road. The dumper trucks at the bottom of the image give a good indication of scale and the mass of rock and gravel surmounted by a perfectly even white strip cements the impression. This image was taken with the lens zoomed in slightly to avoid dwarfing the dam with the mountain to the immediate right and somewhat to the foreground of the image. The three gates to the top left of that picture, with their enormous concrete escape chutes, must be an awesome sight in action....

This image shows the gates from the rear at the top of the dam; they're about 100 ft high or so.

The resevoir itself is a fair size; whereas I thought I could have swam across the breadth (though not the length) of Nanhua in maybe 30-45 minutes, I can imagine taking quite a bit longer than that to swim across this thing (bear in mind that the distance will seem much smaller than it really is given that the lens is looking down at the water's surface from a 30-40 degree angle). Note that the vegetation line gives some indication of where the water level would rest when the reservoir is full...

... as corroborated by comparison with the water mark on the dam itself. Whilst I was pondering how to do something half-decent with the light, I spotted a buzzard over the blue of the water and then that was it - my amateur photographer's pensiveness went to shit as I started desperately changing over to the long lens and then snapping like a madman every time the bird banked and turned.

In the end I only managed the above two shots, which, though not at all "good" (as blurry as one of my saturday nights in Kaohsiung), at least allow a rudimentary identification of the bird: I'm thinking it might possibly have been a Black Kite (on account of the black win tips, and white vertical bars down the centre of the wings - compare with images here). Or perhaps it could have been a Eurasian Buzzard.

After a while, however, I got fed up with the heat and decided to head back and look for a waterfall in one of the tributaries in the surrounding mountains so I could take a little shower (I found one, but by then I couldn't be bothered with the camera, and just bundled myself [and the dog] straight into the water for a 5 minute cool off).

I'll write up my visits to Nanhua Reservoir (南化水庫) and WushanTou Reservoir (烏山頭水庫) maybe sometime this weekend or next week. After reading this action-packed tale, I'm sure you're all dying to know what happened...


  1. I like the dam photos. Looks impressively big. Would be nice to visit some time. How hard was it to find a waterfall and did it have a nice pool at the bottom?

  2. I love watching the birds of prey gliding over reservoirs.

    In other news I'm slowly subverting my most hated class in the Austrian perspective of economics.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. "How hard was it to find a waterfall and did it have a nice pool at the bottom?"

    About 10 mins up a side road. No pool. At any rate the picture you should be attending to is the one in the post immediately preceding this one.

    "...the Austrian perspective of economics."

    Toby Baxendale (owner of the UK's biggest seafood supplier) and the folks at the Cobden Centre are making admirable efforts. See also Detlev Schlichter who quit his job in London to write his book at about the same time I ploughed my way through Von Mises' "Theory Of Money & Credit".

    "The toll road price is..."

    I'm not really bothered what the price is Thoth!

  7. "not really bothered..."
    Huh??? Where's this coming from. I thought I was being helpful and informative. I'm not bothered by the price. I just think it's helpful to know these things and the reasons why.

  8. Thoth - imagine my comment spoken in the least aggressive tone possible! Maybe I should have added a smiley...

  9. Uh, if you said, "bothered about" that would imply how you feel about the price. "bothered what is..." implies that one is bored, annoyed, and really could give a rat's behind what the hell the person has to say. Words do mean things. I know you are British, so when someone says something as, um, mannered as "I'm not really bothered what the price is, so-and-so" it means a particular thing. An American or Canadian saying something like that could mean many things.
    Since you claim innocence, I will take you at your word. Sorry for the misunderstanding. I guess you must have assimilated into the non-British aspects of the expat communication much more than pretty much anybody else I've encountered has.

  10. Thoth - relax, you seem to know less about the British vernaculars than you imagine. It's just unfortunate that blog comments don't show inflexion.


Comment moderation is now in place, as of April 2012. Rules:

1) Be aware that your right to say what you want is circumscribed by my right of ownership here.

2) Make your comments relevant to the post to which they are attached.

3) Be careful what you presume: always be prepared to evince your point with logic and/or facts.

4) Do not transgress Blogger's rules regarding content, i.e. do not express hatred for other people on account of their ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation or nationality.

5) Remember that only the best are prepared to concede, and only the worst are prepared to smear.