Sunday, 13 March 2016

Third Trip To Wan-Da Reservoir (萬大水庫)

On the western shoreline of Wan-Da reservoir looking south from the mid-point, with rain droplets spoiling the lens.
Yesterday I undertook my third visit to Wan-Da reservoir in Nantou under overcast skies with the temperature plunging into the cold once more. I left Ershui a little later than usual because I had to pick up my motorbike from a repair shop where I had left it on Wednesday morning; I ordered a new rear rack on which to tie up my various kit bags to save me the agony of twisted back muscles. With the weather not so good as last weekend, there were fewer cars on the roads and consequently I was able to make quicker times: Ershui to Shuili in twenty five minutes; Shuili to Yuchi in twenty minutes; Yuchi to Puli in ten minutes; Puli to Wuchieh in twenty five minutes, and Wuchieh to the hydroelectric plant at the foot of Wan-Da in thirty minutes (but that last one included a stop). There is then another drive to make north to the back end of Wan-Da reservoir at which point I lost track of the time and started working.

First shots of the day were taken from above of the hydroelectric power plant. The Nantou 83 makes a steep climb up to Wan-Da reservoir from the downstream valley and in so doing gives marvelous views out over a precipitous fall down to the switch yard...

Of the two buildings to the left, one of them must be the powerhouse housing the turbines (I suspect this is the brown-orange building). To the right is the switchyard, which appears to be separated into two parts. There is also the large green pipe running down the hill behind the brown-orange building, which delivers water taken from another tributary stream further to the east. There is also, I believe a powerhouse inside the hill from which this shot was taken - because below this very hillside, emptying out into the river, are several sluiceway openings following what must be an almost vertical descent from the reservoir. 
A variation on the same shot above. This one better reveals a new problem I hadn't previously been aware of; the river running around the back of the hydroelectric plant cascades over what looks like a series of weirs perhaps ten meters high. That almost certainly means I cannot use the riverbed to approach and photograph the downstream face of the dam. Kayakers don't call them "drowning machines" for nothing.
View south toward the dam and the adjunctive structures from an overlook to the north at about one third of the reservoir's length.
The same view in a more focused shot; the bell-curve shaped hill behind the water intakes and sluiceway gates is very distinctive. Just above the sluiceway gates to the right of the image is a viewing platform for the public, and is where the Nantou 83 bends around to the right to make the steep descent down to the valley on the other side.
300mm shot of the upstream face of the dam.
300mm shot of the water intakes and sluiceway gates, with the bell-curve hill behind them. Above and to the right of the sluiceway gates, there is the public viewing platform on a bend in the Nantou 83. Further back behind that you can also see the pipeline delivering water to a second powerhouse at the hydrolectric plant.
A couple I had waved "hello" to earlier as they parked their car in front of a pathway down to the shoreline were now making their way eastward across the reservoir on a little boat to get to a floating house. Presumably for fishing.
Looking northward over the final third of the reservoir; as the river enters from the bed to the right you can see a vast build-up of sediment and debris, even though the water level is very high. 
On provincial highway 14 to the north of Wan-Da reservoir looking directly south. The clouds were not as well defined as I would have liked, but I hope to able to take this shot again in better light.
The same shot taken with the help of the filter to try to improve it slightly. 
Whilst on the 14 overlooking the north end of the reservoir, I was joined by three dogs. I don't think they are strays because they appear to be reasonably well-fed and didn't have any obvious injuries. Two male, one female - the female being the black and white coloured one in this shot. 
The first to approach me had been this little lad; he looks very young, maybe less than a year old, and he was very expectant that I would have food to give him, which of course I did, though he seemed to have a nervous tic when eating from my hand, and his head kept bobbing up and down as if he had some kind of motor-neuron problem.
All three dogs in one shot; I was nervous about feeding them on the hard shoulder, so I led them to a safer "pull-over" spot by the side of the road and hand-fed them three packets of beef jerky each, which is pretty good.
I post this image twice because I like it, even though it is spoiled by rainwater droplets.
The main purpose of the trip had been to undertake the "scouting" around the reservoir I had wanted to do last weekend. Part of this involved taking the narrow farmer's road down to the shoreline. The water level was so high that sections of this road were flooded, and at one point I drove the motorbike into water that was maybe two feet deep, which was alarming. Unfortunately at this point it began to rain and I ended up with rainwater droplets spoiling my lens.

I climbed back onto the Nantou 83 by 3 p.m. and began the two hour journey back to Ershui, arriving as expected at about 5 p.m. With the train back to Tainan not due until shortly after 6 p.m. I had a bowl of noodles and a snickers bar to eat while I self-massaged my aching neck. An important finding from this trip was that the money I spent on the rear rack was worth every penny; I suffered only mild discomfort (from sitting in a riding posture too long) and there were no more twisted back muscles.

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