Sunday, 10 April 2016

Changhua County To Miaoli County

I got up early on Saturday morning and, after I'd first taken all the dogs for a walk, took the first train up to Ershui with the sole purpose of shifting the motorbike from Changhua up to Miaoli, having had my schemes defeated in Nantou.

The first part of my route was new to me - the Changhua county road 137, which is a splendid series of hills and dips and swerves through small villages all the way up to Changhua city itself. I quite enjoyed it, and I remember noticing something odd: it is the only place I think I've ever seen so many "Hi Life" convenience stores; I must have passed about ten of them and they far outnumbered the 7-11s, which is unusual. 

After that it was my usual route around Taichung city and up into Miaoli county. I arrived at Liyutan reservoir at 12.25 p.m. which was faster than I expected, so I took some photos; more as an excuse to walk around and take a break while having something to pretend to do, rather than from any real desire to take pictures under that light (haze under deeply overcast skies with some diffuse sunshine - and so these photographs have been edited slightly to improve their colour). Despite it being only April, Liyutan reservoir is currently full with water flowing over the spillway...

The old man selling sugar cane juice wasn't there anymore, so I grabbed something else to drink while I had a little rest.
Pigeons are often used as euphemisms or as the butt of jokes, but I think it's fair to ask how many other bird species there are or may have been at one time that have had greater reproductive success than the pigeon?
The unique trapezoidal spillway; this configuration gives a greater surface area for water overflow than would be possible with a standard broad-crested weir open-overflow or tainter gate design.
Falling water; I don't like that thing photographers always do when photographing waterfalls (the blur effect). I can do it too, but I prefer it this way because you can see the variation in the forms of "beads" in which the water falls. It's like the interwoven fibers of a piece of rough fabric, except it's moving and it's a bit wet. 
Before leaving to get back on the motorbike and head up to Mingde reservoir and Miaoli city, I took fifteen to twenty minutes to sit and try to shoot the large fish occasionally breaking the water's surface. This is the best shot I could manage, but I'm not at all sure what fish that is. It can't be a common carp because of the shape of the dorsal fin, and it's a big fish - maybe two or three feet long, so could it be a grass carp or a predatory carp? * 
I reached the back of Mingde reservoir on the Miaoli 126 about an hour after leaving Liyutan reservoir behind on highway 3; I stopped to hang out at the front of the reservoir for a while before driving down into Miaoli city for the three hour train journey back to Tainan.
Whilst at Mingde reservoir I noticed that the management building was occupied and that there voices coming from inside. On my previous visits here, which were also on weekends, the building was always locked and empty. I walked in to find someone to ask questions to, and found a former hydroelectric plant engineer sitting on the phone. He is now working for TECO (a white goods electronics firm), but said he used to work for Taipower on various projects related to a number of hyrdroelectric power stations. We fell into conversation and he told me a few interesting things I hadn't previously known...

Some of this information was about the hydroelectric plants downstream from Wan-Da reservoir, which I didn't know but already had some inkling about, and some of it was amusing anecdotes about the difficulty of acquiring government funding for remedial engineering projects. However, there were three main things that were really new, and really interesting...

1) The tiny reservoir in Hualien called "Longxi reservoir" is actually fed by an underground pipe from the Zhuoshui river built by the Japanese as part of the original construction. The pipe begins somewhere on the river to the north and east of Wan-Da reservoir, though I haven't found it on google earth yet.

2) The basin for Mingde reservoir is entirely artificial and a result of excavation.

3) There are apparently two other very small reservoirs in Miaoli County, though I had difficulty fact-checking this by using google earth.

Update: I've found the first one he mentioned, Jiantan reservoir (劍潭水庫), which I had already found and photographed in one of my early trips to Miaoli with the bicycle.

That gives me more things to investigate in Miaoli, but also several other things to do on my eventual return to Nantou (though I'm not sure when that's going to be yet). The next few trips to Miaoli will be fairly easy so long as the weather permits as I just want to improve my photograph collection by shooting at different times of the day under different weather conditions and from different locations.

*Update: a friend of a friend suggest it might be a Big Head Carp.

No comments:

Post a Comment

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.