Saturday's reservoir trip was taken more out of speculative hope than of necessity, although there was something necessary about it. My main priority was just to shift the motorbike to a better and more secure parking spot* as last weekend I had rushed to find somewhere close to the train station. The speculative hope was that, once up there in Hsinchu I might be able to get some good dawn photographs overlooking Shihmen reservoir from up on the mountain to the west. I have been up that mountain several times in the past, and although the last trip yielded a set of photographs with which I was reasonably pleased but not exactly overwhelmed by, I have nonetheless usually been disappointed. This time was a bit better...
|Focus on the mountain ridge rising up from the dam crest.|
|Panorama shot taken from the rotary tower beside the approach road.|
|This is the point where the additional sluiceway tunnel doors are located beneath the waterline. Note the staircase on the right.|
|Looking back westward toward the dock on the east side of the spillway. The rotary tower from which I took the earlier panorama shot is the white building off to the extreme right of the image.|
|Two dredging vessels parked at the reservoir's western extremity. Theirs is a sisyphean task; the only hope of completing this task is to empty the reservoir entirely and spend a year or two scooping out the silt at the bottom into dumper trucks.|
|The Yihsin power plant sitting in the valley just downstream from the large Yihsin weir .|
|A look through the 300mm lens.|
I drove around to the upstream side of the dam to take a few more shots...
|The upstream side of the Ronghua dam in context; note the elevator attached to the southern mountainside.|
|Close up on the intake tower for the diversion which, eventually, feeds the Yihsin hydroelectric plant downstream.|
|The upstream crest of the Ronghua dam.|
|Another context shot, but closer up than the last one.|
|Proof I was here - again.|
|As well as the water, there is an awful lot of silt packed up behind that dam though perhaps not as much as people suspect due to the periodic dredging operations that are carried out to maintain the dam.|
|Close-up shot with the torrent of white water pouring out of gate number nine just visible.|
|The inflection point vessel overflowing with water.|
|There wasn't time to revisit the weir and power plant at Yihsin.|
Eventually, I got back into Hsinchu city proper at bang-on 12 p.m. and, after driving around for a few minutes, I found a good spot to park in and then I went for a walk. I got a beer from a Hi-Life convenience store and went to sit down in a park which had a little stream running through it...
|A terrapin (I think), sitting on the stones of the little weir, doing nothing much.|
|Fish teeming in the stream.|
|Another one about to break the surface.|
|Swimming at an angle to break the surface with his dorsal fin.|
|Sitting beneath the surface eyeing me up in case I had food (I didn't).|
|A little bit of drama as a water rat pushes in front of a wading bird to help himself to a pile of rice somebody left there for the birds. What would happen next?|
|The furry little fella rushed past the bird without paying it any mind, and the bird didn't react...|
|...except to turn her head slightly to keep an eye on him as he scarpered.|
|I had thought there might have been a little fight; thankfully not.|
|The ducks were slightly alarmed as the rat dashed back to the riprap dressing...|
|...and climbed up to escape into the undergrowth surmounting the riprap.|
|Calm and unrushed, the wading bird approach the pile of rice to take her turn.|
Considering the main purpose of the trip was simply to move the motorbike to a more secure parking spot, I don't think it went too badly. The next trip will either focus on one or two of the five reservoirs within the vicinity of Hsinchu, or it will finally be the drive to shift the motorbike up to Taipei city. Either way, that move to Taipei is coming sooner or later...
*It wasn't parked on a red line, so it wasn't in an obviously illegal spot, but I wasn't entirely sure about the legality of parking beneath the roof of a building I neither live in nor work at. In the end I found a perfectly legal and clearly marked spot to park in for free, though it was somewhat further away from the train station.