Prior to the trip I had been somewhat pessimistic about my prospects at Feitsui given that public access to the dam is restricted; I had expected that there would be only a few, partial glimpses of the reservoir available from provincial highway 9. How wrong I was! I found a wide and well maintained public access road running steeply downhill through tea farms down toward the reservoir. After some distance the road splits into four separate routes. I followed one of these but did not have time to follow the others. There were several little open-porch type houses throughout the area selling drinks and food, and there was even a tourist viewing platform at one point...
|At a tourist viewing platform on the northern shoreline of Feitsui reservoir about two thirds of the way upstream from the dam.|
Along the way, provincial highway 3 brought me past the front of Shihmen reservoir, presenting me with a direct view toward the dam and spillway I had never previously seen...
|Shihmen reservoir's six tainter gate spillway as seen from provincial highway 3 at about 5.30 a.m. this morning.|
|300mm lens shot of the six tainter gates; they seem to be about the same size as the three employed at Baihe reservoir.|
|The broader scene.|
|One half of the river surmounted by a long, low weir and stilling basin, with the other half blocked by a six gate barrage.|
|The same shot in broader view; I was standing on a steep bank with rows of tea plants both behind and in front of me.|
|A view eastward over that same bend; this was a difficult shot for me due to the clouds and the overhead light.|
|The same shot using a filter.|
|Partially obscured by trees, this was the best downstream view I could manage. However, it was getting on for mid-morning, and I was becoming time conscious. There will be plenty of time to look for alternatives on subsequent return trips.|
|I'm not yet sure what kind of bird this is, but it's not a Black Kite. It might be a Harrier of some kind.|
|As I arrived he was almost done skinning it, and when I asked what kind of snake he used a word (possibly Taiwanese) that I didn't know: it sounded like "chimu".|
|The object on the ground to the man's left is the snake's internal organs, the snake having been disembowled first.|
I drove back to Xindian and, luckily, found a perfect parking place for subsequent trips. The MRT trip from Xindian to Banqiao HSR station took about 45 minutes and cost exactly NT$45, which was an odd coincedence. Not having used the Taipei metro system for something like seven or eight years, I was surprised at how cheap it was. I slept briefly on the HSR train back to Tainan, and was relieved to no longer be relying on the comparatively old, slow and uncomfortable TRA trains. Overall, a good trip.