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COMPASS MAGAZINE, August 2006.


Dong Yin Island: Formosa's very northern tip

---By Lishea Zheng Translated by Sho Huang

Dong Yin, situated at the very northern end of Taiwan, provides a spectacular example of wave erosion. As the Tai Ma Ferry slowly approached Chung Zhu Harbor, we were greeted by three soldiers, standing perfectly straight on the dock, who swiftly secured ropes tossed out from the ferry. Savoring our arrival, we found the sight of the blue sea and green mountains relaxing and comforting.

It's recommended that visitors hire a scooter and head down to Dong Yong Lighthouse, at the very northern end of Dong Yin. There, the (government-designated) Grade 3 ruins and the lighthouse's white stairs resemble a scene from the Aegean Sea, as sky and sea merge with each other. In addition, the British architecture of the lighthouse, built in 1904, resembles an 18th century villa standing in the carpet of green grass by the sea.

The attractive lighthouse is 14.2 meters high and is wider than most lighthouses. A smart-looking shed, henhouse and pigpen in the back are all great elements which further the Aegean-like vista. There are also four basins, designed to catch rainwater, built underneath the shed, while channels have been built below the windows to prevent rainwater from coming into the shed--all part of the detailed, well though-out architecture. It's also interesting to take note of the canon and the foghorn, designed to guide ships through the fog.

After you leave the lighthouse, the first thing that comes into sight are Tai Bai Tieng Shan and Lei Gu Shu ("drum-shaped") rock formations. Keep going and you'll see Lie NuYi Keng ("a woman of justice and morals")--a hole more than 100 meters high caused by years of sea erosion. There are fences around, however, as it's still quite a scary sight. Yi Xian Tian ("One Thread Sky") is another nearby tourist sight which can only visited with a permit from the local information center, with a soldier guiding you through. To apply, all you need is your ID card. This geological feature consists of a gap between two cliffs with a bridge on top. An army tunnel was built into one side of the gap and standing on the bridge and looking down can be a thrilling experience.

At An Dong Tunnel, there's no sign of the typical summer heat. The 300-meter tunnel descends at a 30-degree angle like a roller coaster and there are eight exits at the end. There, it's a great spot to look at the sky and birds, have a chat or take a look at the military equipment. However, climbing back up can be quite a chore.
On the way to Xi Yin, Hai Xian Long Que ("Dragon Watchtower") and Gan En Ting ("Grateful Pavilion") on Chung Zhu Island can also be visited. Most of the Xi Yin area is under army control with only Qing Shui Ao, a U-shaped harbor, available for sightseeing. In addition to its beautiful places of solitude, Dong Yin's wave-eroded landscape is also a paradise for cliff fishing.
Thank you to the Ma Zu Scenic Resort Office for its assistance in writing this article.

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