Sea Turtle Snorkeling on Liuqiu Island

We don’t really enjoy sitting on our asses, the school already finished this week and homeworks can wait until Monday, so we formed a group of exchange students and set off to little island located southwest of Taiwan.

Ready to go!
Ready to go!

We managed to resist the temptation to turn off the alarm in the morning, got on our motor powered horses and headed to the harbor where the ferry leaves for Liuqiu. It took us about an hour to get there, we were a large group (almost 20 people!), so we haven’t arrived together. When we arrived to wharf, the Taiwanese started to talk to us in Chinese and Chinese only and although I kinda understood what to woman who were selling the tickets was telling to me I rather redirected the conversation to Sasha.

We arrived just few minutes before the ferry was leaving the port so we were in a little rush during embarking. While our ferry was leaving the harbour, we noticed the embarking wasn’t 100% successful. Sasha was missing. Rasmus was missing. Emil was missing. Jeroen was missing. Well, lets say it didn’t went very well.

We made it! At least some of us...
We made it! At least some of us…

The last information we got from the rest of our group before we were too far from the land and lost the connectivity was that the rest of our group boarded to wrong ship, we are going to see them in 6 hours and Sasha went to talk to captain of that ship.

I have no idea what she told him but when we got to Liuqiu island, got away from the harbor and started our first break on the beach, we received a message that Sasha is the hero of the day. Few minutes later the rest of our group suddenly appeared on the beach right next to us and later we found out that Sasha managed to convince the captain of their boat, which was heading to different island farther from Taiwan, to stop by at Liuqiu and let them debark.

Even Johny English could tell the difference between us and locals
Even Johny English could tell the difference between us and locals

The swimming was nice, corals and fish as well, the amount of sea urchins on the bottom of the sea was not. Also we haven’t seen any turtles, so after Jocke and Freddy stepped on some of the urchins and hurt their feet, we set off to a better place.

This time we were heading to a place where the turtles were supposed to be for sure. However, the hunger made us stop by at the restaurant to get some food first. The menu was Chinese only of course, but we were lucky this time. There was one Taiwanese guy fluent in German, so Freddy could enjoy nice talk with him in her native language and on the top of it he translated the menu for us.

One of the Taiwanese could speak German
One of the Taiwanese could speak German

This turtle sure place looked a little crowded when we got there, so we immediately knew we were on the right place. The Taiwanese are fascinated by the turtles as we are, so there were a lot of them. Also we witnessed something unusual. They were going into the water. Not only the bravest ones and not only one or two meters, but whole groups of them. Each and every one wanted to see a sea turtle swimming in the wild sea.

Here I have to say that they were good prepared for this dangerous expedition to the open sea (about 50 meters from the beach). Much better then we were. Every Taiwanese had neoprene full suit, neoprene shoes, gloves live jacket and lifesaver. The lifesavers were tied with the rope together, so no one could be taken by some dangerous current to the open sea, where it is dangerous a lot (according to Taiwanese). Also the whole group was pulled by the leader of expedition, so they don’t have to swim at all.

Taiwanese take swimming in the sea a little more serious than we do
Taiwanese take swimming in the sea a little more serious than we do

We had swimming suit, snorkel, glasses and strong determination. And well, it was enough. We got to the water, swam a little the opposite direction from the crowds of natives and suddenly found ourselves in the middle of turtles. Some of them were small, some of them really big, maybe even close to two meters. It was unexpected, great but also scary.

Snorkeling with those peaceful giants is really cool experience. The smaller ones are looking around and usually won’t allow you to get closer than few meters. The bigger, older and wiser ones were swimming right under us, beside us and they even allowed us to touch them. They probably knew who is the boss in the water and if someone is the threat here, then maybe they are for us but definitely not the other way around. Fortunately they don’t feed on people, so we got out of the water in the same amount as we got in.

On our way back, we successfully managed to board the ferry without any problems. Maybe one of the reasons was the fact that there ferries to no other places from Liuqiu than back to Taiwan. Also the ride on our motorcycles and scooters was without any issues and we ended the day with nice dinner in the local restaurant close to our campus.





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