The Strange Shore of
Hoping Island in Keelung Harbor

On a beautiful March afternoon I trekked out to Hoping Island in Keelung Harbor to visit the strange rocks that dot the coastline of the island where my wife was born, in the company of one of my closest friends, Jeff Miller. Later that same year, on a stormy July afternoon, my parents and my family and Jeff spent a few moments out there before the rain drove us back to our cars. Here are pictures from both visits.

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The train ticket from Taipei Station to Keelung Station on the slow train.

The slow train. Come early to get seat. It's about forty minutes from Taipei to Keelung.

One reason I like traveling by train is that one sees the grimy backs of things, instead of their well-kept facades.

The train arrives.

One you cross the bridge to the island, there is a string of seafood restaurants lining the small fishing harbor there.

A restaurant displays its wares.

We followed the road to the shore....

The local land is owned largely by aborigines. Here they set up for a party.

As Jeff pointed out, with the restaurants, fishing harbor, and protected seashore right nearby, this here is prime real estate. In America. In Taiwan, it is too far from the nearest 7-11.

This girl fell over trying to greet us.

The park guide signals how much money is spent on upkeep.

A seaweed collector returns home from a hard day at work.

Jeff and I down by the beach.

Beach and walkway.

Fisherman with Keelung Island in the background. Keelung Harbor is a volcanic caldera, and Keelung Island is part of its wall.

A woman collects seaweed. Perfectly edible. Many locals also use it for fishbait.

Looking back at where we entered the beach.


Concrete walkways have been constructed to keep feet dry.

You almost don't notice the blockhouse, so strange is the landscape.

Sea cockroaches swarm over a rock.

Defensive works old and new face each other. In the hole on the left/center, Dutch troops hid out in the early 1660s, while a blockhouse on the right reminds the viewer of the modern threat to Taiwan's freedom and democracy.

Jeff's beautiful and omnicompetent wife, Maria.


Jeff's daughter, Tara.

"Dammit, Lily, next time don't wear your contact lenses when you go swimming!"

The storm filled the tiny harbor with debris.

Cleaning up after a storm.

The sign announces the Cave of Foreign Words. It says that the site was designated a historical site in 2003, but it was finished in 1684.

This cave was the hideout of the last remnant of the Dutch.

If you look under the "KB" you can see "1667" -- carved that year, the last the cave was occupied by the Dutch.

Jeff and my son in July of 2006.

Fossil corals.

Because what tourist spot in Taiwan is complete without a sausage seller?

My father with Jeff.

Houses on the slope overlooking the small harbor.

Jeff and I strolled around to get a view of the harbor as dusk arrived.

Barbecue pits.

Fishing boats cluster off of Keeling Island. The current hits the island, parts around it, then recombines here. This is the best fishing spot, apparently, for the fish are all slammed together.

A friend warned me that I had erred in this description:

I noticed your comment on the best fishing spot off Keelung Island.  The reason this may be one of the best spots to fish is because it is a "converging flow" of water.  The fish don't get slammed together, they prefer this section of water.
As you stated the ocean current is split by the island and "slams together" in this spot.  Whenever flowing water "comes together," to fishermen, it is called a "converging flow." One is more likely to find fish "holding" there since the churnign water contains a higher level of oxygen than water outside of "converging flows."  Whether it is a rock, sand bar, or island that the water flows around, when it converges there is more oxygen and therefore more fish.  Just an FYI.

On the way back we passed the aborigines dancing up a storm.

Another fishing boat puts out.

We ended the day at Angel's Kitchen outside of Badu, for its price one of the best restaurants on the island. There the three course meal (NT$290) is served on homemade ceramics, prepared and presented perfectly.

Jeff sent this beautiful picture of me hard at work

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