The Drifting Land
Taiwan is a place filled with stories. On the land, over the sea, you must get on your feet, listen attentively, experience and feel for yourself if you are serious about getting to know the life and the people on this island.
Natural Shelter Creates the Best Environment for Oyster Farming
The Caisancho Island is the largest sandbank along the coastlines of Taiwan. The Wengangdui Lighthouse was built in 1914 to keep the ships away from unseen dangers. However, due to pushing forces of the waves, longshore currents and northeasterly
monsoon, the island is drifting an average of 60 to 70 meters southwesterly each year. The lighthouse has collapsed several times due to the drifting and sea erosion and has been restored seven times, the champion of survival among all lighthouses in Taiwan. Although this piece of a�?drifting landa�? has not had a smooth-sailing life, the sand bank, joint hand-in- hand with the Dongshi Lagoon, form a larger area of shallow and peaceful inner sea that provides a shelter for abundant marine resources and a perfect environment for oyster farming.
This large a�?ranch on the seaa�? brought the fishermen of Dongshi hopes and opportunities. Wu Lin-Shan, who was a police in Taipei, saw an opportunity to bring more people to know the wonders of his hometown and a window to advocate protection of the marine ecology, including the delta of Puzi Creek. In 2000, he returned to Dongshi and launched the first recreational fishing boat in the area. Over the past 14 years, he planned and operated in-depth tours to the estuary of Puzi Creek, Aogu Wetland and Caisancho Island, creating a story of marine culture at the southwest coast of Taiwan.
The boat sails three times a day. It is a very popular tour. The pier is packed with people even on weekdays. Most of them have reservations, so be sure to book in advance. If you come on the spur of the moment, you will need some luck. Well, the boat sails three times a day, so you might have a change.
Dean of Oceanography at National Sun Yat-sen University, Professor Chen Yang-Yi, said that the Caisancho Island has been through the child and adult stages since 1904; it is now in the aging stage. There is no new source of sand and the seawater has been washing the sand dunes to the lagoons. The island is drifting southwesterly in an increasing speed and the dimension is shrinking, while waves and tides cut the sandbank into several pieces. Mr. Tsai Fu-Yu, a former lighthouse watcher, said that the Caisancho Island once had over one thousand residents. At its high time, there was a grocery store and a pharmacy. Now, there is only a bamboo shed purposely left on the sandbank that disappears once a while. It is now once again a a�?pit stopa�? for the oyster farmers working offshore.