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The Ancient Sailing Route to Qingshui Cliff
Guillemard, a biogeographer from England, outlined Qingshui Cliff in his eyes while he was on the sea in 1882.


Text & Photo / Mao-yao Lin, an interpreter of Taroko National Park
Translator / Yonglan Huang

departed before dawn. My boat sailed northward in the dark, taking me to what F.H.N. Guillemard called“ the highest sea cliff in the world.”

Back in 1882, Marchesa, a British ship conducting scientific investigation, happened to reach the East coast of Taiwan. Among those on board was Guillemard, a biogeographer who recorded every sailing route in detail. The ship passed Hengchun Peninsula, landed at the Green Island, and eventually arrived at Liwu River estuary. Guillemard's team was there for a 7000-feet-mountain, which was described by the book China Sea Directory as the most dangerous and steepest one ever. After a night at the open sea, at dawn, the ship slowly sailed ashore in thick fog. As the sun rose from the sea and the sky turned lighter, the dark forms of the mountain gradually became clearer, and suddenly, in the midst of the warm sunshine, a huge mountain came to light. Guillemard made a sketch of the sight and wrote:" a thin long line of snow-white could hung motionless, the highest sea precipice in the known world lay unveiled before our eyes. It was superb."

The light of dawn gradually appeared on the sea, I gazed at the shore. I could see the gigantic mountain--- massive and mysterious. I also saw some lights scattered above the sea and several others moving about occasionally. As it got lighter, the mountain became more visible. The golden sunlight shone at the mountains ashore, appearing even brighter. Amid a thin long line of snow-white, the highest sea precipice lay unveiled before our eyes. It was superb! This must have been the very same breathtaking scenery that astounded and touched Guillemard over a century ago.

  • left:Guillemard, a biogeographer from England, outlined Qingshui Cliff in his eyes while he was on the sea in 1882.


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