Home > NP QUARTERLY > March 2011
Historical Sketch
Mail to friend
The Ancient Sailing Route to Qingshui Cliff
Since ancient times, not just Guillemard but also many people were shocked by the view that sees Qingshui Cliff from the Pacific Ocean.

Guillemard's praises for Qingshui Cliff doesn't stop there. In 1888, he completed the book "The Cruise of the Marchesa to Kamschatka & New Guinea: with Notices of Formosa, Liu- Kiu, and Various Islands of the Malay Archipelago," recording his observation during the voyage. In it he compared some of the cliffs he visited in Yosemite, which he thought were dwarfed by the imposing Qingshui Cliff. He even speculated: "Surely the Portuguese must have sighted the island from the north or south. Had they made their first acquaintance with the low flat shores of the western side, the name (Formosa) would never have occurred to them. Had they seen it first from the east they could not have stopped short of a superlative." In fact, the cliff in Guillemard's sketch was much steeper than the reality, showing how amazed he was.

Guillemard landed at what is now the Heren River estuary. He headed upstream and saw the spectacular gorges and thick forests, which gave another surprise to him. Then he realized that the indigenous people might be watching his every move, so he returned to the ship and left Qingshui Cliff. I couldn't help but wonder: had Guillemard landed at Liwu River estuary and seen the Taroko Gorge, how would he have depicted this awe-inspiring marble canyon?

I've always looked at Qingshui Cliff from the land--- sometimes from Chongde, which is north of the Liwu River estuary; sometimes from Chihsingtan Beach near Hualien City. Looking north across the sea, I could see the Pacific Ocean, the cliff and the Qingshui Mountain that extends from the cliff in totality. Mostly I stand on the cliff and look down, or stand by the Suhua Highway and overlook the cliff. When looking down, I see the rugged cliff rise almost vertically from the deep sea; when looking up, I couldn’t see the end of the mountain ridge.

Looking at Qingshui Cliff from the sea presents a novel and special visual experience. The cliff ascends upright from the sea, and among the many small hills on the cliff, the highest is the 2,408-meter Qingshui Mountain, the peak of which is constantly shrouded in clouds and fogs. The busy Suhua Highway, which cuts across the cilff and offers a close view of the cliff, measures only one twentieth of Qingshui mountain in height, and appears so small.

  • upper:Since ancient times, not just Guillemard but also many people were shocked by the view that sees Qingshui Cliff from the Pacific Ocean.

[ Back ]