Thursday, December 28, 2017

Hong Island Reservoir (萬宜水庫) East Dam (東壩)

A cool winter working day like today is the best time to go hiking to or from the East Dam of the High Island Reservoir (萬宜水庫, 糧船灣淡水湖).  We chose to take a taxi from San Kung Pier to get to the East Dam.  We checked out the volcanic rock formations of the Geological Park, and then walked roughly 9.5 kilometres back out to Pak Tam Chung.  From there we took a minibus back to San Kung.  

It was a cool day.  The sky was light blue, with just a bit of haze.  The temperature was around 20 degrees C, and very comfortable.  Just perfect for hiking.  

The rock formations were, of course, impressive.  Lots of lots of polygonal columns.  Some are actually hexagonal.  Millions of years ago, this whole area was said to be a gigantic volcano.  When the lava in the gigantic core cooled, they formed into vertical hexagonal columns.   

Sheer pressure even bent some of them into an "S" shape.  Extreme pressure eventually sheered some of them off, and in rushed more lava, filling in the gap between the sheered-off columns.  Such extreme pressure boggles the mind.  Yet the evidence is right there in front of your eyes.  

Erosion cut the tip of an island (破邊洲) off, exposing the columns in the cut, outside the East Dam.  But these columns are too far to see with the naked eye from the East Dam.  They have to be approached from the sea, which we did a year ago, renting a boat from Sai Kung Pier.  

Looking west from West Dam (西壩),  we could see the sun, slowing setting, illuminating the ripples on the sea, and the buffer area between the breakwater and the west dam itself.  A pretty sight.  

On the way, we also encounter dozens of cows, now a common sight all over the New Territories. 

This being a working day, even though it is December 27, right after Boxing Day, there aren’t too many people in San Kung or at the East Dam.  Yet, there were long lines at the minibus stops.  Eventually my daughter had to call a taxi using one of those taxi apps.  Again, technology came to our rescue.  I hope someone finds these experiences useful. 

At Sai Kung we got to check out some of the fantastic seafood, but did not have time to eat any.  

It was sad to see a big horseshoe crab struggling in a tank crammed with other seafood, all of whom would soon be someone's dinner.  That was the only sour note of the day. 

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