Ten kilometers off Taiwan’s northeast coast is a high, hilly island that can be seen from a long distance away. No matter which way you look out into the Pacific from this bit of Taiwan, the island dominates the horizon. This is Guishan Island, a piece of land whose name in English means Turtle Mountain Island, and while it measures less than three kilometers square, there is a lot about this island that attracts the attention.
In last week’s episode, we were introduced to Guishan Island with the help of Chin Pao-liang. Mr. Chin is secretary of the the Northeast and Yilan Coast National Scenic Area, which protects the island as a kind of nature preserve. We heard about the island’s geology, the turtle-like features that give the island its name, the island’s distinctive place as Taiwan’s only active volcano and its prominent undersea hot spring. We also met the island’s rich array of flora and fauna. Today, Mr. Chin returns to give us a tour of the island’s history. The island is uninhabited and largely off-limits today, but this was not always the case. We’ll also hear about the sights, manmade and natural, that ensure the quota set on tourist numbers never fails to fill up.