Turtle Island, off the coast of Yilan, not only provides for spectacular dolphin watching but also has a rich history which its former inhabitants have been fighting to preserve
Date: Sep 30, 2015
By: Han Cheung / Staff Reporter
After more than 15 years of being barred by the government from visiting his ancestral
home, Chien Ying-chun (簡英俊) can still remember the moment when he set foot on Turtle Island (龜山島) again.
Speaking in a thick Hoklo (also known as Taiwanese) accent, Chien said, “When we arrived, we took our time looking at every stone, every object, remembering our feelings toward the land.”
We weren’t on Turtle Island, however. When the entire population was evacuated in the 1970s, most of them were resettled in a cluster of residences now known as Gueishan Borough (龜山里) near Dasi (大溪) on the Yilan coast. Chien met us at the Turtle Island Museum in the community center and we talked amid artifacts, displays and memories of his past, including a 72-sided kite and a detailed model of the 2.8km2 island — head, shell, tail and all.
DREAMING OF TURTLE ISLAND
Fascinated by cartography as a teenager living in Taipei, I would carefully study maps of Taiwan and take note of the various offshore islands. Turtle Island was seemingly the most accessible, its distinct shape clearly visible from the highway on one of our many drives down Taiwan’s east coast. It’s also one of the few active volcanoes in the country. [FULL STORY]