After a series of chaotic planning, this Kenting diving tour was finally confirmed.
Did I say “confirmed"?
The agonizing car ride took about 9 hours. That’s the irritating pain associates with a trip to Kenting for those who live in Northern Taiwan. In this time of a year, the Chinese New Year, many things not less than patience challenge are sure bets. That raises the expected rewards from what Kenting has to offer.
We arrived at the lodge at about 3 am, and the warm air greeted us when the car doors opened. Not a bad beginning for people who got their toes frozen in the north. Kenting Main Street was still quiet, but the CNY crowd was about to explode in a few hours.
As the first day of this diving trip began, people filled with high expectation at the diving lodge got up early, waiting for things to happen. But one hour after another passed and nothing seemed to be alive until 10. Nothing went on as planned and everything had to be improvised, leterrally. As I waited helplessly, that was the moment I realized what had been confiemed in advance was merely people will be there, these people will be diving, and the diving will take place somewhere in the Kenting shoreline. That was about it. Finally, at 11:30 AM, our feet got wet.
The site for the first dive was Sand Island (砂島). Relatively shallow water, edgy rocks on shore, no interesing fish coudl be found at any depth beyond 5 meters, and motorboats and jet ski crafts were rumbling over head. The second dive was the Outlet (出水口); it was named so becasue it was a water area where wasted cooling water for nuclear reactor of a nuclear power plant in Kenting was dumped into the ocean. Yes, you heard that right. And there was more. Adjacent to Outlet, a recreational fish feeding area (餵魚區) was also established for both scuba divers and snorkellers. If you don’t see it, then you don’t care about it; that’s about radioactive waves as well as any cancer that smoking cigarette can get you, includiing myself. Yes, what the heck; in quite a foreseeable future, I will still light up that cancer stick, and I will still jump into that water.
Somehow diving in Taiwan main island is always connected to some government-made threats. In Long Dong Bay area, a popular place for scuba diving, there are flood outlet and another nuclear power plant nearby. Looking for the ultimate thirll? How about getting nuked.
Nontheless, Outlet is still one of my picks. Its delta shape terrain is easy to navigate, the depth is ideal for amateur divers to practice, and there are creatures down there.
Eating in restaurants in tourism area is always a simile to a walk in a minefield. In other areas, we can always decide in advance which restaurant to try by taking a peek out in front and observe the crowd sitting in the restaurant. If the place is crowded or even there is a waiting line, then the restaurant got to be good and worth a try. But in a high tourism area, every place where good foods and bad foods served is unanimously packed with starving, helpless, tired-of-looking-further, and poorly informed crowd. The chance of running into a bad taste restaurant in a recreational area charging recreational-class prices, where college part timers are the ones who hold the cooking pans back in the staff-only kitchen, is higher than turning to a news channel and seeing one more corrupted politician denying any involvement. What tourists, like myself, know? They know nothing and there’s nothing they can do.
Not this one. Not Warung Teddy’s (泰迪小吃) on Kenting Main Street.