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2017-07-07

Island of Sea Turtles – Little Liuqiu Underwater Photography

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Source: 農傳媒
Text / Photo: 蘇淮(Su Huai), Allen Lee and Marco Chang

Little Liuqiu, Pingtung County is Taiwan’s most famous island of sea turtles. It is said that more than a hundred green sea turtles live in Little Liuqiu, and they can easily be spotted on the land and in the sea!

Little Liuqiu only covers 6.8 square kilometers of land, with a 12-km coastline. From Donggang of Pingtung County, Little Liuqiu can be reached in 30 minutes by boat. As Taiwan’s only offshore coral reef island, it is not affected by northeast monsoons and therefore suitable for travel all year round. The island can be a little crowded in the summer. However, in the other three seasons, the weather is still great for doing water activities. Visitors can expect to enjoy a more relaxing vacation then.

Both local officials and the public advocate low-carbon and plastic-free tourism. Visitors are encouraged to rent electric motorcycles and refrain from using disposable plastic goods. Some eateries even give small discounts to those who bring their own utensils. Visitors are advised to produce less garbage and skip sunscreen before going into the ocean, too. You are cordially invited to help to protect the island’s nature through eco-friendly ways of travel.

Turtle-watching diving is a new popular activity here. Underwater photographers 蘇淮(Su Huai), Allen Lee and Marco Chang take us to see Little Liuqiu’s oceanic beauty and the interesting lives of green sea turtles.

Sea Turtle Airport

Sea Turtle Airport

Little Liuqiu’s ocean is like a busy “sea turtle airport.” Every day, a hundred sea turtles come and go like fighter jets that take off and make a landing.

Sea turtles are endangered ocean creatures suffering from environmental change.

And Little Liuqiu has a dense population of sea turtles. This phenomenon is not only rare in Taiwan but also throughout the world. We must cherish the turtles and protect oceans for them.(Text / Photo: 蘇淮(Su Huai))


Cuddly Dagu

Cuddly Dagu

Silly tilly Dagu loves to relax in his secret base. When he takes a rest, his eyes look hollow as if his soul has wandered away.

Dagu is a tidy turtle. He likes to rub his back on his favorite reef rock. He swings his hips and rubs his back really hard in the face of others, not shy at all. (Text / Photo: 蘇淮(Su Huai))


Lady Foodie

Lady Foodie

Most wild animals stay alert even when they search for food. But Lady Foodie keeps a high profile when she eats.

There is a great chance that you find Lady Foodie eating algae on coral reef rocks when you see her. She is engrossed in her “universe of algae,” enjoying the taste of young algae. (Text / Photo: 蘇淮(Su Huai))


Brother Scar

Brother Scar

The turtle is called "Scar" because there is a scar that stretches from his left eye to his mouth.

The scar was left from a previous wound, or that something happened. Scar looks a little fierce and not easy to get along with at first.

But after spending some time with Scar in a proper way, you shall find out that he is a friendly turtle.

Each sea turtle has different characteristics. Not all of them like to be with people like Dagu, Lady Foodie or Scar. In fact, most of the wild sea turtles are quite alert. If you have a chance to go into the ocean to observe them, be sure to respect them, keep a distance, stay quiet and be safe. Don’t get so excited that you try to chase, touch or feed them, because this called interference!(Text / Photo: 蘇淮(Su Huai))


Swimming with Green Sea Turtles

Swimming with Green Sea Turtles

There is a good chance that you find some sea turtles near Beauty Cave and Vase Rock. In just one go, you may find several. Do you know the secret to getting near sea turtles and making photos of them? It is “5s”: stop, see, slow, slow and slow.(Text / Photo: Allen Lee)


Exploring Forest of Fan-shaped Reefs

Exploring Forest of Fan-shaped Reefs

The “forest” is located just outside of Wugui Cave. Because winds and waves collide here, the waves are fiercer. It is important to choose a diving coach who knows the conditions here. In fact, this place is more suitable for intermediate and advanced divers, no matter how careful you are with ocean currents.

Slowly move ahead along reef ditches and you shall find layers of bright yellow fan-shaped reefs. What a mesmerizing scene.(Text / Photo: Allen Lee)


Colorful Nudibranchs

Colorful Nudibranchs

Shanfu Intertidal Zone is populated by many nudibranchs. To control visitor number, all visitors must register before coming to this intertidal zone.

This is “Chromodoris kuniei”, a kind of nudibranch. It seems to be wearing a skirt fluttering in the winds. Under spotlight, it easily garners attention as if rising from the dark!(Text / Photo: Allen Lee)


Sleep and Bit: Black-saddled Leatherjacket

Sleep and Bit: Black-saddled Leatherjacket

Vase Rock is a famous diving and snorkeling spot. Once you get into the water, swim towards your left. Between reef rocks and an area of sands, you may find nudibranchs, shrimps and crabs.

If you are lucky, you may even find Black-saddled Leatherjacket babies. They like to keep something in their mouths when they sleep, and hence divers especially like to take photos of them.(Text / Photo: Allen Lee)


Ocean Forest

Ocean Forest

Ocean Forest is relatively far from the coasts, and hence it attracts fewer visitors. Yet this is such an amazing space, filled with reef rocks, fan-shaped coral reefs and a variety of fish. Can this be Little Liuqiu!?

Note: A boat trip to here really takes quite some time. Be sure to bring all the diving equipment you need.(Text / Photo: Marco Chang)


Swim with Sea Turtles

Swim with Sea Turtles

Sea turtles are the stars of Little Liuqiu. According to statistics, more than a hundred sea turtles dwell in Little Liuqiu. More than 3 to 4 thousand other turtles come and go throughout a year.

To observe sea turtles at a close distance, other than the “5 s” rule (stop, see, slow, slow, slow), one more thing is important – to play “red light, green light.” When a sea turtle turns to look at you, stop right away. When it becomes less alert and keep eating algae or falls asleep, move a little closer so that it can become accustomed to your presence. (Text / Photo: Marco Chang)


A Close Look at Nudi

A Close Look at Nudi

If you have ever seen seagrapes, you shall feel surprised at how much this nudibranch looks like seagrapes. This kind of nudibranch loves hiding beside seagrapes. If you are not careful enough, you may miss this beautiful creature.(Text / Photo: Marco Chang)


Visiting the Island of Turtles

Visiting the Island of Turtles

Little Liuqiu emphasizes a lot about not disturbing sea turtles. Therefore, the turtles here are really friendly. It is easy to see some turtles even if you are just doing snorkeling.(Text / Photo: Marco Chang)


Number of Visitors:3,941 Last Update: 2018-08-21
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