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are some photographs of Penghu islands and sightseeing areas:
Penghu Islands, also known as Pescadores (from Portuguese: "fishermen")
are an archipelago off the western coast of Taiwan in the Taiwan Strait
consisting of 90 small islands and islets covering an area of 141 square
Here is an article about windsurfing in Penhu :
Penghu is the name given to a cluster of low, rocky, relatively unattractive islands in the Strait of Taiwan, the windiest body of water in Asia. When the northeast monsoons blow, the wind gets squeezed into the Strait by the high mountain ranges of Taiwan to the east and the Chinese mainland to the west. The effect is like a wind tunnel, and the generally strong monsoon winds accelerate to become all but overpowering. Right through winter, the average daily wind speed in Penghu is around 30 knots; days of 40-50 knots are common; and "no-wind days" are virtually unheard of. By a stroke of great good fortune, the islands are grouped tightly together, enclosing a section of sea into what is virtually a saltwater lake about 6km across. The winds can howl across the low-lying land and onto this enclosed water, but the huge swells that roll down the Strait are blocked. The result is spectacular conditions for radical slalom sailing, chop hopping and mega-jumps, and flat-out speed. No matter how good you are, this place will dish up all you handle and more.
Rumours about Penghu -- once called the Pescadores Islands -- were around for some time before two Taiwanese-based expatriates, Australian Alex Mowday and Swiss Roland Heimgartner, set up a high wind boardsailing business on the main island in 1996, called it Bump 'n' Jump, and started seriously spreading the word about the awesome conditions. It was relatively easy to host visitors; Penghu is popular with Taiwanese holiday makers in summer, so there's plenty of accommodation and regular flights. The islands are steadily gaining a much-deserved reputation amongst the international boardsailing community, and this November, when Penghu hosts the first leg of the Asian Windsurfing Tour, that reputation should grow even more.
What you need
First, you need to have at least intermediate windsurfing skills -- this is no place to start learning. You should be comfortable on a short board, able to waterstart quickly and without fail, able to nail a reasonable number of your gybes, and ideally have some experience in rough, windy conditions. As regards equipment, you need short sturdy boards and small, super-tough sails. These days most boardsailors in Asia very sensibly buy the new gear that's purpose-built for light to medium conditions; but this gear will get completely trashed at Penghu, so unless you have genuine strong wind gear, you're better off avoiding the transportation hassles and simply renting from Alex and Roland at Bump 'n' Jump. Just bring a wetsuit -- mainly for wind chill, the water's quite warm -- a good book because there's not much to do at night, and your favourite bruise cream. You'll need that.
When to go & getting there
It all happens during the northeast monsoon, which really cranks from November through till March. There's a month either side of that which is okay, though not as strong or consistent as the main months. The wind quiets down during summer, and the crowds and the prices increase drastically as local people come to relax in the sun. Getting there is much easier than you'd expect. You can fly into Kaohsiung or Taipei and from there fly on to Makung, the main town in the Penghu group. There are some 40 flights a day to choose from.
Favourite mystery: The Baron
Self-proclaimed global windsurfing ambassador, the Baron Arnaud de Rosnay, an eccentric, charismatic Frenchman, was hell-bent on sailing across every major strait in the world that separated two countries. After illegally but successfully sailing from Japan to the USSR in 1986, he headed south and attempted to sail from China to Taiwan. The Chinese say they offered him a support boat, but legend has it he decided to go it alone and snuck out a day in advance of his scheduled departure. The Straits were in a particularly savage mood that day, with very strong winds, huge swells and reports of big ocean rollers actually breaking in open water. The Baron simply disappeared without even the slightest trace of his gear ever being found, which -- needless to say -- brought all the conspiracy theorists and "a Red under every bed" paranoids out in force . . .
The top sites
Guan-In-Ting: In Penghu, you inevitably base yourself in Makung, the main town. Getting around the small islands is relatively easy by car or bike -- the islands are so close together they're now all linked by bridges -- but in any case the site generally regarded to be the best in Penghu is Guan-In-Ting, the harbour in Makung. The rigging-up and launch sites are protected and comfortable, with a breakwater providing a buffer zone before you get out into the truly radical stuff. Although this is the section of relatively flat water enclosed by the islands, it's still 6km across to the other side, and that's plenty of space for the powerful winds here to whip up a fierce chop. Conditions are ideal for big jumps and loops, or you can go for flat-out speed by running with the swell. See how far you get before you lose your nerve and sheet out!
Wuni: This is the ideal place for radical speeds. Although it's tightly enclosed by land, it's still exposed to plenty of wind and has a big enough water area to allow 800m-long reaches. Since it's not as exposed as some other places, when it's blowing 55 knots at Guan-In-Ting, it'll be 25knots here. But the big advantage is the chop is only about an inch high!
Lungmen: probably the best place for wave jumping, with side-onshore winds and good launch ramps (swells of 1-2m). It works best on a high tide when the wind is 35-40 knots.
East Beach (near Lungmen): There are excellent waves on the offshore reefs -- though that means extra risk, and makes high tide the best time to sail -- and strong cross-shore winds. There's plenty of opportunity for good jumping and wave riding, but it can get very rough if the swells pick up.
With daily average wind speeds of 40-50 knots, Penghu's windsurfing
is not for a beginner or the faint-of-heart. Be certain to bring super-tough
sails and your wetsuit - the water is warm but the winds that make the
boardsailing so great will make for chilly conditions when you're sailing.
from Action Asia Magazine.
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