The magical erosion effects of tides and winds, and the movements of land and sea have created this fascinating seashore, where a rich variety of l80 mushroom-shaped rocks presents photographers with a marvelous scene.
Yeliu is a cape in north Taiwan, projecting some l,700 meters into the sea. Standing on the Camel Rock in the southwest, you'll find the cape like a tort01se about to swim into the sea, hence the name "Yeliu Tortoise".
Yeliu means Wild Willow and the place has always had something wild about it. The peerless shapes of its rocks are a result of the caressing and lapping of waves and wind throughout the ages.
According to geologists, six million or 20 million years ago, due to the effects of orogenic movement, two faults emerged on the sides of today's Yeliu, and the original seabed was squeezed upwards above the ground. Scoured by wind, rain and wave action. the fault belt collapsed into the landmass, becoming a bay, the central Drominent section becoming what is Yeliu cape today. Along the banks, cuesta escarpment, wave-cut cliffs and sea caves also emerged. The hard inner core of fossilized life forms that had lain undisturbed for centuries below the sea now started to be exposed under the weathering of the northeast monsoon winds and the washing of tides. Once soft surface rock was eroded, they were exposed to the air. their shapes inspired the names they were given, among them beehive, bean-curd, mushroom, window and ginger formations.
The first section, at the eroded terrace entrance to the promontory, has the greatest diversity of grotesque rocks, their different geological strata eroding differently to create different shapes. Those nearest to the coastline look like ginger, the rocks along the inner side of a sea-cut trench are like windows, and those further inside 1ook just like mushrooms. From the moment a rock first rises from the ground, it undergoes three periods-no neck, thick neck, thin neck until finally, when the thin neck can no longer bear the weighty head, it snaps off, announcing the ending of the rocks life. The iconic Yeliu landmark, the Queen's Head Rock, is said to be in its old age and geologists estimate it will collapse within 20 years.
Mushroom rocks are the most numerous type at Yeliu. but the most unique has to be the Candlestick Rock, the only one in Taiwan and one of the few around the world. Standing by the shore between the terrace and the hillside, the rock suffers scouring waves all year round. When the northeast monsoon blows in autumn and winter, terrifying waves pound on the rock. For centuries, the ceaseless currents have tempered the hard rock, smoothing its surface and shaping it into a huge candlestick.
The hill to the left is the best spot for a panoramic view of Yeliu. The grotesque rocks line up as far as the cuesta in the distance. The green mountains, golden marine terrace and blue sea combine to create flesh and colorful views.
While enjoying the strange rocks, don't forget to 1ook down at the land beneath your feet. You can find fossils of ancient marine organisms, especially arthropods, since this was once the seabed. The most common are sea hedgehog fossils; dotted here and there are starfish and oyster fossils too.
On the way between the first and second areas, you come to the sea cave called Mazu Cave or Wangye Hall. It's said that two statues were once found here. Legend has it that 200 years a90, on the l 6th day of the fourth lunar month, a statue of the goddess of the sea Mazu was found by the Yeliu villagers at the cave and later was enshrined in a temple five kilometers away. Another statue belongs to Chen Yuanguan9, worshipped as "Sage Kin9" by local people for his merits in reclaiming Zhangzhou and other places in southern Fujian. His statue is now enshrined in a temple by Yeliu Port.
To pray for peace and bumper catches, the local fishermen invite Mazu to their home on the date of the finding of her statue. People say that on the morning the goddess comes to Veliu, it's always sunny and the tide is on the ebb, but that when she leaves, rain will fall and the tide will come in to submerge her cave. Local fishermen believe the rain to be the tears of the goddess who IS reluctant to leave.
Go past the Bird Rock and further toward the cuesta, you'll find yourself at the tip of the promontory, feeling extremely free and relaxed. A high point of your trip to Yeliu has been reached.
Near Yeliu Geological Park is a small fishing village that has existed since long before this place became well known. At dawn, the fishermen drive their boats out of the harbor and at dusk, they return. Some trade their catch at the harbor, but most will be sent to the tables in nearby restaurants. The small fishing boats put out to sea and return every day, busy but aloof from the renowned scenic spot a stone's throw away. The serenity here may be another aspect of Yeliu's appeal.