When Jiayin Asked me if I could write something about Freediving in the north of Taiwan, I instantly knew I will not write a classic touristic review of the best Freediving spots on our beautiful and beloved Island.
I took a few days to think about it and let my memories float back in time…not so long ago.
So let’s start this article like this :
Not so long ago, we…
…Wait before telling you that story. Taiwan is a beautiful country but the freediving scene would be nothing without the incredible Taiwanese freediving community. I would like to do a shout-out to all the amazing people who crossed our freediving path during these last 5 years. You are the ones who make Taiwan an awesome place to freedive and you all have been an inspiration to us. THANK YOU :).
Ok, so where was I? Oh Yes…Not so long ago, we…
…arrived in Taiwan, carrying with us the Apnea Total system and ready to start our freediving school there after 4 months of deep training in the Philippines. We had a name for the school, we rented some gear and we found our first students. We just missed something crucial at this point though: A dive location.
Freediving in The Dive Cube hotel
The first place we visited was the Dive cube in Taichung. It is a gorgeous 21 meters deep luxury swimming pool. We were thinking to start teaching there. It made sense for us at this time as I wanted to start learning Chinese and had found a school in the city center.
A truly amazing place
The whole facility is spotless and provides all the gears you need. It is a must-do for all freedivers. The tickets are a little pricy (around 1500ntd / 2 hours. However, you can find cheaper by buying them by batch with other freedivers) but it is worth for sure, for a fun dive with your friends or to teach if you feel to invest some of your benefits in a waveless, no current, pure viz 30-degree warm water.
We made a video of our first trip there (souvenir, souvenir), you can watch it here:
We taught one course there and one CNF workshop. That was great. But for us, freediving is about Ocean. The plans changed. I learned how to order bubble tea in Chinese and we decided to move to Taipei and find a dive spot in the North.
Freediving in the North of Taiwan: “Longdong”
So here we are, In the big, beautiful, and buzzing City of Taipei. After a few years spent in a small village on the East coast of Bali (Chinese readers you can check this article to know more about this little paradise), I was so thrilled to be back in Modern Civilization. You have to keep in mind that everything was new for me there, and with my non-existing Chinese everything was a call for an adventure, from the night markets to the discovery of all these delicious restaurants (always led by the best food critic in town: my “not yet wife” amazing partner). So when the time came to find a place for freediving in the north of Taiwan, it was just for me another adventure, another excuse to discover Taiwan.
Cold water and an old wetsuit
On a beautiful autumn morning, we put a buoy, a 20m line, and our gears into our 30-year-old Nissan car given by Jiayin’s dad and we head to Longdong. The road following the coastline to go there is breathtaking. Even more for me since at this moment in time I did not know how beautiful Taiwan was. Besides Taichung and Taipei, I had seen nothing.
Longdong is a small village on the coast, around 45 minutes by car from Taipei, and mainly famous for its rock climbing site. I am going to be honest with you, after years in Bali with unlimited depth, I was a little shocked when I realise that we will just have a max of 25m. It was letting go of my own training and dreams of depth to dedicate fully myself to teaching.
Something else shocked me: The water was freezing cold. I had a blue 3mm smooth skin wetsuit. I would say it was “ancient”, with a big hole in it just under my armpit and I will remember all my life the cold water of Longdong going in and out.
We Taught there for the whole next summer (the water was warmer) but we did not like the conditions. The visibility was not good and we did not have any mooring buoy. We decided to keep exploring and that is how we ended up in Chaojin park.
Freediving in the North of Taiwan: “Chaojing Park”
We spent the next winter in Bali to train and cross over to two new freediving education systems. When we came back we were Molchanovs and AIDA instructors and ready to push our game to the next level. We were also in need of a more convenient freediving site.
The same direction as to go to Longdong but when you quit the highway instead of turning right, yes …you guess…you head left and you reach Chaojin Park.
The Ocean is under protection there
Chaojing park is a marine protected area next to Keelung. We had everything we needed there: easy access to the water, around 25m depth, and a mooring buoy easy to find even if the visibility was sometimes bad (just align the right corner of the small temple’s roof with the roof of the Marine research center and the strange looking rock with the electrical pillar on the parking (I am sure the ones who dived there a few years ago will know what I am talking about)).
The marine research center takes great care of the underwater world there. It is beautiful. They raise fish and grow coral which makes the underwater alive and very popular among scuba divers. Just some advice: It is crowded during the weekend, better arrive early.
And, just to tease you a little more. On the road closed by you will find a little cafe called “HoHobase cafe (好好基地)” and they have the best rice pudding ever. Also from there, while enjoying those delicacies, we saw dolphins.
We taught countless courses there until the opportunity to rent a place in Xiaoliuqiu occurred. Without hesitating a second we seized it and moved to the tropical weather of this tiny and beautiful island.
To be continued…