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Sailing around Taiwan in a self-made boat

2021/08/11 01:00

Taiwan is an island, but previous decades of martial law prevented people from getting near the sea. This meant people still had an inhibition about exploring the surrounding waters even years after martial law was lifted in 1987. Two retirees -- James Chang and Jeremy Chen -- both in their 60s, challenged this mindset. In 2018, they used a 14-feet wooden boat they had built to sail around the island in 26 days, stopping at different fishing ports to spend the night. In doing so, they became the first people to sail around Taiwan in a sailing dinghy. Chen, who had been drawn to the sea from a young age but only sailed for the first time at age 50, recently published a book called "Sailing Around Formosa in a Self-Built Dinghy," which chronicles their months-long adventure, from building the boat to setting sail. The more than 1,000-kilometer journey taught them not only how to navigate a sailboat in Taiwan's surrounding waters under sometimes rough sea conditions, it also exposed them to the impact of human activity on the marine ecology. Along the way, they discovered the importance of friendship and the meaning of life.

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