"There is something magical about this place that makes me feel like it's hiding something every time. It makes me want to come back again even to the point of not wanting to leave.”
The place I would like to introduce today is Hok Tsui or Cape D'Aguilar. It is a peninsula to the south of Shek O in Hong Kong. A coastal reserve inhabited by valuable organisms. Water and coastal recreational activities, such as swimming, boating, fishing or gathering wildlife are not allowed in the area except for permitted scientific research. Some sections are private areas and belong to The Swire Institute of Marine Science of the University of Hong Kong and a radio transmitting station. The public is not allowed to enter the area. What’s so special about this place? Why take all the trouble to come here?
To get to Hok Tsui, just take bus no. 9 at Shau Kei Wan and get off at the roundabout at Hok Tsui. It is a Grade 1 hiking trail on a concrete road, with a view of Tai Tam Bay from the trees on the right and views of the Stanley Peninsula, Stanley Prison, the Peak and the satellite station on the other side. It takes 5 hours to complete the 8.5km route not including filming and is physically demanding.
On my first visit to Hok Tsui, I went straight to see the wave eroded Lui Yin Cave, as most people usually do. The cave, which rumbles loudly from time to time, is exhilarating and is lined with stone towers stacked on top of each other. Some say this place is for making a blessing or a wish, others say it is a remembrance of the dead. If it is the former, I wish for the marine garbage in front of me to disappear! Apart from Lui Yin Cave, there are many other natural wonders in Hok Tsui including the 'Crab Cave'. When viewed from the top, you see the shape of a giant crab claw. I remember the first time I stood on an exposed rock to watch the sunset with a 360-degree view of the coast. I thought I was far away at the end of the earth. The solid, regular rocks beneath your feet were formed after a volcanic eruption 100 million years ago during the Jurassic period. Each one is different, from volcanic rock, granite, pink rhyolite and black basalt, with rocks symbolising different eras. Geology enthusiasts often say that rocks are a history book, sometimes counting the layers of rocks to see how many times a volcano has erupted.
The first time I went to Hok Tsui I only saw the natural wonders. I forgot about the people and the ravages of war. I came back less than two months later, but this time with camping gear because I decided to stay overnight. With a full 24 hours ahead, I hope to capture all the sights.
Walk along the concrete road until you reach Nga Choy Hang Village post box, there is an entrance on the right and you will see a fort. In the late 1930s, the British Army decided to strengthen the defences of Hong Kong Island in response to the threat of invasion and built three temporary forts on the southern shore of Hong Kong Island, one of which is Hok Tsui Fort. This coastal battery was completed in 1939 and included a 4-inch coastal defence gun, a command tower, searchlights, ammunition magazines, lookouts and a fort, as well as the Bokhara Fort at the top. Although it is now in ruins, the two-storey structure is still intact. I couldn't help but gasp as I stepped over the piles of stones and climbed up to the observation deck. It's hard to imagine the war and the pandemonium with the blue sea in view. But In 1941, the Japanese invaded Hong Kong in the Pacific War attacking by land from north to south. Coastal forts did not do much then.
On the night of 8 December, the Japanese were advancing towards the western part of Hong Kong. The following day, the British commander decided to close the defences and concentrate on Stanley Peninsula. Upon receiving the order to retreat, the garrison at Hok Tsui Fort destroyed the facilities to prevent it from being used by the Japanese. After the liberation of Hong Kong in 1945, the fort was abandoned until 2009 when it was classified as a Grade II listed building. Is it a pity to think that Hok Tsui Fort was abandoned? A building can be blown up without a second thought because of a strategic decision, but a war that kills lives is an unforgivable outcome.
After seeing the fort, having tasted the last bowl of tofu pudding and seen the century-old watchtower, it's time to head to Crab Cave to take pictures of the sunset. Note that the sun rises and falls at different times of the year. Only in winter is the sunset in front of you, and as the name suggests, Hok Tsui has a long enough beak to let the salted egg yolk sun land on the horizon and then disappear. The long night begins. But since tents are forbidden in Hok Tsui, I had to spend the night on the concrete floor, cuddled up in a sleeping bag. My dad used to say I've gotten bolder since I became a YouTuber, but I'm just not too concerned about the consequences. If I’d expected to see wild dogs wandering around at midnight, sleeping with insects and a cold wind, I wouldn't have the nerve to come. The online starry sky photo I expected to see was shattered by the full moon at sunset. It didn't matter, there's still sunrise, that's what I told myself. I’ll try to stay awake until after 4am.
I went back to the concrete road in the dark, and on the left side of the diversion road to the lighthouse, there is a staircase up to the power station, and when you go up there, you will come to the Bokhara Fort on the left side where can see the white lighthouse in the distance. If the sun rises slowly, it is as beautiful as those you see in Europe. At that time, I waited optimistically. But there were only white clouds. Just as I was wandering around in dismay, a salted egg yolk sun peeked through the clouds and lasted only a minute or so, but I was satisfied. Life is like this. The greater the expectation, the greater the disappointment. Let it go. Then, even if you only get a little, it will become a gain. In fact, it's all about attitude. Learning to be grateful is the best way to love yourself.
On my first visit to Hok Tsui, I was unable to see the lighthouse as it was under renovation. The English name of the lighthouse is "Cape D'Aguilar Lighthouse", in honour of Major General D'Aguilar, the first Lieutenant Governor of Hong Kong and Commander-in-Chief of the British Army in Hong Kong. Unfortunately, after the Wag Lan Lighthouse opened in 1893, the Cape D'Aguilar Lighthouse ceased operation in 1896, and the light did not come on again until 1975, when the lighthouse was operated automatically. The lighthouse is a 9.7-metre-high cylindrical building made from granite. The base and arched entrance are made of roughly cut stone blocks, and the iron gate above the entrance is decorated with geometric patterns. Now a declared monument, it is a pity that it is not possible to enter the building to see it, but you can still take pictures outside.
Remember what I said about the magic of Hok Tsui? I went back twice a while ago because of the sunrise and starry sky, and I finally managed to capture it. The sun was greeted by the morning mist revealing its red face, and the sea was coloured yellow by the golden light. The sunrise helped to recharge my energy. Even though I don't know what would happen in the future, I was at least hopeful at that moment, thanks to the light. I don't know if it's greed, but I still wanted to photograph its shooting stars and burning sky. Here, I laughed out loud. In this high-rise city of Hong Kong, here is a place where I can see the sunrise, sunset and starry sky. Is it because I am trying to escape from reality to give me an excuse to explore this beautiful area again?