Lovers Island

I thought we were on Robinson Crusoe’s island or its derivative, or that we had walked into an abandoned set for location filming of some low budget films copying Cast Away which had made Tom Hanks famous. All the furniture were made of broken wood pieces like from ship wrecks, planks, plastic containers, sawed open floating plastic balls, large food containers or basins, ropes, strings, fishnets, rocks and stones, used bottles and objects that one would typically find washed up on abandoned beaches, but all serviceable and including some rather artistic objects such as hammocks, tables and chairs, love seats, hanging flower pots, deck chairs, cooking stoves and other utilities. There were little evidence though that people had slept overnight habitually on the site, but the place could easily hold a party of 20 plus people sitting on various benches and lookouts enjoying sunrises or sunsets, possibly with wines and champagne glasses in hand. There was a plaque engraved with “Lovers Island” in Chinese, and another with “Sun and Moon Island” also in Chinese. We loved the place at first sight. Some people must have spent months and years decorating the site and must have invited friends over to share many happy times. But all these would come to pass and unlikely last, for the Authority had apparently posted many notices dated 11 April 2021 which was two days before we were there, all laminated in plastic, in English and Chinese, on all these objects which the Authority had found to be placed on the site – identified with the co-ordinate KK260848 – without authority and hence would be removed and destroyed without further notice on 25 April 2021 if they were not so removed before the date.

We were en route from Tai Tan to Hoi Ha Wan the latter being billed as having the best beaches in Sai Kung. We began shortly after 8 am driving from Mei Foo through Sha Tin to Ma On Shan before hitting Tai Mong Tsai Road and finally arriving at the car park at Pak Tam Chung Visitors Centre around 9 am. I had driven just over 30 km. Su had packed herself for a swim at some scenic beaches at Hoi Ha or elsewhere, but this time, she did not bring food or sturdy walking boots. In fact she walked the full distance in her slippers or sandal, to the amazement of hikers we walked past, one of them actually said to his hiking group within our earshot, “Did you notice that young girl was walking in slippers and wearing a swim suit?” Then another hiker whispered to his mate, “Didn’t realize we could see people with bikinis on these walks!” Su’s plan was to take the No. 94 Bus or the No. 7 Green Mini Bus from the transport exchange near the Management Centre at Pak Tam Chung just outside the check point. It being a weekday, the services were not that frequent, so that we did not get on a No. 94 Bus until 9:50 am. We got off at Tai Tan and began walking the marked trail to Hoi Ha and Wan Tsai, beginning with a cement track and walking past modern bungalows that were going up. We then walked past some dated buildings, including one constructed in 1966 but last renovated in 2016, with a notice for rent or sale. The views from these villas were stunning, but getting daily supplies could present problems. We tried to get closer to the shore, just in case we could walk down for a dip, but we could only look out to the sea between the trees and vegetation. Tai Tan Village was only sparsely occupied and we did not notice any shops and stores. The tracks were rocky and bumpy with the usual ups and downs, but the view of the sea was picture perfect. Then we came across the Lovers Island which appeared unannounced. It was just next to Tai Tan where Su had a swim. The beaches had fine and soft sand; the water was clear and shallow; and Su could see fishes. She said the place reminded her of Phuket which we used to visit for snorkeling a few years back.

We left the beaches and Lovers Island and took the climb towards the direction of Hoi Ha and Wan Tsai. It was getting hot; and we met quite a few hikers including some groups of over ten people. We sojourned on until we passed the WWF’s Hong Kong Hoi Ha Marine Life Centre, jointly financed by HSBC and The Jockey Club, which offered student and the community opportunities to appreciate Hong Kong’s valuable marine resources. We finally ended up at the Hoi Ha beaches, having done about 8 km in all. There was a store which apparently ran a monopoly for various services, but not too user friendly and not cheap. It didn’t even offer basic toilet facilities. “Go to the public toilets near the Mini Bus Stop,” was what the store owners yelled at us. We ate something, unimpressive and probably unhealthy; but Su had a dip and was impressed with the water, the fine sand and the scenery. We then began to head back, waiting for transport at the Mini Bus Stop. A long queue had developed, but we barely make the second bus, so that we were back at the parking lot just after 3 pm.

I hope to talk to you again shortly.

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