The crystal-clear Flowing Lake in Taitung Forest Park, with the layers of mountains as its backdrop, is the "world's largest swimming pool" according to Taitung residents. This summer, the lake was particularly lively, with children playing in the water and a few boats gently paddling across the water. This is also the calm water education base of the Taitung Sailing School. On the shore, the sunny boy with a smile and a head of blond hair is the founder of the Taitung Sailing School, Federico, a Spanish sailing instructor known as Fei.
As a teenager, Little Fei was a sailor in Spain. He had traveled to the United States, New Zealand, and China, and worked as a sailing instructor all over the world. He came to Taiwan by chance and was fascinated by the people and the ocean in Taitung. He decided to stay in Doulan. It has already been 7 years since he made this decision. When he first came to Taiwan, Little Fei wanted to find a job as a sailing instructor. Since sailing is so rare in Taiwan, there were very few job opportunities. However, he was deeply attracted by Taitung, where he could venture into the forest and swim in the sea just outside of his house. He settled in Doulan and slowly planned his sailing dream while running a cafe.
While running a cafe, Little Fei was thinking about sailing all the time. He had offered experiential courses in the cafe to promote sailing. However, in this age of prioritizing visualization, tourists were always impatient and unwilling to listen to the theoretical knowledge of sailing, but only want to take pictures of themselves sailing. After facing the reluctance and frustration of tourists, Little Fei discovered that what he really likes to do is “education” about sailing, the ocean, and nature.
“To operate a sailboat, you need to pay attention to balancing your body, adjusting the angle between the sail and the wind, navigating the boat to the correct direction, and also observing the wind, the current, the waves, to make sure you are not being drifted away....” According to Little Fei, sailing a boat is not an easy task. “In fact, these skills are not the most important, the key is to overcome the psychological fear! You have to face all kinds of variations confidently.”
After the children knew how to sail the boat, they slowly progressed and learned to observe many things. When will the wind turn? When will the waves get bigger? At the beginning, there is always panic and confusion. In continuous attempts and exploration, the children must overcome these problems themselves. Since they are the only one on the boat, only they can be responsible for themselves. Believe that they are capable of solving the problem. Even when the situation has changed, they can have full confidence that they can overcome these difficulties.
“Splash!” A child fell into the water from the boat, and they swam freely in the water without any fear. Perhaps this is what Little Fei meant by the confidence in taking responsibility for oneself in nature.
“Recently, people have been talking about opening nature, but I didn't understand it very well at first. The beach has always been there, embracing everyone. Why do I feel that after talking about openness, a safety net has been put up instead? When swimming with fun, someone will suddenly whistle at you and forbid it. Openness has become another kind of restriction.” With the government's policy of opening up the mountains and the sea, more and more people are willing to go into nature. But we also see some interesting phenomena. The more openness, the more control.
“It is understandable why the Taiwanese government would do this, but it is also because of this protection that many “mama’s boys” have been raised! When we are no longer mama’s boys and can take responsibility for our actions, opening up the mountains and the oceans may be a breakthrough.” Little Fei, who has been living in Taiwan for seven years, expressed his observations on Taiwan. Facing policies with very different logic against his growing environment, he can express his views more uniquely.
To become a person who can take responsibility for oneself in nature, which is slowly being put into practice in the teaching of Taitung Sailing School. He trains children to face all kinds of difficulties and challenges with confidence, and how to recognize the risks, and then how to observe, face and overcome them. Here, Taitung Sailing School teaches not only a sport, but also a lifestyle in harmony with nature.
文/吳紀昀 By chi yun wu