Event Detail


Boat Field trip to Nine Pin Islands & Tung Lung Pirate Fort

Leader: Dr Rod Sewell and Smriti Safaya
Saturday, 16 Nov 2019
9.30am to 6.00pm
For registration, please send your request to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The Royal Geographical Society is delighted to welcome Dr Rod Sewell, Head of the Hong Kong Geological Survey, and Smriti Safaya to lead another boat excursion to the beautiful and inaccessible Nine Pin Islands.

The Nine Pin Islands are probably the most spectacular development of columnar hexagonal jointing in the world, and are reminiscent of the World Heritage Site of Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland, UK.

The tuffs of the islands were erupted about 140 million years ago, a time when dinosaurs roamed the world.  It is estimated that approximately 70 cubic kms of rubble were erupted during the single event which formed the tuffs.  This compares with only 2 cubic kms for the Mt. St. Helens eruption and 12 cubic kms for the Krakatau eruption of 1883, which dispersed haze all over the world.

The boat trip, through attractive scenery and then open seas to the islands, first visits the North Nine Pin Island to see the beautifully developed hexagonal columns, some of which have toppled over above a large rock slide.  The second visit is to the South Nine Pin Island to see a sea arch that has developed along a fault.   

Following the circumnavigation of the Nine Pins, the trip also includes a landing at Tung A, to view the spectacular cliff scenery, plus actually to walk on spectacular hexagonal columns. The trip then goes to Tung Lung Chau where there is an interesting hike to visit the Tung Lung Pirate Fort and view some interesting rock outcrops.  There are light refreshments for sale in Tung A and Tung Lung Chau.

Dr Rod Sewell has been a member of the Hong Kong Geological Survey for 29 years.  He read geology at the University of Canterbury, where he also wrote his PhD on an extinct volcano in New Zealand.  He then worked for the New Zealand Geological Survey studying volcanic geology and tectonics.  Since arriving in Hong Kong, Dr Sewell has been involved in geological surveying, radiometric dating of rocks, concrete assessment, tunnel geology and studies of landslide activity.

Dr Sewell has co-authored several books, papers and maps on the geology of Hong Kong, New Zealand and Antarctica.  He is Chief Training Geologist in the Geotechnical Engineering Office and is an Honorary Professor in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Hong Kong.  He currently heads the Hong Kong Geological Survey of the Hong Kong Government.  Dr Sewell is an elected Fellow of the Geological Society of London.

Smriti Safaya is a well-known expert on the islands of Hong Kong. She previously taught at Canadian International School and is presently writing her PhD.

Timings:            Meet at Ferry Pier 9, Central:                       9.30 am
                        Arrive at Ferry Pier 9, Central:                       6.00 pm (approx.)

Cost:   HK$580 for Members and $680 for Members’ guests.

Please bring:   Packed lunch, plenty of fluids, walking shoes and appropriate clothing for being on a boat.  Guests with field glass/binoculars should consider bringing them.  

To reserve places please email the RGS HK on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  You'll then receive from the RGS booking instructions, a booking form and detailed joining instruction

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