Great Britain. Hydrographic Office.

The China Sea directory: Comprising the coasts of China from Hong Kong to ... online

. (page 13 of 72)
Online LibraryGreat Britain. Hydrographic OfficeThe China Sea directory: Comprising the coasts of China from Hong Kong to ... → online text (page 13 of 72)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

sound with their bamboos and to take their stations properly, or else a
vessel is likely to take the ground. Vessels often ground and Ue in a
dangerous state for a tide ; and this often proceeds from two or three
pushing over together,* as there is no time to be lost after the water has
risen sufficiently for a vessel drawing 23 or 24 feet to pass over.

Vessels of large draught proceeding up the river from An anchorage
below the Second Bar in the N.E. monsoon, or with a weather tide, ^
should be under weigh by the last quarter flood, to save the tide across
the bar ; for the channel between the knolls being very narrow^ they must
back and fill through ; if of moderate draught they may weigh much
earlier. The difficulty in crossing the bar is in ascertaining correctly the
shoal patches on either side the channel, and it will be best to place the
boats on them at the first of the flood. When the Second Bar pagoda
bears W. by S. the bai- is crossed, and the bottom will be soft and loose,
unlike that on the bar^ whidi is in parts hard and stony.

After passing the Second Bar^ keep between a third and half a mile
from the eastern shore until First Bar island is approached, when the
river begins to be contracted and its navigation requires great caution.
When Whampoa pagoda is observed just on with ilie northernmost clump
or hill on Danes island, haul out more into the middle of the river to
avoid the shoal ground off the south side of First Bar island.

Digitized by VjOOQIC


A9 no Bt& iiitffk»ean be gi^en ibr leading between Fini Bar island
andito^astehimosti of the Flat islands, toward^ tbe First Bar, it will
be |»tid0nt£bra stranger, if withont a pilots to.bnoy tbe sonth-^ast eadtrems
of the spit -extending off the eastern Flat iidand, and also the Broaswick
pstolEies; The best.ronfe appears to be, when the south Ghop-hOuse on
the southern shore of the riyer bears S^S.W., to haul over to First Bar
island to aroid the spit, and ihen steer in about N.W.^N.; pabnng
along the western face of the island at about a cable. The open pile
beacon on the S.E..^id of No. 1 Flat island marks the extremity of a mud
bsmk. When Whampoa pagoda is seen clear to the northward of the Flat
isdands, steer to the no(rthem shore, which must be skirted at about half
a eabfey pasai^ through tbe narrow 4*&thoms channel noi^ward of the
Brunswick patches.

As the niH-thern patch is approached, or when the large house inland,
mentioned on page 100, bears about N. by W., be careful in pr^senring the
distance of half a cable from the shore, and when the house bears eastward
of N. bjE. the danger will be passed. Thence steer towards Whampoa
throagh Cambridge reach, borrowing towards the northern shore.
Entering English reach the southern or Danes island shore is generally
preferred to avoid the shoal flat off Junk and Watson islands, taking care
to give a berth to the cluster of rocks, covered at half-flood, near Jardine
point, the east point of entrance to French river. The anchorage off
Whampoa is in 5 to 6 fathoms, over soft mud boittom; but there is
scarcely room for two large ships to moor abreast, which occasions the
lower part of the shipping, when there are many arrival to be moored
in English reach.

POA to CAjrroir.* — ^The lower part of the city of Canton is
8 miles, and the Shamien or foreign concession 10 miles above Whampoa.
If proceeding by the Whampoa channel, as this passage is called, it is
better to take a pilot for the first time, although for gun-boats the Ad-
mindty charts are a sufficient gtdde if no radical changes in the channels of
recent occurrence have been reported. Some caution may be required in
passing the Whampoa barrier if the tide be strong, in which case it is
preibrable to hug the south bank at the mouth of Fiddler's reach. Another
part where care is required is just below Canton, where the city is first
fully opened out clear of Napier and Euper islands, for a reef extends
nearly a cable into the river from the south bank. When, therefore, the
small Suburbs pagoda on the south-east or nearest angle of the city wall
comes in line with Gough's hill, which is a little to the right of the taUi
square, conspicuous red pagoda of five stories, N.N.W. ^ W., sheer out fronft

* See Admiralty charts of Canton river, Sheets 4 and 5, Nos. 1,742 and 1,739 ; scale,
m a 3 inches. If proceeding to Canton by Blenheim passage, see IXirections on page lOS.

Digitized by VjOOQIC

104 THE OAITTOK BIVXB. [csaf. ii.

tli6 sooth bank into mid-stream. The rod^grofond^abo^tlie Dutch Folty,
as the small idand abreast the centre of the city is called, has been recentiij
baoyed and lighted, and now therefore presents no difficolly to navigation.

9«Mi voiljr » — fS d CTose to the Dutch Follj are two wooden Imoys
to marie the fiur way between some rocks. One is in 8 feet water, painted
in red and black vertical stripes, to mark the starboard side of the channel;
the other is in 4 feet, with green and black yerlical stripes, to mark the
port side entering.

lamMTB aad Baa— as. On the sunken rocks above the Dntdi Folly are
three square stone beacons from which, at mghtf Jixed lights are exhibited.
Two red lights are on Nos. 1 and 2 red beacons <m the starboard hand
entering, and one ^e^n light is on the port hand on No. 3,a green beacon.

OAWTOVtf^The city of Canton, the capital of the province of Ewang-
tung, stands on the north bank of the river, about 31 miles above Boca
Tigris, 70 miles from Macao, and 74 miles from Hong Kong. It is sur-
rounded by a strong wall 5 miles in circumference, the foundation of
which is of red feldspar rock, and the upper part brick. The wall varies
fixnn 25 to 40 feet in height, and is 20 feet thick, having an esplanade
on the inside, and is accessible on three sides of the city.

The city is divided into two unequal parts by a partition'wall6 to 8 feet
thick, running east and west, having four gates, and two water gates at
its extremities, through which boats pass east and west into and across the
new city. The north and larger division is called the old city, the western
part of which is occapied by the Tartar population ; the south division is
the new city. The suburbs are to the south and west, equal in extent to
the walled city, the bouses being built close up to the walls on these sides.
The country outside the walls is clear on the north and east. There are 12
outer gates, each defended by a two-storied guard-house which commands
the wall on either side, the principal ones having an outwork in addition.

A ditch encompasses the wall, dry round the north sides, which are
rather elevated ; nearer the river the ditch and the canals within the new
city and western suburb fill with the tide and empty at low water. In the
northern comer of the city stands the Magazine or City hill, commanding
its interior and the outside surrounding hills on the north ; immediately
below it is a large square building of red brick, called the five-storied,
pagoda, on the northern and most elevated angle of the wall. Gough fort
is outside the city, on the other side of a ravine about 500 yards north.*
east of this building, and there is a rather lower ridge outside the north-
western part of the wall which it commands. The population of the city
fbnd suburbs is estimated at about one million.

TIBB8. — ^It is high water, full and change, in the nver off Canton in
Idarch at 2h. 40m., in May and June at Ih. 40m., in September ancL

Digitized by VjOOQIC


October^ 2lh. 12m. ; the springs rise aboot 5| feet» neaps 4^ feet. During
the N.£. monsoon the tides rise 2 to 3 feet higher in the jiight than in the
d^y; bat in the S.W. monsoon the day tides are the higher.*

ne VoMlsB o»a eee s ie n is on Shamien point, above the city at the south
angle of the western suburbs and facing the Macao passage. All the
foreign consuls reside in the British concession, which lies to the west.
The French concession occupies the eastern comer. It takes the name of
Shamien from the mud fiats which existed there previous to 1859, but which
were snbsequentlj filled in and an artificial island formed, surrounded by a
massive embankment of granite on piles. Its frontage is of irregular oval
form, 2^850 feet in length, and its extreme breadth is 960 feet, and of the
enclosed area four-fifths has been appropriated to the British Government,
and one-fifth to that of France. A canal, 100 feet in breadth, separates
the concession from the suburbs. Besides the consular offices f and the
residence of the Vice-Consul, there is a church, library, reading-rooms,
&C., and there are two cemeteries within a moderate distance of the con-
cessions. The Consul, for political piurposes, resides within the city at an
official yamun.

Sbamlen Anoborasre. — Off Shamien the river is broad, forming a
commodious anchorage for large steamers, the deepest water, 18 to 22 feet
and good holding ground, being within 160 yards of the river wall of
Shamien, but sailing vessels are restricted to the anchorage of Whampoa.

BuppUeBf Trade* die. — The markets of Canton are well supplied with
provisions at moderate prices ; beef, poultry, and fish, fruit, and vegetables
at all times, to which are added in winter, mutton and game in plenty.

War and rebellion, the opening of Hankow as a shipping port for tea,'
and the facility with which smuggling can be carried on, have robbed
Canton of the preeminence it so long enjoyed in commercial prosperity ;
of late years foreign trade has declined about one-half, and the native
traders are rapidly absorbing in their own hands the dealings which before
were the means of enriching foreign houses of business. Tea and silk
are the principal exports, the imports are cotton goods, rice, opium, &c.

Climate. — Canton enjoys a much more temperate and salubrious climate
than most places situated within the tropics, and neither epidemics nor
malaria prevail there. Ip ordinary years the temperature ranges from
42** in winter to 96° in summer ; the extreme range is from 38° to 100°,.
but these are rarely reached. The seasons correspond with the period
of the monsoons, the hot season being from May to October, and the cool

* For explanation of this phenomenon, see " Admiralty Manual," Chapter on Tides.

t British snt^ects arriying at Canton are required by the Order in Council of March
1865 to register themselTes atH.M. Consulate within one month, under penalty of a fine
of 10 dollars.

Digitized by VjOOQIC

106 THE CiirrOK B^VBIB. [OHjLP;ui.

season from ml&Octobcir to the ktter part of ApriL The S.W. winds Mt>
in earlj in April, bat do not gain hrob until May, when vain becxttnes
abundant, and the thermometer rises to 86^, and even higher. June is
a dry and sultry month| whilst in July and August freqtt^it jAioW^ri ate
of almost daily occurence, which, with the strong monsoon, temper the
extreme heat, which averages 80^ to 88^. Septemb^ is again sultry, but
the nights begin to grow cool, and October, though warm, is usually not
an unpleasant month. The first steady blast of the N.E. mcMisoon, in the
early part of November, sending down the temperature to 55°,^ brings it
sensation of bitter cold to the constitutions of Europeans, relaxed by the
preceding heats ; but the weather of the ensuing months, in which constant
sunshine, a moderately cold, but agreeable temperature, and dear skJes-
prevail almost uninterruptedly, is not to be surpassed in any quarter of the
globe. Ice sometimes forms in Januaiy, and ikhe thermometer has been
re^stered at 29°. A fall of snow, 2 inches deep, occurred in February,
1835. Fogs are common in February and March. Great precaution must
as a necessity be observed, even by long residents, to avoid exposure to the
sun and chills, and this with temperance in diet, will ordinarily ensure
immunity from sudden disease. Fever and ague, and sunstroke, are
brought on by very slight exposures, and bowel complaints are the natural
consequences of imprudent indulgence in fruits, cold beveri^es, &C., and
much attention should be paid to suitable clothing. CMorodyne, Lam-
plough's saline mixture, and quinine will always be found useful in this
and similar climates.

To CAVTOV tiiroi&srii BSJorBBZH ^ASBJLOa. — The Blenheim pas-
sage* leading to Canton, which vessels of large draught must necessarily
use, was so named from the fact of H.M.S. Blenheim of 74 guns, and
drawing 23 feet, proceeding up to Brown reach in 1840, and anchoring
there. On subsequent occasions vessels of 21 feet draught, have reached
the anchorage below Hamilton creek, 3^ miles higher, and vessels drawing
17 feet have proceeded to Canton. The only two parts where difficulty
is experienced are the passage of the Barrier and Parker point bar.

From Escape creek above Second bar, a mid-channel course is pursued
until nearing the southern shores of the Flat islands. Close these, keeping
very near to island No. 3, and also the south-eastern face of Danes island,
but sheer well off as soon as French creek westward of Danes island opens
out, and steer well over towards Terrace head in Kellett reach, a hill 147
feet high, on which the ground is cultivated in terraces from base to sum-
mit. At the head of Kellett reach is Larkins point, an earth cliff 40 feet

* First discovered to be a ship channel by Richard Browne, Master of H.M.S. CaUiope
1840. These channels were sureyed in 1857.

Digitized by VjOOQIC


lugb,4aid If ealdee below it is Jtmk . lOdc, Haider #Mer, 120 jntda from
the eastern Aiofte.'' Aborre LarkiBft point fishing etakes extend half-
waj aaros& the itrer from lite south bank, but they present no obetraction
as the ekaainidMis abw akmg the ncMrthem shore for some! distance.

Bremer point, having a group of hills with clift at their base, is next
closely ronnded to avoid a shallow middle ground tailing from High island
half a mile down stream. High island, of 88 feet elevation^ lies in the
centre of the river, narrowing the northern or navigable channel to one
cable. The Comus sunken rockj 60 yards from the north bank ftiriher
narrows this channel ; it lies S.W. of the highest of the hills of Bremer
point, and 1| cables east of the north point of High island which is very
steep to. Above High island, is Brown reach which has a depth of 24 to
26 feet, and where H.M.S. Blenheim anchored. Above Galbraith hill
point on the south bank of Brown reach the river splits round the low flat
island of Changie^an. Senhouse reach, the channel south of Changshan, is
seldom used, the deepest water at its western part being only 1 1 feet. The
northern channel is Maitland passage which carries deep water as &r«9 the
eibort cut which connects it with Elliot passage on the north ; then the
depth decreases to 13 feet (20 to 21 feet at high water springs), on either
side a narrow middle ground of 10 feet. Keep along the north shore past
Changshan, above which more fishing stakes are seen southward of the
fiiirway. Above the next hilly ground on the south bank, and between it
and Hamilton creek, the river is broad and deep, and without obstruction,
and therefore affords excellent anchorage. Above this vessels drawing 18
feet cannot go.

Tbe Barrier. — ^But if proceeding to Canton the deep water must be
quitted for a narrow gnlley along the north bank, carrying 10 to 12 fee<^
which leads up to the Barrier passage. Caution is required here for the
channel* is irregular both in its conformation and depth, and the middle
ground of 7 to 9 feet which bounds it on the south is of the same
character ; this shoal, which extends from the Barrier to fully half a mile
below it, being entirely northward of the centre of the river.

^e Barrier is an artificial obstruction of stones and piling oonstmcted
to prevent the approach of large ships to Canton, during the First China
war. Becently, however, the passage through it by the northern bank
has been widened to 100 feet, and deepened to 11 feet, besides being-
rend^ed more practicable by the establishment of improved beacons and

* The deepening and videning of the Bairier passage will probably have the effect of
improring this channeL

Digitized by VjOOQIC


mmniM ataei— mMd aigbtBd — ^Two wooden beaoons, painted wkUe, and
Bonnonnted by a black disc 2 feet in diameter have been recently erected
on the n<»th side of the Barrier. A scale to show the depth of water is
affixed to each beacon, and lights will be shown at night to indicate tlie
passage. Before the improyements there existed two wooden beacons on
bases of masoniy on the north side of the passage, a few yards from the

The course for the first half mile aboye the Barriev lies along the north
bank, and there are shoals of 7 to 9 feet in the centre of the riyer, caused
by this obstruction to the current, which are probably of a shifting

v«rk«r »«iat Bar is situate at a crossmg from this branch of the riyer
into that from Canton of which EUiot passage leading to Whampoa is a
continuation. It is shoal in consequence of being out of the scour of the
tides of either branch. Its shoalest part, 8 to 9 feet, is between Parker
and 49th points. Vessels of 17 feet draught haye passed oyer after
examination and buoying of the best channel.

Maoao Vort VMsava is a reach of 8^ miles, leading straight up from
Parker point bar to the foreign concession at Canton. Macao fort, a
picturesque object on an islet in the reach, may be passed closely on the
east side, but N.N.E. of the northern extremity of the fort lies a sunken rock
exactly in mid-channel, between the fort and the shore. After passing
this keep in the centre of the river for there are rocks below water on
either side, close to the bank ; and abreast Birds' Nest fort, just below the
Honam suburb on the east bank, two other sunken rocks lie close together,
130 yards from the shore.

The ebb stream in Macao fort passage, at springs runs frx>m 3 to 4 knots
an hour.

The anchorage off Shamien'has been already described on page lOo.

Corvettes and gunboats have ascended the various arms of the river
several miles above Canton.

EOT ^ASBAOa is an intermediate branch of the river leading to
Whampoa from Canton, and is indeed the direct continuation of the Macao
fort passage. It was originally a fine, deep water channel, but the large
barrier 6 miles above Whampoa, of similar construction to those in the
other passages, has caused the bed of the river, for one mile on either side
the barrier, to silt up, and not more than 8 feet can with certainty be
carried through the barrier channel, which is close along the south bank.
At Whampoa, Elliot passage is entered from American reach. Both this
and other intersecting creeks in the vicinity may be navigated with the
aid of the- Admiralty chart, having been surveyed in 1857.

Digitized by VjOOQIC



rji of tbe CAWTOv and wssv mivBM.*— Between Macao, Sam-
shtdy and Canton, on the western side of the estnary of Canton river, is a
large tract of allnvial land, the delta of these rivers. A network of
streams and canals intersect this space, which, from the greater elevation
of the land on the Si kiang, discharge themselves into Canton river, and
thus, together with the Tung kiang or East river, which drains a largo
central portion of the Kwang-tung province, flowing into Canton river at
its eastern dde, cause the great volume of water in its estuary so dis-
proportionate to its size. The greater portion of the delta has been
reclaimed in times long past, bj embankments, and the process is being
continued at the present daj.

The principal channels traversing this delta fall into the Canton estuarj,
between Cum-sing^mun and the Second bar ; besides which some small
upper branches about Fat-shan, fall into the Canton river between Canton
and the upper part of Blenheim passage. The principal of these streams,
ti!ie Tam-chao channel, traverses the entire length from Sam-shui (at the
junction of the Si kiang with North river) in a south-east direction, with
branches to all the principal towns and districts in the delta. In the
central district of Shun-tuk nearly all the channels are connected, and
one, which passies south of the town of Tai-lung, joins them to the Si kiang
2 miles south of Kum-chuk# Besides these there is the narrow channel
used by the Nemesis (page 110), which, entering from the Broadway
5 miles above Moto fort, runs through Liau-si-wan, and joins the Wang-
mun or first channel north of Cum-sing-mun.

Between Cum-sing-mun and Lankeet are the Wang-mun, Tam-chau,
and ly-cock-tau channels. They enter the west side of the estuary
through extensive mud banks, their course running through level lands
dotted with many island-like hills. The waters are kept in their channels
by artificial embankments, without which almost the whole of the rice
fields would be flooded at high water. The rice lands are principaUy
east of Tai-lung ; west of that town the land, although having the same
features (level with island-like hills) is more elevated, being above high
water level, and cultivated with mulberry plants.

The embankments are wide, but being planted with fruit trees, with
here and there the houses of labourers, leave' but a paved path, about
6 feet wide, for foot passengers. The rivers and numerous canals are the
ordinary mode of transport, as every field is approachable by a canal.

* See Admiralty Chart of Canton river and its Western branches, No. 2,562, scale,
nis0*46 of an inch. These Directions were for the year 1859.

Digitized by VjOOQIC


The towns are abo entered by water, the ehannels being staked across ;
in some cases an entrance is left wide enough to admit a laige junk, the
opening being closed by rude gates, as at Tam-chau ; in others these
barriers consist of rows of stakes, with their heads above high water,
closely driven across the whole breadth of the river, leaving but a narrow
and circuitous channel near one bank, through which the current runs
with great strength, and often the stakes are level with low water.

The general course of the Tam-chau channel is from the north-west,
as is also that of the Ty-cock-tau channel, which falls out of the Saiwan
channel below the town of Saiwan. The Saiwan channel is entered from
Canton river, north of Whitcomb ishuid ; the course up it is more westerly,
and it joins the Tam-chau channel north*east of Tai-lung. Moneypenny
creek leads from the latter into the Fat-shan branch above Haycock

The Tai-lung, which is south of the town* of that name, runs west
from the Tam-chau channel, and by a winding course joins the Si kiang
by the Junction channeL The Wang-mun receives three branches, the
Nemesis from the south-west, and the Sailam and Eerr channels from the
north-west; the latter also joins the Si kiang through the Junction
channel. Besides these main channels are smaller channels at right
angles to them, forming connexions at different points of their course.
The principal of these have been explored, and all found to have more
than 6 feet in them at low water springs. ,

VXDBS.— In the month of February it is high water, full and change,
in Cum-sing-mun harbour at 12h. 6m«, and atLankeet island at llh. 20m.
In March it is high water in the Tai-lung channel (Kerr point) at
Ih. 30m., in the Wang-mun at llh. 50m., and in the Junction channel
at about 2h. At all these places springs rise 6^ feet, neaps 5^ feet, and
neaps range 3^ feet.

In the Saiwan, Tam-chau, Tai-lung and Junction channels the flood
sets to the westward, and the ebb to the eastward towards Canton river.
In the summer, when the day tides are the higher, it appears to be high
water nearly all day at springs in some of these channels, owing to the
day tide only falling about 2 feet.

VB1IEB8Z8 CKAinraK. — The following extracts are selected from
Sir. J. J. Grordon Bremer's dispatch, dated March 1841, to point out the
track of the H.C. steam vessel Nemesis, when forcing a passage from
Macao to Whampoa via the Broadway : —

" On the 13th the Nemesis, with boats of Samarang in tow, weighed
from Macao road, and proceeded over the flats between Patera and

* The name of Tai-limg in the local dialect is Shontuk. /

Digitized by VjOOQIC


Online LibraryGreat Britain. Hydrographic OfficeThe China Sea directory: Comprising the coasts of China from Hong Kong to ... → online text (page 13 of 72)