hardly warrant the risk and detention on such a dangerous coast.
The Samarang upon first nearing the south-west point of Tai-pin san
on her voyage from port Haddington, tacked twice, rather close to two
off-lying patches, and soundings having been obtained in 15 fathoms, a
boat was sent ahead. Upon a given signal, for '^ danger discovered," the
anchor was let go, and the ship found to be in a secure berth in 12 &thoms,
the boat being on the reefs. This turned out to be the only anchorage at
Tai-pin san ; it is merely an indentation formed by the reefs connecting
the western island Ashumah with Tai-piA san, and is very unsafe, a heavy
sea tumbling in with a southerly wind. The observatory at the south-west
angle of Tai-pin san (at the most convenient landing-place within the reefs,
and the last rocky point towards the long sandy bay) is in lat. 24° 43' 35" N.,
long. 125° 17' 49'' E.
TXZiiA is&AWB, (Doubtful), placed on the charts, as 3 miles in extent
with an islet off its north-east side, and in lat. 24° 26' N., long. 125° 26',
which position is 20 miles south of the eastern point of Tai-pin san was
searched for by Sir Edward Belcher in 1844, but not seen, and by him
elseif (getClientWidth() > 430)
suspected not to exist ; nor was it seen by the U. S. expedition under
Commodore Perry in 1 856. It may be remarked that Ykima is the name
of one of the small islands of the Tai-pin san group.
tamMtynomBm* — Great caution is requisite in approaching the Meiaco
sima group from the north-east, east, or south, particularly with fresh
breezes, and in the absence of the sun, by the aid of which the coral reefs
below water can be detected. They are here, from their greenish hue,
being covered by seaweed, less distinct than at other places, and therefore,
where they are not marked on the chart, it must not be presumed that the
space is free from danger ; for the lead will not afford timely warning.
Approaching the group from the south-west, the island of Ku-kien san
from its great height will be first distinguished, p ^rr TYtlTi C T1 vmffl j Vbac ked
summit closely clad with trees ; knolls occur, elevated 2,000 feet a'|ove
the sea, but as they seldom present the same appearance, owing to those
nearer the coast eclipsing them, their accurate measurement could not l>e
• Capt. E. Belcher, H.M.S. Samarang, December 1844, from whose surveys and
descriptions the above has been compiled.
Digitized by VjOOQIC
CHAP, v.] MEIACO SIMA GROUP. 267
obtained ; Adam peak^ which may be noticed on a promontory on the
south-eastern outline, was determined to be 1,200 feet. As the island is
neared, the high rocky basaltic island of Chung-chi will show out when
the western limit of Ku-kien san bears northward of N.E. by N., and
working for this islet no danger can be feared, and should night befal, all
the space on the north-west of Ku-kien san up to the island of Kumi is safe.
The Samarang entered the group from the westward, passing southward
of Chung-chi and within 2 miles of the southern reefs or breakers off
Hasyokan or Sandy island, and standing on close hauled to the eastward,
intending to make Ykima, and beat up from it to Tai-pin san. On the
morning following, not seeing Ykima (supposed not to exist), and the
weather being very boisterous, she stood back to the westward to get
under the lee of Pa-chung san, and endeavour to reach some place of shelter.
On nearing Pa-chung san she ran down its eastern and southern side,
reaching the south-western extremity of its reef about 4 p.m.
Here was a barrier of breakers as far as the eye could reach from the
mast-head, and apparently connecting Sandy island with the group of larger
islands. An opening, however, was found into the reef on the south coast
of Pa-chung, and after due examination the vessel was shot up into 13
fathoms, into Broughton bay, and warped into a snug position, where she
was moored with just sufficient room to swing, the depths up to the coral
ledges varying from 13 to 7 fathoms. Had the weather been thick, or had
night set in before the reefs were sighted, it is highly probable that the
ship would have been endangered, as it was subsequently found they were
a complete labyrinth similar to the Bermudas. f
Vessels* should not venture near these islands after .dark until the
dangers have been more closely examined. From the western limit of
Chung-chi island to the eastern range of the breakers of Tai-pin san, the
space is dangerous. Independent of the many reefs which connect the islands,
the constant strong winds, with haze and rain during the N.E. monsoon,
render the approach at that season, unless in a clear day, very hazardous.
Of the dangers on the northern side of the group, all that is known has
been said, and no off-lying shoals appear to exist westward of Pa-chung
san. But it is not considered prudent that any vessel should run the risk
of being hampered by these islands and shoals, and therefore, when beating
up to the northward, should not come farther eastward than to sight
Chung-chi island. The currents as these islands are approached press
more southerly and easterly than on the coast of Formosa, and stronger
breezes are met as a vessel advances eastward ; indeed it blows incessantly
at this western group.
Digitized by VjOOQIC
BAST COAST OP CHINA— WHITE DOG ISLANDS TO
INCLUDING FU-CHOW AND THE MVEB MIN, NAMQUAN HAKBOUB,
WANCHU AND SANMUN BAYS, AND NIMROD SOUND.
Variatiow, l^^O' W. to 2® (K W. in 1874.
mXM.* — The entrance of this river, SJ miles N.W. ^W.
from the anchorage at the White Dogs (page 196), is formed between
Randbanks, which extend 7 miles from the land, that partly dry at low
water. The northern range of banks terminates to the eastward at
Outer Min reef, a detached rocky patch, two peaked heads of which show
at the last quarter ebb. Woufou island, 6 miles long east and west, and
4 miles broad, is situated within the entrance, and near its north-east
point is the little island of Hokeang, with its two contiguous islets called
The city of Fu-chau stands on the left bank of the river 34 miles
within tlie entrance, and during the survey of 1841 the navigation of the
river, 4 miles below the city, was obstructed by piles of stones and stakes
which had occasioned great detriment by preventing the flow of the tide,
and causing the sandbanks to accumulate and shift ; and as it is one of
those livers where changes may be looked for each season, a stranger
had better obtain a pilot. The river pilots are very skilful, and can be
entirely depended on. The usual anchorage is off the south point of
Losing island 9 miles below the city. Vessel of 12 feet draught can go up
PZikOTB. — A staff of European pilots conducts the navigation of foreign
vessels enteiing or leaving the river Min, but notwithstanding the skill of
many of these individuals, wrecks are of not unfrequent occurrence among
the shifting sandbanks and intricate channels of the river. A pilot-board,
* See Admiralty Chart of the river Min, with Views, No. 2,400, scale, m = 1-2
inches. The river was re-surveyed in June 1354 by John Richards, Master, R.N., com-
manding H.M. surveying vessel SarcKen, The description of the river is from the direc-
tions of Collinson and Richards, Commander E. Brooker, R.N., Nav. Lieut. C. H. Stuart
Douglas. B.N., and others.
Digitized by VjOOQIC
CHAP. VI. J
ENTERING THE EIVEB MIN. 269
consisting of some of the foreign consuls, held until 1867 some jurisdic-
tion over the association of pilots, but the difficulty of enforcing its regu-
lations owing to the conflict of nationalities, has led to a cessation of the
arrangement. The charge for pilotage from the White Dogs to Sharp
Peak island is three dollars per foot of draught, and half that sum thence
to Pagoda anchorage. Pilots boats are always cruizing in the vicinity of
the White Dogs and Matsou, or between Tongsha and the entrance ; they
are of Chinese rig, and carry a flag, white and red horizontal.
Ta those well acquainted with the port it is easy of access with proper
care and attention, but in face of the frequent changes of the entrance, it
would be imprudent in others to risk taking their ships in without a pilot.
There are unlicensed Chinese pilots at the White Dogs, but these are not
to be trusted, notwithstanding their numerous testimonials.
TZBBS. — ^It is high water, full and change, at the White Dog islands
at 9h. Om., springs rise 18 feet ; at Temple point, river Min, at lOh. 45m.,
springs rise 19 feet, neaps 14^ feet ; and at Losing island it is high water
It is high water at the White Dogs about two hours before the tide
has done flowing at the Bees rock.
The flrst of the flood on the Mln bar sets in from the N.E., and
running with great strength through numerous small channels, and over
the north banks inside Bees rock, sets across the entrance of the river,
passing Sharp peak direct for Bound island, gradually changing its
direction for Hokeang island, as the tide rises. The flrst of the ebb comes
-from the direction of Bound island, and sets across the Sharp peak entrance
over the north banks ; as the tide falls, the stream takes the regular channel.
Outside Bees rock the ebb runs strong to the eastward till nearly
low water, when it changes its direction to S.E. The flood, now coming
from the N.E. turns the stream ofl* to the southward ; and near the Outer
knoll it runs strong to the S.S.W. for 3 hours, changing its direction to
the westward as the tide rises. After half-flood, the stream sets towards
Bound island, and abates considerably in strength.
At Temple point, on the south side of Woga island, the ebb runs down
for nearly 2 hours after it is low water by the shore, and the flood-stream
runs for about 1^ hours after high water.
j>iMMOTiovBm* — Considerable alteration had taken place previous to
1868, when the entrance was again surveyed by Commander E. Brooker
of H.M. surveying vessel Sylvia. The banks between North breakers and
Bees rock had shoaled to 9 feet and thus closed the principal or South
channel, whilst the North channel, heretofore irregular and uncertain,
♦The Chinese authorities have recently buoyed the entrance of the river Min; a
description of this will be found on page 586.
Digitized by VjOOQIC
270 WHITE DOG ISLA19DS TO NIMEOD SOUND. [chap.vi.
opened oat with a clear, direct, and accessible passage having 15 feet on
its outer bar at low water springs.
With a 16-feet rise of tide the best time for entering the Min is from
half-flood to half-ebb. The north sands of the entrance begin to cover at
a quarter flood. At low water springs thej dry about 3 feet ; at neaps
ihej do not show. In fine weather the North and South breakers appear
from half*ebb to half-flood, and the Outer knoll, which has only 10 feet
on itj^ seldom until after the last quarter; but in bad weather a line of
breakers extends from the Outer knoll across the north bank, and a
continuous line from the South breakers to Black head.
Onter ma B^ef is a dangerous reef lying off the centre of the entrance
to the Min, midway between the North and South channels. It is nearly
half a mile in extent, and only shows at low water. In dear weather
it may be passed outside at a mile by keeping the summit of Tong-sha
S.E. byS. till Bees rock is open southward of Wou-fou island. From
this position the entrance of the North channel is W.N.W. 4 miles.
Sees Soek is a small black rock which never entirely covers. It is
marked by a beacon built of granite, which is ^ used as a range for the
middle channel and as a general landmark." *
momth oiuuiBei is now disused by large ships. The leading mark in.
Bees rock in line with the north extreme of Hokiang, N.W, by W.;iW.,
is the direct course from Breakwater rock off the west point of Tong-sha,
and may be kept on till Black head is S.W. or Sand peak S.W. by W. J W.,
when haul up N.N.W., making due allowance for tide on this course, into
vortb Cluuuiel.— The small Bound island in line with the first gap
left of the Serrated peak, WJS.W., leads over the Outer bar and up the
channel, until Kushan peak is in the middle of the saddle of Square peak
bearing W. | S. With these latter marks, run in until the highest part
(white patch) of west Brother is on with the right fall of east Brother
N.W. by W.f W., which leads over the Inner bar, in 10 feet at low water.
This bar is very narrow, and the marks must be carefully attended to.
The inner bar is to the southward of Shaip peak island, the peak of which,
616 feet high, is a prominent landmai^k.f
BSZiro tbe SXVBS. — Bang^ers. — On the north side of the first
reach of the river, off the point under Woga fort, which is a circular
♦ Eees beacon is thus described in the Chinese Official List, March 1874.
t On the south-western extremity of the shelf off Sharp peak island is a sunken roek,
having 8 feet on it at low-water springs, and on which the British ship Erne struck in
August 1872. A red nun buoy, 6 feet in diameter, is now moored .in 14 feet, low-
water springs, on the southern extremity of the rock, with Sharp peak point bearing
E. by S. J S., and Sharp peak N. by E., easterly.
Digitized by LjOOQIC
CHAP, vi.] PBOOEEDIN& UP THE BIVEE MIN. 271
l^uUding on the summit of the southern hills of Woga, is the Zephyr rock,
with only 5 feet on it, at three-quarters of a cable from the shore : there
are 5 fathoms inside it.
Off Temple point are two patches of 2 fathoms ; also, in mid-channel,
3 cables off the point, is the Temple or Siz'feet sunken rock, marked by a
red buoy on the southern extremity of the rock^ to the southward of which
vessels should pass. When on this rock Woga point is in line with Sharp
On the south bank, on the mud spit which extends westward from West
Brother and abreast the Six-feet rock, is a patch of rocks which cover at
a quarter flood.
ABoboraBres. — ^Th6 best position is said to be with East Brother S. ^ E.,
and Sharp peak point E.S.E. In the N.E. monsoon, the high land of
Woga in line with or a little open of Temple point Is a good line to anchor
on ; in the S.W. monsoon Woga creek is the best anchorage.
xinpai Pass is dangerous to strangers, particularly at or near spring
tides, for then the violence of the current produces eddies among the
rocks, that occasionally cross the channel, and render the vessel totally
unmanageable, even in a fresh breeze ; it therefore should never be taken
without a pilot or personal knowledge, and then at slack tide. On the
flood a dangerous eddy extends from Kinpai point above it, in the direction
of the Ferry ; and for this reason, the passage north of the Middle Ground
is considered the best. The Wolverine rock, with 13 feet over it, lies
S.W.by W. i W. from the north extreme of Kinpai point, and 1^ cables
from the shore. The Vixen spit, at the eastern end of the Middle Ground,
lies S.W. 3 cables from the point, and the distance, from 1 J fathoms on
its south edge to the southern shore, is about a cable.
Enter the pass south of Pass island and the other islet south-west of it,
and when past White fort close the northern shore, which is steep-to,
until Serrated peak is in line with the Ferry house on Woufou, S. ^ W.,
which is the leading mark across between the Middle Ground and Quantao
shoal. This is also a good line for vessels to anchor on when coming
down the river, and waiting for an opportunity of dropping through the
The danger of this passage is in passing the northern shoulder of the
Middle Ground, which forms a sharp angle with only one foot on it at low
water springs, and 4 fathoms close-to ; from this point to the shore- the
distance is only IJ cables. After clearing this spot, in passing either up
or down, the tide will tend rather to set the vessel from the bank into the
stream. The highest part of Pass islet in line with White Fort bluff
outer extreme is a near clearing mark for the northern shoulder of the
Middle Ground. It is recommended to shut Pass islet in altogether until
Digitized by VjOOQIC
272 WHITE DOG ISLANDS TO NIMEOD SOUND. [chap.ti.
past that point, opening it again immecliately afterwards. Vessels drawing
8 feet (and sometimes 12 feet) can pass over the middle ground at half tide.
At slack water, Kinpai point and the small islet off it (not marked on
the chart) may be rounded doselj and the south shore kept on board for
half a mile, when a vessel may edge across the stream W. ^ S. towards
the other shore and steer for Wedge island, thus clearing the shoal that
extends 3 cables off the Ferry house on the Kinpai shore.
Toagve Sboal* which is steep-to, skirts the Wou-fou shore, extending
more than half across the river. Its elbow with only 7 feet water, which
is the most necessary part to avoid, is half a mile N.N.E. of Half-tide
rock, and may be cleared by keeping the Ferry-house midwaj between
Kinpai bluff and the tower, until the highest point of Kowlui head comes
in line with Half-tide rock.
Salf-«lde BeaooB. — Half-tide rock, which is near the upper end of the
Tongue shoal, is marked by a granite beacon like a monument. From this
to Tintao, two miles higher up, the bottom is veiy irregular.
mungmM FaMri — Proceeding upwards, the river narrows at the Mingaa
Pass, where the land rises on either side to 1,500 or 2,000 feet. About
three-quarters of a mile above Mingan, and on the same side of the river,
is Couding island, off the east point of which H.M.S. Scout grounded oa
a rock at the end of a ledge projecting 25 yards from the islet, with 7 feet
near its extreme.
Bnoya. — ^At the upper or south end of the gorge, where it opens out,
and on the east side of the river, are Spiteful and Flat islets, which must
be left on the port hand. The Spiteful rock, showing at low water, is
part of a rocky ledge projecting about 30 yards from the south-west point
of the island, and is marked by a black nun buoy. There is also a red
nun buoy on the opposite side, at the extremity of the spit extending
north-eastward from Losing island, from which Spiteful island bears N.E.,
and Flat island S.E. J E. ; a course between the two buoys leads clear of
To pass between Spiteful rock and Losing spit, and avoid the latter,
do not shut in Younoi head with Flat island until Black Cliff head, just
passed (marked with a white spot), comes in line with the northern edge
of Spiteful island,
Paffoda Rook Boaoon, and Idgh.t lie off the south point of Losing
island. The rock dried formerly at low water springs. The beacon is
an iron pile, 28 feet high, surmounted by a cage, and a red light, 14 feet
above high water, is exhibited from it from sunset to sunrise.
TBB JurcBOBAOB for foreign vessels is at Losing island, generally
called Pagoda island and anchorage, owing to the existence of a small
♦ Nav. Sub-Lieut. C. H. Stuart Douglas, RN., of H.M.S. Avon, 1871.
Digitized by VjOOQIC
OTjLP.vi.] EWER MIK. — ^PAGODA ANCHOBAGE. 273
pAgoda at this spot. The best anchorage is between this rock and about
half a mile abore it, but should this anchorage be full, a vessel should anchor
near the south shoulder of Losing island, where she will be out of the
strength of the tide. The river is navigable for vessels three-quarters of
a mile above the pagoda on Losing island ; but the channel is narrow, the
tides strong, and the latter anchorage is generally preferred. It is recom-
mended not to make a ruiming moor on the flood tide.
Here, at a distance of 10 miles from the citj of Fu-chau, foreign vessels,
with the exception of small schooners or steamers of very light draught,
are obliged to anchor, farther approach to the city being prevented bj
•difficulties of navigation and lack of sufficient depth of water, the natural
shallowness having been largely increased of late years through shoaling
caused by the barrier constructed in 1841, with the object of preventing
access to the city by the British ships of war. The channel of the river
is very tortuous, and is said to be constantly changed by heavy freshets.
An imperial dockyard and arsenal is making rapid progress towards
completion under foreign superintendence. The various establishments
are in complete working order, and capable of constructing five war ships
Book. — There is a dock here owned and managed by Europeans. Its
length is 300 feet, breadth 9d feet, and depth 22 feet. It has an average
depth of water at springs of 17 feet, and at neaps of 14 feet. Steam
power is used for pumping dry. The following is the scale of charges :—
Hire of dock for day of entrance and two following days, one Mexican
dollar per registered ton ; after that period sixteen cents per ton per day,
excepting when vessels enter for heavy repairs, or iron ships for the
purpose of scraping and painting their bottoms. A tug steamer is attached
to the dock ; charge, 35 cents per gross ton.
•nppUes. — Coal is to be obtained, both British and Kelung, from
floating hulks and from coal stores on shore. There are some general
stores in the place, and boarding houses kept by Europeans. Beef and
poultry are the staples of animal food. Foochow bacon and hams are
much prized, and largely shipped to all parts of China. Game and wild*
fowl are to be had in their season, and occasionally venison. Fish
abounds in great variety, and oysters are very plentiful in the cool months,
but are dangerous if eaten raw. Fruit and vegetables are abundant, and
excellent potatoes are largely grown for the supply of foreigners.
Trade. — In 1871, 240 British vessels, with goods amounting to
1,165,579/. entered the port, and 248, with goods amounting to 3,334,258/.
cleared outwards. The principal foreign imports are cotton and woollen
manufactures, metals, and opium ; and the native imports bean cake, beans
and peas, coal, tea mats, oil, sugar, &c. The exports are tea, paper,
Digitized by VjOOQIC
274 WHITE DOG ISLAimS TO NIMEOD SOUND. [chap. ti.
orangery wooda, ke^ but tea is the only staple of importance in tke
cooimeroe of Foochowi amonntitig to nine-tenths of the yrhcAe^ the value
of which in 1871 was 5,049yQll/. The year 1868-4 bronghta sodden ex-
pansion in the export of tea, which in that year amouiited to 64,000,000 lbs.;
and the annual quantitybas increased to 85,005,600 lbs. in 1871. There is
also a considerable coast trade in timber. The duties are paid in Syeee
sflver ; or in Mexican dollars, ^' chopped '' or dean, at 10 per cent., discoont.
Climate^-— The climate of Foochow is similar to that of Canton,
exciting that the summer heat is less tempered by the monsoon, ^d that
a somewhat greater degree of cold prevails. Summer sets in with May,
and lasts until the early part of September, when north-westerly winds
set in* July and August are excessively sultry, and during these months
in 1866 several cases of death from sunstroke and heat-apoplexy occurred,
simultaneously with the occurrence of numerous £Eital cases of the same
kind at Shanghai and on the Yangtze ; whilst Hong Kong and Canton
remained altogether exempt from mortality under this head, in consequence
of the tempering influence of the S.W. monsoon. Frost and ice, although
rarely seen at Foochow, are nevertheless occasionally known; and in
February 1864 some two inches of snow fell upon the surroonding hills,
an event not remembered for 40 years before. In ordinary winters the
temperature seldom &Us below 38'' ; whilst the range of summer heat is
from 80** to 96**. Notwithstanding this moderate degree of cold, however,
the thickest winter clothing used in England is required for health and
comfort during the months from December to March."'
nroHAV ra (or Foochow) was opened to foreign commerce by the
Treaty of Nanking in 1842. The city is built on a plain, and lies about
three miles from the river side, to which it is connected by a line of
suburbs. The foreign hongs and British and other foreign consulates are
principally at Nantai on the opposite or south bank of the river, which is
connected with Fuchau by a massive stone bridge. So also are the church,
hospital, cemeteries, &c.
The Min river is upwards of 300 miles in length, and, with its nume*
reus tributaries, drains and gives access to fully three-fourths of the
province of Fu-kien.
lAiLWXiro tbe sxvn nmr. — In dropping through the Mingan Pass*
with the ebb tide, it will be necessary to guard against a dangerous eddy
setting from the point above Couding island on to the Scout rock.
On leaving the river, take care that the set of the tide across the channel