Great Britain. Hydrographic Office.

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

. (page 39 of 72)
Online LibraryGreat Britain. Hydrographic OfficeThe China Sea directory: Comprising the coasts of China from Hong Kong to ... → online text (page 39 of 72)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

covered with buildings. The suburbs are situated near the western ex-
tremity of a small headland which runs back 4 or 5 miles and lines the
beach on both sides, the central part being hilly ; the walled town stands
about half a mile behind.

Vessels steering for this roadstead should round the southern islet at
about a quarter of a mile and haul up for the houses which will be seen
westward of the hills. The anchorage is sheltered from E.N.E. to S.S.W. ;
but the tide runs 5 knots at springs, and the rise and fall is 25 feet The
mud dries half a mile from high- water mark, is steep-to, and the lead
gives no warning. At 4 miles southward of the southern islet is a shoal
on which the ship Bentinck tacked in 3 fathoms, and where there is
probably less water ; should the tide therefore set vessels in this vicinity,
it will be prudent to anchor.f

In the southern bight of Chapu bay, 11 miles from the town, are some
islet8 and a pagoda. At 18 miles south-west of Chapu there is a bay,
protected in some measui-e by a small islet, in which several boats were
lying aground. On the hill over it was a four gun battery and a numerous
garrison ; this place, Miswering to the name, is supposed to be the Canpu
of Marco Polo. Tseenshan, at 24 miles, south-west of Chapu, appeared
to be an islet connected with the main by a causeway ; on it was a four-
gun battery and a small pagoda about 60 miles from the city of Hang-chu.
The depth of water at this place across the estuary at low tide was found
tp be less than 1^ fathoms.

TAxX is situate in a small bay westward of the second
point of land, about 20 miles south-westward of Chapu. Off the point are
two small islands, between which and the point is a narrow passage
carrying 4 to 5 fathoms at low water, but which can only be passed through
at slack water on account of the extraordinary velocity of the tide. From
outside the islands, a bank extends for half a mile from high water mark,
over which there appears to be an eddy tide, and here the junks (which
freely make use of the anchorage, judging their time for going in and out
according to the tide) moor At 5 days after full moon, the strength of
the flood stream at the outer anchorage off Wan-tao-kwan was 8 J knots,
". the ebb 7^ knots ; and the rise is probably 30 feet.

' Williams's Middle Kingdom.

See Admiralty Plan of Chapu Hoad, No. 1,453, scale, wi = 2 inches.
: Abridg ed from the Remark Book of Com. C. M. Buckle, R.N.


Digitized by VjOOQIC


In AuguBt 1863, Wan-tao-kwan, being a rendezvoue of pirates, at that
time in the hands of the Tai-ping rebelB, Commander C. M. Buckle, R.N.,
was ordered there in U.M.S. Cormorant y accompanied by three ganboats,
and having at Ning-po engaged the services of a pilot acquainted with
Ilang-chu fu, proceeded to attack the place and capture the piratical junks
Ijing at anchor, protected bj a fort of six guns. The Cormorant was
compelled to anchor in the strength of the stream outside the islands,
whilst her cutter and the gunboats proceeded to attack the junks. A bom-
bardment was kept up until dark, and it was intended to destroy the
junks in the morning, but in endeavouring to bring the Flamer gun-
boat to anchor on the flood, both cables parted, and she was drifted up
the bay, and in about forty minutes drove with great force upon a reef,
where the tide could not have been less than 10 knots ; but she subse-
quently floated without damage, and was drifted helplessly up the bay
about 8 miles. Towards daylight sufficient steam was raised to make
headway as the tide slackened, and the Cormorant was reached at 7 a.m.
To all appearance the bay was navigable for a considerable distance up on
the north side, but in the middle and on the south side extensive mudflats
were seen. It is probable that no vessel less flat-bottomed than a gunboat
could touch the ground in such a current without imminent danger, as the
incident related on page 335 only too plainly testifies.

BOtacTZOWS, — When bound northward from the river Yung en-
deavour to leave with the first of the flood, and when northward of Tse-le
island, if drawing more than 18 feet, do not bring that island soutbLward
of S.S.W., then in line with Look-out hill, to avoid the Middle ground.
In working up for the East Seshan group some casts of 3^ and 4 fathoms
were obtained with the eastern islet N. by E. 8 miles ; it is therefore
advisable that vessels of large draught should not stand into Hang-chu
bay unless bound for Chapu road, in which case pass about 3 miles south-
ward of East Seshan, and steer for the south islet of the Middle Sesban
group. After passing West Seshan the low land on the nortb side of
Hang-chu bay will be seen, and to the southward the Fog islets, a group
of five low rocky islets bearing W. by S. ^ S. 14 miles from Middle Seshan,
the depth about tliem being 5 and 6 fathoms.

If bound for the Yang-tse keep eastward of the Seshan islands, steering
between East Seshan and Rugged islands. The tides in the vicinity of
the Volcano islands will be found to have increased their velocity, the
flood sitting W.N.W., the ebb E.S.E. Rugged islands (page 329) aflford
shelter in both monsoons, but the tides set strong through them. From
thence steer to pass on either side of the Hen and Chicks, recollecting
thjB 10 feet shoal (page 329) ; it will be prudent, if the vessel is of large
draught, to pass eastward of Gutzlaff island, as a bank of only 2^ fathoms
water is said to extend a mile from its western side.

Digitized by VjOOQIC



TXBES. — It is high water, full and change, at the Seshan islands at
llh. 45m., and springs rise 14 feet; at the Fog islands in Hang-chu bay
at the same time, and the rise is 17 feet ; in Chapu road at noon, and the
rise is 26 feet.

The tidal stream increases in strength as Hang-chu bay is approached ;
near Nanho island and the Volcano group, the flood runs W. by N., and
the ebb E. by S. sometimes 3 knots, and in light winds, unless great care
is taken, vessels are liable to get entangled among the Dunsterville or
Volcano groups. At the Fog islands, the rate increases to 4^ knots, at
Chapu to 5 knots ; and in the south-west part of Chapu bay to 7 knots
with a rise of 35 feet. At 25 miles above Chapu, the tide was found to
run 11 knots at springs, and 8 knots at neaps, with a rise and fall of
40 feet. In the vicinity of East Seshan, and of the Rugged group, the
flood runs 2^ and 3 knots ; south of Gutzlaif the first of the flood makes
to the southward of West.

SAXTG-CBV FV, the capital of the province of Chehkiang, stands on a
plain about 2 miles from the north bank of the river Tsien-tang, 20 miles
above its entrance and 80 miles from the sea.* The velocity of this stream
indicates a rapid descent of country from the hills which supply its head
waters ; the tide rises 6 or 7 feet opposite the city, and, it is said, about
30 feet, within its entrance. Captain Collinson, when making some ex-
plorations of its mouth, in order to ascertain the practicability of an
approach to Hang-chu fu, found the tide to run 1 1^ knots an hour, and
although the steamer had an anchor down with a whole cable, having pre-
viously lost an anchor and cable when she endeavoured to bring up, and
was under her full power of steam with sails set, she was still driving.

The peculiar phenomenon of the eagre occurs off" the city, the first of the
flood coming up in a huge smooth wave, six to twelve feet in height.

The southern termination of the Grand Canal is at Hang-chu fu, but
it has no opening into the river; there is also continuous water com-
munication with Shanghai, and also, through Shauhing fti and Yuyau,
with Ningpo.

The celebrated traveller Marco Polo, judging from the comparative
poverty of European cities of his period, describes Hang-chu fu as pre-
eminent above all other cities of the world in point of grandeur and beauty,
a chief feature of which is its magnificent lake surrounded by lofty
mountains. It was the metropolis of China during the Sung dynasty, and
n ntained its splendour until Nanking was made the capital. Its chief
n >ufactare is silk.

Williams' Middle Kingdom, vol. i. page 95.

Y 2

Digitized by VjOOQIC






Vabiatior in 1874.

Entnnee of Htct 2° SCK W. ; Shanghai 2" 20' W. ; Nanking 1° 40' W. ;

Hankow 0° 30' W.

r. — This noble stream, which ranks first
amongst the rivers of the Old world, and next only to the Amazons and
Mississippi in the New, is alike the most useful and important of the
rivers of China, and constitutes one of the chief elements in the prosperous
development of its commerce ; whilst it has also become, during the short
period that has elapsed since its opening to foreign navigation, a highway
of the highest importance to European trade. Its sources, though hitherto
unvisited by scientific explorers, are known to exist among the mountains
of Tibet, on the eastern side of those ranges, from the western declivities
of which the Brahmaputra and the great rivers of Burmah and Siam take
their rise ; whence the river, called the Muhlusu, flows in a south-easterlj
direction for upwards of 1,000 miles, and being joined by a large tributary,
the Yalung kiang in Yunnan, it turns suddenly to the north-east and east
through the central regions of the Chinese empire, traversing its entire
breadth in a course, inclusive of its windings, of fully 3,000 miles, from
the remote province of Sz'chuen to the Eastern Sea, and discharges itself
at a point 1,900 miles in a direct line from its source.

The Yangtse receives various names in its course, but it is difiicult to
decide their limits. Above the Tung-ting lake it takes the name of Kin ho
(Golden river), or Kin-sha kiang (Golden sand river) ; thence to Hankow
or the Poyang lake, the name of Ta kiang or the Great river ; whilst its
lower part is called the Yangtse kiang, (derived from Yang-chow, the
ancient name of the province across which it flows to the sea,) the name
now universally adopted by foreigners. It is generally known to the
people as the Kiang, or the River, a name it gives to three provir g.
From its central course through the empire, and the number of pro^i )s
through which it flows, it has also been termed the Girdle of China.^

• Williams's Middle Kingdom, vol. L, p. 18 ; and Trectty Ports of China and i,

p. 414.

Digitized by VjOOQIC


No river in the world excels the Yangtse in the arrangement of its
subsidiary streams, some of which are themselves large rivers, by which
the whole of its basin is rendered accessible, and no intenniption of im-
portance is experienced by falls or rapids. The basin drained by it,
estimated at 750,000 square miles, comprises the whole or part of nine
provinces, the productions of which are great in varieiy and vast in
amount. Nearly 1,800 miles of the river have now been surveyed, or
two-thirds of its entire length, viz., 200 miles from the sea to Nanking, by
the British fleet in 1842 ; 400 miles farther to Hankow, by the expedition
accompanying His Excellency the Earl of Elgin in 1858 ; thence 124
miles to Yohchau on the Tung-ting lake, by that under Vice- Admiral Sir
James Hope in 1861 ; and further explored for 1,100 miles to Ping-
shan in the province of Yunnan, in long. 104° 25' W., by the enterprising
traveller Capt. Blakiston, R.A., and his party, March to June 1861, 360
miles of which has been subsequently surveyed, as far as Kwei-chau fu in
lat. 31° N., long. 109° 34' E., by Sub-Lieutenants L. S. Dawson and
F. J. Palmer, R.N., in April 1869.

Hankow is the highest port on the Yangtse at present open to navigation
by foreign vessels, but it is said that sea-going steamers could reach the
city of Ichang, 950 miles from the mouth of the river.

THSATT FO&T8. — The treaty ports on the Yangtse at present open
to foreign commerce are four, viz., Shanghai, Chinkiang, Kiukiang, and
Hankow, at the respective distances of 60, 193, 480, and 600 miles from
the sea. Consular officers are stationed at these ports, at each of which
is a concession for the residence of foreigners. Nanking, although not at
present open as a treaty port, is nevertheless specified in the Treaty of
Tientsing among the river ports to be eventually thrown open, and now
may be, at any time, under " the most favoured nation *' clause.

BZ8B and taTmTm of tbe RXV&s. — The Yangtse is subject to great
periodic changes of level. It has been thus described :* — " The waters
begin to rise early in the year (February or March), and attain their
highest level in July or August, at which season the higher portions of
the river assume the appearance of an immense lake, by the inundation of
the low lands. No banks are visible, junks and boats of all descriptions
are seen sailing over what in the chart is dry land. At many parts
between Nanking and Hankow, it exceeds 20 miles in breadth, and
s — etimes no land can be seen from the deck on either side as far as the
1: s of the distant hills bounding the horizon, on which the sun is seen
t et. The houses to the very roofs are under water, and for miles

* W. W. Palmer, Commander of the ship Fernandez, August 1862,

Digitized by VjOOQIC

342 THE YANGTSE KIANO. [chaf. vm.

oulj the roofs and trees are visible, the inhabitants of the villages en-
campiog on the hills till the waters recede. On the 23rd of August
1862 the water had &llen 7 feet, and the people were returning from
the hills opposite Niang-shan-ki^ in Wild Boar reach, and cultivation
had just commenced." From this time it would appear the waters
recede gradually until the end of January, when the river is at its lowest
level, and that to which the soundings on the Admiralty charts refer. The
winter levels vary about 3 feet ; the summer levels have a greater range.*

The height of the summer above the winter levels may be considered
to be for Nanking 12 feet, Kiukiang 30 feet, and Hankow 40 to 50 feet.
At Kiukiang, the rise was 21 feet f between March and June, at Y^hchau
20 feet J

The strength of the current above Nanking is estimated at an
average of 3^ knots from November to March ; above Hankow, in March
2 knots, in June 4 knots, and in July is said to reach 7 or 8 knots, but
this is probably an over estimate. A good local knowledge enables vessels
of light draught to avoid the strength of the current by passing over the
submerged lands at this season ; and the strength of the current is then the
best guide for the deep-water channel of the river. The navigation at
this period is said to be very difficult, but the proficiency of the river pilots
has reduced the number of accidents to a minimum, and they are now
comparatively rare.

WAVIOATIOW of tlie TAWOTsa.— The essential features of the
Yangtse, as regards navigation, alter so rapidly§ that a chart, unless con-
stantly under correction, soon becomes valueless, and cannot be considered
a safe guide for certain localities aflter the lapse of six months or a year.

In the months of September and October the river is not difficult to
navigate || if proper care and caution are employed, the water being then
many feet higher than its winter level. In September it commences to fall,
and in November and December sinks very rapidly eight or ten inches a
day, on account of which these two latter months are considered the most
difficult period for navigation, for the bed of the river becomes altered by
the summer inundations and rapid currents, so that if a vessel having
touched the ground be not floated off at once, there is great probability of
her remaining aground until the water rises in the ensuing spring. It is,
i;herefore, deemed imprudent to attempt the navigation of the river at this
;season without a pilot.

* See further remarke on this subject in subsequent parts of this chapter.
t H.M.S. Havoc, 1861. J Capt. Blakiston, R.A.

§ J. M. Hockly, Esq., R.N., Harbour Master of Shanghai, 1866.
II The late Lieutenant EUwyn, B.K., H.M.S. Slaney, 1868.

Digitized by VjOOQIC


In those years when the winter levels stand highest, it by no means follows*
that there is a greater depth of water in the channels of the river, in fact,
the contrary is the case. In 1870-71, the winter level was 3 feet higher
than in the four previous years, but notwithstanding steamers experienced
greater difficulty in getting up to Hankow, the depth of water being less.
This apparent anomaly appears to be caused by exceptional inundations
(as in 1868 and 1869), which bring down an excessive amount of alluvial
matter, which is deposited in the bed of the river when the waters recede ;
and observations made at Kiukiang in 1870 and 1871, proved that the bed
of the river rose as the water fell. The winter of 1 869-70 was the first
occasion on which steamers, except of the hghtest draught (say, 6 feet
when unloaded) were unable to reach Hankow, although during the
previous winter there had been a greater depth in the various channels
than for some years past. It had till then been considered that vessels of
14 feet draught could go up to Hankow at any season, using ordinary pre-
caution in passing the bars, and vessels of 20 feet previous to November,
also that vessels of the largest draught could reach Nanking at any time.

In the higher parts of the river, where its width becomes narrow and the
current is strong, it is of consequence that vessels of small steam power
should keep as dose in to the river banks as possible, in which case the
lead will be found a good and sufficient guide when going against stream ;
but in going down the river it is better to keep in mid-channel, whereby
much risk is avoided and the current taken advantage of.

The latest information is to the effect that the Admiralty charts are
sufficiently correct to enable a gun-vessel drawing 8^ feet water, to pro-
ceed from Chinkiang to Hankow, at the season when the river was lowest,
without a pilot.| Small steamers may take all the short cuts from June
until the time the waters commence to fall.

CHAxross of tbe &ZVBR, — As might be expected in the estuary of a
river draining so vast a country and subject to periodic inundations, con-
siderable alterations are ever taking place in its bed at certain, but now,
well-known localities. The most constant part of the river is the entrance
of the Southern channel, for beyond some slight extension of the bar
seaward, no alteration of any consequence has taken place within 30 years ;
but the character of the same channel higher up, between Kintoan and the
mouth of the Wusung river, which latter is 40 miles from the entrance,
^"^ no permanency whatever, and of late years has been subject to many
nges, which have resulted in considerable deterioration, caused mainly
the opening out of a deep channel north of the Tungsha banks.

Bemark Book of Conynander Thomas M. Maquay, K.N., H.M.S. Ringdove, 1871.
Lieut. Whish, R.N., H.M.S. Leven, 1873.

Digitized by VjOOQIC

311 THE TANGTSE KIANO. [chap, vm-

For 50 miles al>ovo the Wusung river, especially at that part known as
the LangHhan crossing, the Yangtse is in a state of almost constant change,
where the river opening out from four to a hreadth of nine miles, vast flats
and middle grounds are formed, which are constantly shifting their positions.
Under such circumstances the Admiralty charts, unless containing the latest
corrections, must be considered only as a general guide in indicating the
principal features of the banks and channels ; but it may nevertheless be
regarded as a perfectly correct guide in making the entrance and reaching
the shelter of the river several miles above the light-ship.

&IOKT8 ef tlie TAWOTSB. — The approaches to the Yangtse are
finely lighted. The North Saddle light (more fully described on page S27)
is of the first order, revolving every minute, visible 24 miles, and can be
seen in clear weather as far as the outer limit of the bar, about .14 miles
below the light vessel ; it dips also at the Amherst rocks. The Shaweishan
light, also of the first order, (page M6)Jixed and visible 22 miles, is not
in sight from the edge of the South bank, and will not ordinarily be seen
when standing into the river from the south-eastward, until a vessel is well
on the bar, and in the fairway. Gutzlaff light (page 347) is of the third
ordeVfJixedf visible 20 miles, and can be seen all over the entrance, though
not powerful enough to extend its rays to the Amherst and Saddles, which
are within its radius of vision. The Tungsha light vessel (page 348) carries
a light revolving every 10 seconds,' visible 1 1 miles, which will come in
sight when a vessel is well on the bar, and four miles beyond the radius
of the North Saddle light ; if standing N. by W. from Gutzlaff, it will be
seen when 12 miles firom that island, and if standing N. by E, at 16 miles.
Within the entrance, the ^xed and /lashing light of Kintoan (page 348)
extends over the whole channel from 2 miles above the light vessel to the
Wusung entrance except where it is shaded in the direction of the shallow
water of the South bank. The Small beacon light, 5 miles above Kintoan,
shows white 6 miles down the river, and red across it to the northward
and eastward ; and lastly, about 5 miles after passing the beacon light,
the red light of Wusung entrance will come in sight, which will change to
white when the channel of the river is open.

Above Wusung the Yangtse is well lighted with maxxjjixed lights,
chiefly of the sixth order, and which are described in their proper places.

Tbe BSTVA&T of tbe TAxrOTSS * is 70 miles broad &om north to
south. Its delta, 60 miles in extent, is divided into two almost equal
portions by the main stream of the river, the northern part of whir

* See Admiralty Chart : China, East Coast, Sheet 9, the Tangtse kiang, from f
Sea to Nanking, No. 1,480, scale, m = 0*2 of an inch ; also Yangtse kiang, Sbee
(the entrance), No. 1,602 ; scale, m = 0*5 inch.

Digitized by VjOOQIC


Tsuiig-ming island, is 32 miles long in a W.N.W. and E.S.E. direction,
6 to 20 miles broad, and is stated to be the largest alluvial island in the
world, containing a population of about half a million, although in the
fourteenth century it did not exist above water. There is said to be a
large city on the island, but it is not visible from the sea.

The Tungsha banks lying south-eastward of Tsung-ming form the southern
portion of the delta. These banks are rapidly growing up, and two new
islands which appeared in 1862 are still increasing in size, one. Grass island,
being about 2 miles, and the other, House or Dry North island, 12 miles
to the south-east of Block-house, the only island previously existing. In
186Slfive new islands were discovered to have grown up along the northern
edge of the Tungsha on the borders of the main channel ; and Tsung-ming
has also extended eastward about 6 miles since 1842.

The Yangtse enters the sea by three channels, of which two only are navi-
gable ; these are the north entrance, now quite unknown and used only by
junks ; the main channel, by which the waters of the river are now dis-
charged north of Shaweishan island, and which of late years has greatly
increased in depth and volume, and now is reported to be the best ; and
the south channel, which has heretofore been the only one affording a
sufficient depth of water for navigation by foreign sea-going vessels, as it
is also the nearest and most convenient approach to Shanghai, which is
situate on the Hwang-pu or Wusung river, a tributary of the Yangtse,
which discharges itself into this channel about 40 miles from its entrance.

Oveat Tangtse Bank. — ^Extending seaward in an easterly direction
for 150 miles, is a vast bank of clean river sand about 30 miles in breadth.
It lies rather off the northern entrances, and is of gray or dark speckled
fine sand, its depth varying from 17 to 20 fathoms; the surrounding
bottom is chiefly mud, or mud and sand. When more fully examined it
will no doubt be a good guide to vessels making the Yangtse from the
eastward. South of this bank, a deep water gully of from 25 to 30
fathoms runs up towards Shaweishan island from the south-eastward,
terminating 20 miles E. by S. of that island. The water north of the

Online LibraryGreat Britain. Hydrographic OfficeThe China Sea directory: Comprising the coasts of China from Hong Kong to ... → online text (page 39 of 72)