Great Britain. Hydrographic Office.

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

. (page 5 of 72)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Digitized by VjOOQIC

28 MAEUXG PASSiaSS. CosAif. z.

whidi it is blowing, the Telocity of the carrent being prc^KMrtiimate to the
force of the wind.

Haying made either the Bojal Charlotte or Louisa shoak,* or passing
mid-channel between them, steer £. by N. 100 miles, and then about N.K.
for lat. 8^ N., long. 116° 15' E., when Balabac peak will probably be seen
bearing about East^ southerly, and making like a rather flat-topped island
with a small peak rising in the centre, and when about 40 miles distant from
the island, the low hills may be seen on either side of the peak, haying at
first the appearance of detached islands*

Haying brought Balabac peak to bear about E.S.E. at the aboye distance^
a N.N.E. } E. course should be steered, when the high land of Boolanhow
will soon be discernible, bearing about N.E. by E. } E. This coarse
should lead about 6 miles eastward of the reported Boger f breakers,
10 miles westward of the elbow of the bank, and midway between the
Boyal Captain shoal and the edge of the bank of soundings skirting the
island of PaUwan (the most dangerous part of the channel). When
Boolanhow, the southern mountain of Palawan, bears S.E. by E. ^ E. the
yessel will be in line with it and the Royal Captain shoal, and in the
narrowest part of the channel, which is 27f miles wide, and the high land
of Mantaleengahan will then bear E. ^ S.

If the wind be well to the southward, and the weather thick^
Balabac island may be approached nearer, in order to get well hold of
the land, but extreme caution should be taken not to go within 12 miles of
it, as soundings of 26 and 20 fathoms extend that distance oS, in a westerly
direction firom the peak, haying shoal patches immediately inside them.

If the wind be to the westward, with thick cloudy weather, Balabac
island should not be approached nearer than 36 miles, for these winds
usually force a strong current through the straits to the eastward, and
when off the south-west end of Palawan it is not unusual for them, par-
ticularly in squalls, to yeer to W.N.W,, and sometimes N.W., blowing
with great yiolence, and placing the yessel on a lee shore with respect to
the shoals inside the edge of the bank. It generally so happens that
about the time, September and October, when yessels adopt the Palawan
route, this weather prey ails off the south-west end of Palawan, rendering
it uncertain and difficult to hit the narrowest part of the channel, owing
to the land being obscured, especially if neither the Royal Charlotte nor
the Louisa shoal has been made, and the longitude corrected.

* See Admiralty Charts :— Balabac stmt, No. 948 ; scale, m ^ 0*5 of an incli ; Pala-
wan Island, No. 967; scale, m a o*l of an inch,
t See remarks concerning this doabtfUl shoal in yol. ii., page 271.

Digitized by VjOOQIC


•Under these circmnstanoes it iB adviaable to adnmce with cuitioo, T^paL*
lAtfng the speed of the yeesel so as to be in the fairway, Yi&» lat. 8° N.,
long. 116° 15' E., for making the channel at daylight. Horsborgh reoom-
mends lat 8» 3(y N., and long. 116^ W E., bat this may be mnning too
close at nighty unless confident of the accnracy of the reckoning.

If not certain of the yessel's podtiony endeaTonr to get soiuidings on the
edge of the bank to the north-west of Balabac island, and the safest part
to approach for this purpose is that about the elbow, on the parsUel of
8^ dO" N:, or immediately to the southward of it, for it is believed the
portion of the bank which is embraced by the bearings of Balabac peak,
S.E. by E. I E. and S.S-E., comprising a distance of 25 miles, ia free
from danger. K the peak is obscured, the same bearings of the body of
the island will, if taken with care, answer. Or should the north extreme
of the island be discernible (showing like a hiUock, with a low double
hill to the southward), the part of no danger wiU be included within the
lines of bearing of it, East and S.S.E. } E.

During the period that H.M.S. RoyaHsi was engaged upon this surrey
experience led to the belief that in the thickest weather the land is
seldom totally obscured for any length of time, but generally shows a
well-defined outline between the squaUs.

Having obtained soundings, which will be about 90 fathoms^ if close
to the edge of the bank, and from 45 to 55 fathoms, sand, if inside,
haul off to the north-westward, to give the edge a berth of about 10
miles, then steer the channel courso N.N.E. } E. When Boolanhow
mountain bears eastward of E. by N. \ N., the elbow has .been passed,
and the bank then trends N.E. by N. It is between the elbow and
the parallel of 9^ 15' N. (a distance of 60 miles) on the east, and the
Half Moon, Boyal Captain, and Bombay shoals on the west, that the
most dangerous part of the Palawan passage lies.

When Mantaleengahan mountain bears S.E. \ E., or the Pagoda cliff,
which is generally seen when the more elevated land is obscured,
S.E. \ S., the vessel will be on the line of the Bombay shoal, where
the channel is 28 niiles broad.

Having passed the Bombay shoal, abreast of which the bank trends
N.E. \ N., steer a courso parallel with its edge, preserving a distance of
8 or 12 miles from it, and 27 or 30 miles from the land, or nearer, if
convenient, and the peaks on Palawan are sufficiently distinct to get good
cross bearings. It is, however, not desirable to get too close, as the edge
of the bank in about the parallels of 9^ SO' and l(f N. is not uniform
in its outline, and several rocky patches lie within a mile, and in some
places only 3 cables from the 100*fathoms line.

Digitized by VjOOQIC

80 KAKIKa PASSA€^ES. [oh

This N.E. ^ N. course^ edging a little more to the northward y
abreast of Ooloogan bay,* where the bank extends 28 miles from the si
trill take a vessel through the passage clear of every known danger.

Vessels working through the Palawan passage, having conforms
the directions given for making the 8ontb*west end of Palawan, slibul^
fine weather, endeavour to make their inahoice boards in the afternoon
the son being then astern of the vessel, the patches lying aeai*
edge of ihe bank will generally be distinguished from' the mast-heac
ample time to tack of. In squally weather also, during heavy rains, ti
patches have been observed, imparting a very distinct yellowish hu*
the surface of the water.

It is almost nee^ess to remind the seaman (when the land is obscu:
ot the desirableness of getting hold of the edge of the bank before d
in order that he may have a good departure for the night ; and on mal
his inshore board, it must also be borne in mind that the probabilit
coming gtiddenly into soundings is great, as the approach on this tack
generally be at ri^t angles to the edge of the bank. He should there
be prepared to go round immediately on getting th^ first indicatioi
soundings, whether by the lead or the appearance of the water.

Proceeding northwards from the Palawan passage, it is customary to 1
up the west coast of Luzon to cape Bolinao or Piedra point,']' and th<
direct for Macao or Hong Kong, passing to leeward of the Pratas. Bu
bound to any of the ports northward, much time may be saved by hugg
the coast of Luzon and beating up through the Babuyan and Batan islai
and along the eastern coast of Formosa, thereby avoiding the heavy lab
wear, and loss of time experienced in the attempt to work against
monsoon along the coast of China, which even the clippers sometimes fs
in effecting.

In working along the Luzon % coast, particularly about dawn and siin
less sea, and much lighter winds, will be experienced by hugging
coast by short boards, and at times even land breezes may very m
facilitate progress ; but in the attempt to render these available, g
caution' should be observed, particularly between Piedra point and c

♦ See Admiralty Plan of Ooloogan bay, 2,913 ; scale, «=r2'5 inches, a fine bar
of refbge, to the northward of which are Jib-boom bay, port Barton, and Malam;
sound. See also Adm'iralty Plans, Point Emergency to St. Paul bay. No. 2,912 ; s
»i^ 1 inch ; and Malampaya sound, No. 2,911 j scale, »i= 1*5 inches, where also sup
may be obtained.

t See vol. ii., p. 268. Piedra point is 7 miles W.S.W. of cape BaUnaaay, the
Bolifiao of the old charts.

:|; See China Sea, northern portion, eastern sheet, No. 2,661 b; also, northern po
of Luzon, with the Bashee and Ballintang channels^ No. 2,454 ; scale, (/s6*2 inc
and Plan of Manilla bay. No. 976 ; scale, m=0'6 of an inch.

Digitized by VjOOQIC


SojeadoTy as Beveral coast-line dangers do not find a place in tbe charts.
£[.M.S. Samarang met with a dangerous patdi in the bay near Dile pointy
being at the time 2\ milies off shore, with a church bearing E.SJB.

The first strong gust of the mdnsoon will be experienced on clearing
cap^ Bojeador, but this should not induce the nayigfitor to stand farther
-westward than will enable him to make his eastern stretch to weather it,
i?rhen he will at once eicperience less wind. This generally is the case
on aQ lee shores backed by mountains, either resulting from obstruction^
reaction, or the effect probably, after sunset, of counteracting land winds.
Among the groups north of Luzon there are no dangers which are not
easily aroided, and no continuous strong breezes will be experienced, at all
comparable in force, or attended by high sea, similar to those which pre-
vail between Piedra point and Hong Kong. On the contrary, good work-
ing breezes and, at times, light winds prerail, enabling a sailing vessel of
moderate speed to make about six degrees northing in eight days. When
standing across for Hong Kong, should a northerly gale be encountered,
which is not unusual about the close of the year, it is desirable to keep as
far io the eastward as possible, so as to avoid falling to leeward of Hong
Kong, for should a vessel be in that position when the gale abated she
would be greatly embarrassed on the wind veering back to the north-east
quarter, which is almost a certainty. It is also strongly recommended
not to pass io windward of the Pratas shoal (jsee caution on page 208).
lyphoons are likely to happen in both monsoons between the north coast
of Luzon and Formosa from July to December inclusive, but sometimes as
early as the beginning of May,*

8ZV<iA»omB U^ XD«0 XOWO ia tbe 8««t!ll-wMt KOBflMB. — ^In the
S.W. monsoon the passage from Singapore to China by the Main route,
eastward of Pulo Sapatu and over Macclesfield bank, is preferable, both
on account of the sea being free from dangers and the winds being more
steady in the open sea than near the coast. About full and change of the
moon, and as early as April, a westerly breeze will sometimes be found
blowing out of the gulf of Siam to carry a vessel to Macclesfield bank,
and afterwards easterly winds to run her to Hong Kong.f

This route becomes precarious if a sailing vessel is not up with Pulo
Sapatu early in October ; for near this island, about the middle of that
month, strong southerly currents begin to prevail with light northerly
winds, variable airs, and calms, by which many vessels have been delayed
for several days, and have made no progress to the northward. Fresh

* One passed north-eastward through this channel in May 1S66.
t See Admiralty Charts of China sea, southern portion, western sheet, No. 2,660 a ;
and northern portion, western sheet, No. 2,661 a.

Digitized by VjOOQIC


windfl from the soutliward have been met with, even so late as Ut of 1^
▼ember, bat these instances are rare.

Some vessds proceeding by the Main route have carried strong S.'
and soatherlj winds,* when others taking the Inner^ passage have at 1
same time experienced N.W. and westerly gales blowing out of the g
of Tong Kingy with dark weather and rain, and have been in danger
being driven among the Paracel reefs ; the Inner passage ought, howe^
to be chosen in the strength of the S.W. monsoon if the vessel is w(
and making much water, for the sea will be smooth, and being near
land she may reach an anchorage if required. The gales out of the |
are not frequent, and the land may be kept in sight nearly all the time

Taking the Inner or Cochin China route, steer from Palo Aor al*
the coast to the Redang islands, thence across the gulf of Siam, and al
the coasts of Cambodia and Cochin China, keeping the latter aboard
cape Touron. From thence steer for the 8outh*west part of Haii
coasting along this island and passing between it and the Taya islai
then cross over to make the coast of China about Tien-pak or Hai
island. The islands from thence to Hong Kong may be coasted alon
discretion, or shelter may be found amongst them on emergency. K
route be taken before the middle of March or the 1st of April, the pas
will be tedious unless the vessel is a good sailer.

Although Horsburg and others recommend the inner route, Comma
Blake was of opinion it should be avoided, both on account of the chs
being narrower and more dangerous, and from the risk of being carriei
the current towards the north-west part of the Paracels, where se
vessels have been lost on the shoals, owing to this and to the N.W. ^
blowing out of the Tongking gulf. Also, that in this monsoon, it w
found very difficult, in the channel between the Paracels and Hainan, :
weather be cloudy, and with the currents varying in force and dire<
to keep the reckoning with sufficient precision to make a safe pa
through it.

Bound to Hong Kong in the strength of the S.W. monsoon, witl
wind steady between S.E. and S. W., endeavour to make the Great L«ad
island bearing about north, then steer between it and the Kypong is]
and between Lingting and the Lema islands, for the west Lamma chj
After the middle of August, when easterly winds are likely to p
several days together, as they are more or less at all seasons, it w
necessary to make the N.E. head of the Lema islands, and proceed
the Lema channel, towards the west Lamma channel. The east X

♦ Horsburgh.

t See Admiralty Chart, China, East coast, sheet 1, No. 3,213 ; also Birec
chap, ii^ pages 72 and 86.

Digitized by VjOOQIC


chamiel is also safe in both monsoons, for if the wind falls light it is
safe to anchor in, although the water is deep and there is little or no

BOVO KOVO to SZV0A90BB in the Worth-east Monsooii.* — Ships
bound from China to Singapore, or to the Straits of Gaspar or Banka, should
in March and April adopt the Main route by the Macclesfield bank, which
is the most expeditious in these months, keeping to the eastward on
leaving the China coast ; and also in passing Pulo Sapatu thej ought
to borrow to the eastward towai'ds the shoals, where the winds are more
favourable in these months than farther to the westward. In April the
Vansitiart, hj keeping about 3 degrees more to the eastward than the
Herefordshire^ made as much progress in one day as the latter did in ten.
Hie distance from Hong Koug to Singapore by the main route is about
1,480 miles, and by the inner route 1,440 miles.

At all other times the Inner route by the coast of Cochin China seems
preferable ; for it is the shorter, and the ease afforded to ships by steer*
u^ from the Grand Ladrone immediately before the wind, when blowing
strong at N.E., is a great advantage ; whereas by the Main route a S.S.E.
course is shaped for the Macclesfield bank, often bringing the wind and
sea before the beam, which strains a deeply-laden ship. Many have
strained so much, that, in order to gain upon the pumps, they were
forced to bear away for the Inner route ; others, by persevering in the
Main route, have laboured excessively, and some of them at last foundered
with their crews. Some of the ships which, after leaving China, have
been missing, have probably suffered &om the same cause. Had those
ships, on leaving Canton river, steered S.S.W. ^ W or S.S.W. ^ W., the
direct course for the Inner route, they probably would not have strained
in the least, but have reached their ports of destination in safety. Besides
a southerly current of 30 to 50 miles a day is found near Hainan, and
between the parallels of 14° and 11° N. of 60 miles a day. After passing
the Paracels, the Cochin China coast may be approached about the latitude
of cape Yarela or the Pagoda, and thence a course steered for Pulo Sapatu
or the Catwicks.

Vessels may, according to circumstances, pass either to the eastward or
westward of the Catwick islands and Pulo Ceicer de Mer, or through any
of the channels between them ; but since the Rawson shoal (vol. ii., page 80)
is known to have no existence, it would seem advisable, in thick weather, to
pass 20 or 30 miles eastward of Pulo Sapatu, especially at night. From
thence, passing westward of the Charlotte bank and the Anamba islands,
steer to make Pulo Aor.

♦ Principally from Horsburgh.
30251. C

Digitized by VjOOQIC

34 HAElNa PASSAGES. [chap.

Should the weather be thick, and a fi^sh breeze blowing, when nei
Pulo Aor, round to under its lee, and wait a convenient time to bear i
for the Btrait.* The current between this island and the east point
Bintang sets about S.S.E., by which it often happens that yessels leavii
Pulo Aor steer too much southerly, and are swept with the current andtl
ebb tide coming out of the strait, so far to leeward of Bintang, that tb
have been obliged to proceed round it, and come up through Bhio strait.

In March, during the latter part of this monsoon, the winds are Btea<
from the eastward, the weather settled, and the current weak. In A{
the prevailing winds are also from the eastward, but are much ligh
and accompanied with calms and squally weather ; from the latter end
this month tp about the middle of May the monsoon gradually breaks u]

BOWO mama to SIWOAPOBB in the Soutli-west Monsoon

Captain Blake, of H.M.S. Larncj adding to his own experience tha<
several commanders of the opium clippers, makes the following remarks
" Although formerly considered impracticable, it is now a common pi
tice for ships to work down the China sea at all periods of the S.
monsoon. After leaving Hong Kong the usual course is to stand towa
Hainan, which will be often fetched without tacking, as the wind :
quently blows for days together fix)m the south-east or eastward in \
part of the China sea; and thence across the gulf of Tong King to
Cochin China coast. Land and sea breezes and smooth water gener
prevail close to that coast, for which reason it is usual to work dowi
close to the shore as possible, taking advantage of every slant of w
but being careful not to get too far off the land. It is sometimes posi
to get as far to the southward as cape Padaran in this way, but gene:
after passing cape Varela the monsoon is found blowing very fi
with frequent hard squalls out of the gulf of Slam, rendering it impos
for a ship to do much to windward. From cape Varela, or from
Padaran if a vessel has been able to fetch it, stretch away to
southward — maklng^a tack, if necessary, to weather the West Xioiid<
other reefs — till the coast of Borneo is reached, along which, work
pass out through any of the South Natuna channels. Stand aero
Singapore, keeping well to the southward before closing Bintang, 1
sure of your landfall, as the currents run very strong, sometimes 2
an hour to the northward.

Captain Becher, R.N,, writes : — ** A ship leaving Macao bound t
southward against the monsoon, should work down for the Ma<5cl<
bank, keeping between the meridians of 116^ and 119^ E., and pre

* Since the establisliment of Horsbnrgh light, on Fedra Branca, there is real
no difficulty in making Singapore strait at any time with proper attention.

Digitized by VjOOQIC


hj every change of wind in her tacks. Having passed the Paracels, she
tronid continue to the southward, not making long boards to the westward
on account of the strong northerly currents off the coast of Cochin China,
which sometimes set 50 miles in 24 hours. This coast should not be
sighted. After passing Pulo Sapatu she would make short tacks, avoiding
the entrance of the gulf of Siam, whe«e light variable winds from the
southward will be found. Sometimes, however, W.N.W. winds are to be
had, and even N.W., but they are never of long duration. The Natunas
may also be sighted to the southward, and then the channel taken between
them and the Anambas.

'^ It is better in general to take this channel than to si^ht the Malacca
coast and the island of Tioman, off which light southerly winds and calms
are found, which oblige vessels to anchor, to prevent their being drifted
to the northward by the current.

*' The passage may thus be made in ^about 33 days. At some periods,
however, it is a passage not without great difficulties. In June, July, and
August, for instance, a vessel of ordinary sailing qualities should not
attempt it, unless she can start with fayoui*able winds on leaving the
China coast, or unless compelled to do so from necessity. A vessel
leaving China early may make a tolerable passage to Bengal by this route.
But if bound to Bombay a vessel will have a long passage there in October
and part of November. A vessel leaving China in May or June would
probably reach Bombay as soon or even sooner by the eastern straits than
by beating down the China sea to take those pf Malacca or Sunda.*'*

Bowo Kovo to MUkmXiA and back. — Vessels trading between
Hong Kong or Macao and Manila continue to do so during both monsoons.f
If bound to Manila in the N.E. monsoon, they pass through the Lema
channel, and keep as far eastward as possible, making for the north-west
coast of Luzon,' towards Fiedra point (cape Bolinao). At this season the
current sets strongly to leeward, but is found to decrease as the vessel nears
Xiuzon; Having reached the latitude of this cape, or the coast near it,
the vessel should not be kept too close to the shore on account of the.
outlying Bhohh, and having passed the Sisters, the course should lie about
6 to 12 miles from the land, till she is to the southward of the islands and
dangers off cape Capones, whence she may continue along the coast for
Manila bay.

If bound to Manila in the S.W. monsoon, take every possible advantage
of the wind veering to S.E. or East to make southing. From the Maccles-

* " Nayigation of the Indian Ocean, China and Australian Seas," by A. B. Becher,,
Captain, BJN. London, J, D. Potter, 31, Poultry, E.G.

C 2

Digitized by VjOOQIC


field bank a vessel is sure of reaching Manila ; indeed, if it were not f(
the wind veering from S.W. to South and S.S.E. Manila might be fetche
on one tack. If passing to windward of the Scai'borough shoal, caution
necessary on account of the lee current. Making the land with the wii
at South, Luban or Goat isli&nd should be sighted, and the land southwai
of Manila bay. «

If returning from Manila in the N.E. monsoon, keep the land as far ;
Piedra point, and if the wind permit, stand across for the Leraa chann
south of Hong Kong. But with N.£. or northerly winds, especially if tl
vessel is not a good 6ailer, the coast should be kept as far north as ca
Bojeador, before standing across for China.*

If returning from Manila in the S.W. monsoon, the course is direct f
the Lema channel or Great Ladrone, making due allowance for the 1
current. According as the wind, on approaching the coast, is S.W.
indines east, so one of the more weatherly channels between these islan
should be entered.

Bova Kowo to MAOAOd — ^It is usual to procccd by the Cap-sii
mun pass, this route affording a smooth water passage, but it is not 1
shortest, and the tide is sometimes found too strong in the pass for vess
of small steam power to stem. To take the shortest route, pass ing
Green island, and steer for the north point of Chung island, and pass betw
it and Lantao. In the middle of this channel there is a large rock, le
with high water, and visible as it is approached. The vessel should i
between this rock and Chung, the least water being 6 fathoms. Afterwf
take the channel between High Green and Lantao, keeping in the mic
of it in 7 fathoms. Beyond this the chart is sufficient guide. .

PASSAOB BAST of l"0&MOSA.t— When bound from Hong Kod^
Fu-chaji fu, Ning-po, Shanghai, or the ports of Japan, during the J
monsoon, a vessel should be in good condition for contending with ro
weather and for carrying sail. The best plan appears to be to ^
along the coast as far as Breaker point,t and then stretch across to