Great Britain. Hydrographic Office.

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

. (page 59 of 72)
Online LibraryGreat Britain. Hydrographic OfficeThe China Sea directory: Comprising the coasts of China from Hong Kong to ... → online text (page 59 of 72)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

habitable spot for many miles in every direction. Above, for nearly 40
miles is a desert of mud covered with reeds, dry in winter but inundated
in summer.

Tbe Siw, when surveyed in 1860, was 3 miles from the entrance of the
river, and had a depth of from 2 to 3 feet on ifc at low water springs.
The channel flowed in a north-easterly direction through the mud banks,
(the bar being half a mile within the outer limits of them), and was well
marked with large stakes or beacons. The depth over the bar at higli
water springs would therefore be 12 to 13 feet. In 1863 the bar was
again examined by a personf sent expressly for the purpose from Shanghai
and was then found to be 1^ miles wide, and had only 10 feet on it at
high tide. The river since then has brought down enormous quantities
of soil and formed a large bar at its entrance. In 1867 the large junks
that formerly traded there were unable to get into the river from the sea.
In 1868 the Yellow river brought down still more soil in its waters, and
no accurate account of the depth of water to be depended on at the bar,
could be had from the coasting junk owners.

* See Sketch of the entrance of the Ta-tsing ho, scale, m = 1 inch, on Admiralty
Chart of the gulfs of Pe-chili and Liau-tung, No. 1,256. "

t Anon. Extract from an English newspaper published in China in 1868.

Digitized by VjOOQIC


In 1868 the bar had only 4 feet over it at high tide^ but had a channel
on either side, that on the south canying 7 feet, and that on the north
6 feet. This was the report brought back by an exploring party,* the
state of this bar having excited a great deal of interest among residents
in China, because on the depth of water to be found there hinged, it was
believed, the navigability of many hundreds of miles of the river into the
interior.! This last account of the condition of the bar did not proceed,
however, from examination of it but from inquiry made of the pilots.
The remarks on the tides were obtained in the same manner, being to the
effect that the average rise and fall was 2^ feet, but which is very
improbable. Supposing it, however, to be the case, and the bar to be
raised 2 feet above the level of low water springs, there might be found
at high water springs a depth of 8 feet, and at neaps 5 or 6 feet.

The northerly gales of winter which beat the coast of Shantung from
November to March will keep up the deposit of the Yellow river at its
juncture with the gulf of Pe-chili, and it is possible that in a few years
another coast may here be formed, that will upset all present ideas of the
locality about which there is now question. It may be safely concluded
that since the Yellow river, with its capricious and overwhelming floods,
has made its bed where the Ta-tsing ho' flowed, no reliance can be placed
on a permanent channel for steamers to pass into the interior of Shantung
through its waters.

Tteb-miiiip4Lwan4 the highest point to which the junks ascend and trade,
is about 15 miles above the village at the entrance of the river. Though
itself only a village composed, like others in the neighbourhood, of mud
built houses, it has every appearance of being a very important place.
It is not a centre of trade, but consists chiefly of hongs to which traders
jfrom the different towns within reach come to transact business, except
during the winter months when the river is closed by ice, and then it is
said to be nearly deserted. Although called a port, Tieh-mun-kwan is
only used as such by small Fei ho and river junks, larger junks, such as
those from Ning-po, Shanghai, Swatow, &c., remaining at the anchorage
outside the bar, where they discharge their cargoes into river boats, and
receive their homeward freights by the same means. The direct trade,
existing between places high up the river and Tien-tsiD, Chi-fu and other
ports on the gulf, is carried on by junks of a lighter draft and different
construction to the sea-going junks of the southern provinces, but well

• Conducted by Mr. Ney Elias of Shanghai ; See " Journal of the Royal Geographical
Society," Vol- XL., 1870, page 1, where is given a full description of the Yellow river,
and its recent changes. See abridged acconnt in Appendix, p. 580.

t There exist greater obstructions at Tsi-ho-hien, 120 miles from the river's mouth.

X Iron Gate Pass.

Digitized by VjOOQIC


auited to the riyen and shallow seas on which they are employed. These
journeys are performed by coasting roond the gulf, and as the water for
some distance from the shore is very shallow the sea never rolls in heavifyy
and it is always possible to anchor in the event of a foul wind.

The principal trade of Tieh-mun-kwan is with Tien-tsin, though Junks
bound to and from all parts of the gulf are to be found there. The el^ports
are chiefly salt, cotton, dates, &c. ; the imports paper, timber, sea-weed,
beans, sugar, and a few British cotton goods and lead. More than three-
fourths of the whole export trade is salt which is largely manu&ctured in
the neighbourhood.

This place is at the lower limit of the habitable region. Between it and
the sea is one immense mud-flat stretching away far on both sides of the
river, which in the summer is for the most part covered with reeds which
are collected for fuel by a race of miserable reed-cutters, and which is
the resort of vast number of wild fowl, swans, geese, pelicans, &c ; when
the river is in flood this tract is totally submerged.

For description of the upper part of this river and its navigation, see
Appendix, page 680.

AB0hmraffo. — ^The anchorage outside the bar, in 2 or 3 fathoms at low
water, is called Tai-ping-wan, where the larger trading junks, which
cannot cross the bar to enter the river, remain during the transhipment
of their cargoes. Snuiller junks lie within the entrance points of the
river, eastward of the village and on the same side. Tieh-mun-kwan is
the highest place to which they ascend for the purposes of trade.

TZBBS. — ^It is high water, full and change, off the Ta-tsing ho at 4h.
This observation is imperfect but agrees with other tidal observations made
between this and the Fei ho, see page 516. At neaps, when the river is
not in inundation, the flood tide is said to be perceptible 'about 10 miles
up the river, and at springs, occasionally, as high up as Tieh-mun-kwan.
According to information obtained in 1868 by Mr. Ney Elias the average
rise and fall of tide inside the bar was 2^ feet, more at springs and less at
neaps. According to the actual observation by tide gauge in 1860, at
15 miles to the north-westward, Lieut. Bullock recorded the rise at neaps
as 8 feet, whilst the spring rise off the Chi ho, by tide gauge also, was
10 J feet. If both accounts be correct it follows that the bar and estuary
are raised above the level of low water, and this raising of its bed is a
peculifurity of the Yellow river noticed centuries ago* ; and it is known
that the bar of the Chi ho, a few miles to the north-westward, is 2 feet
above the level of low water. Outside the bar the rise at springs may
be taken to be 10 feet, at neaps 7 feet.

• See Biot's "Memoir on the changes of the Yellow Riycr," (Royal Geographical

Digitized by VjOOQIC


During the time H.M.S. Dove was anchored off the river in Dec. 1860,
the tide ran out for 8 honrs, and was still making out when she ' left ; this
was at neaps.

From 15 miles north of the Li-tsin ho, the flood sets to the north-west-
ward along the coasts and the ebb to the south-eastward, turning, but hot
very regularly, at high and low water, which is about the same time as
off the Fei ho, observations being made at the above place, and also at
20 miles N.E. of the Ta-ko ho ; but at the Lan-mun-sha banks, near the
shore in lat. 38° T N., the flood set south and the ebb north. Again, 10
miles east of the bar of the Li-tsin the flood set N.W. for 5 hours and the
ebb S.S.E. for 7 hours, and 10 miles farther east, the flood set N.W.
4 hours, and the ebb East, 8 hours. In the Lai-chau bight the tides are
very weak.*

BZSBC^TZOira. — If the Yellow river produces in the gulf of Pe-chili,
similar sand banks to those it formerly formed in the Yellow sea, the
approach to this river will from year to year become more difficult. There
is no record of any change since the year 1860, when it was clear of
approach from North and N.E., although there were indications of a bank
of 15 feet, 3 miles East of the outer or Tai-piug-wan anchorage. Since
the junction of the Yellow river with the Ta-tsing ho, its waters have
been laden with yellow clay which has been deposited in vast quantities
at its mouth, and in which the lead sinks from 4 to 6 feet, and so remark-
ably soft is this clay bottom that H.M.S. Odiuj drawing 16 feet, was able
to steam through it into 12 feet water, and to go ahead or astern at full
speed with ease, but yet was unable to turn, and was at last compelled to
back out for 2 miles before she could do so. The bar, described above,
would require examination before entering.

KAV-MVir-BBA (Barrier Gate sand) is the name given by the Chinese to
a sand-bank 27 miles N.W. by W. from the Ta-tsing ho bar. In surveying
this coast H.M.S. Dove near high water got amongst a maze of sand-banks
in lat. 38° 8' N., long. 118° 11' E., and was ashore for 30 hours. There
are indications of shoal water 7 miles to the eastward of this position.
Two wrecks were seen between this and the same river, the only wrecks
ever met with in the gulfs.

Tbe TArBJBkX KO-t — ^From the Li-tsin ho to the Ta-san ho the low
shore is extremely irregular in outline, broken by large openings, and to
all appearance utterly devoid of vegetation, and sand-banks extend in

* The observations on the tidal streams in the offing are by J. M. Hockly, Esq.,
Master, K.N., H.M.S. Odin, 1860.

t See Sketch of the entrance of the Ta-san ho, scale m = 1 inch, on Admiralty
Chart of Gulfs of Pe-chili and Liau-tnng, No. 1,256.

30251. K K

Digitized by VjOOQIC

514 GULF OF FE-CHILI. [chaf.x.

Muiic plAC<^ 3 or 4 miles off it. The Ta-san river is smaller than either
the Li-Uia or the Pel ho. Close off its east point of entrance^ called
Ta-nan-kaa or Ta-kau» is a low island on the western point of which is a
village, and on the eastern the Siau-shin miau (Little Spirit temple)
ainonpit some trees and sand hUls. The channel takes a nortlierly
diri'ctiou through the outside hanks^ the bar (having 1^ to 2 feet water ia
lX«c(>mt)er in 1860) being at its outer part, and marked bj a beacon on
one side of the channel.

The Ta-san ho is called ou old maps the northern estuary of the Laoa-
hwang ho or Old Yellow river, one of the outlets of which it has been
lit wveral period^j, (although the Ta-tsing ho appears to have been the
piincipttl one) since the eighth century before the Christian era.* It is
also called Ta-ko ho.

•mypltoa*— In December 1860, there were six Shanghai junks inside
the bar loading with prunes, and several small Tientsin vessels. The
junkmen said there was a small town called Shing-tsi-kiai at 50 11 (17 miles)
up the river, and that the district city of Hai-fung or Hai-ping was 150
li or 100 miles higher up ; at which places a small trade waa carried on, the
chief imports being com, and the only export a kind of prune of a red colour
called hiing-tsau-urh. This river is the boundary between the provinces
of Chili and Shantung.

ASPBOT Of COAST. — ^In coasting along this shore in hazy weather, its
appearance is very peculiar all objects being ridiculously magnified. The
small villages start out of the mist like huge towns, and men loom like
towers, whilst the shores vanish on either hand in long, finely tapering

The description of one of these villages named Tang-tau pu will suffice
for all. It contained 30 mud hovels situated on a sand heap about 10
feet above the level of the surrounding country, which was perfectly
flat and very sandy, growing a coarse kind of grass wliich the natives
collect for fiiel. The country around was totally uncultivated, the
villagers stating that in consequence of there being so much sand and
salt in the ground, no plants would grow. Their chief article of diet
was a kind of cake made of the seeds of a wild plant called by them
Hwang-seu. They described themselves as wretchedly poor, gaining their
livelihood by fishing during the summer months, but that in the winter
the fish deserted their shores and the sea near the coast was frozen to
the depth of 3 to 6 feet.

These villages are built on the sand so insecurely that gales sometimes
destroy them. At Siau-tsin pu a large village, in 38° 24' N., the high

* Memoiie sur les changements da cours inf^rieur du fleuve Jaune, by M. Ed. Biot,

Digitized by VjOOQIC


tides sweep the adjoining country in summer, but in winter, owing
to the sea near the coast being frozen, the water does not rise over the
beach. They dry the Kala, a species of cockle, and sell it to the Canton
and Fo]^ien junks, under the name of Han«kan. The shells of a very
large species of oyster, called Muli, is also collected for sale to the druggists,
it being supposed to have medicinal properties. Its habitat is a small
stream, south of the Ta-tsing ho, in lat. 37° 36' N. ; the stream is not

Tbe CBI BO. — Between the Ta-san ho and the Chi ho the sand plain
is somewhat higher, and the beach steep at high water ; at low tide it
would dry about a mile out. Chi-kau is a small village on the south point
of entrance of the, Chi ho, inhabited by fishermen in a condition of abject
poverty. Junks of 5 to 20 tons bring millet from Tientsin in exchange
for fish. The surrounding country is totally uncultivated, and at Chi-kau
its appearance is uninviting and desolate in the last degree.

The Chi ho, into which no freshwater stream enters, is a salt-water
creek, which enters the sea through the banks in an easterly direction by
a narrow tortuous channel, about 3 miles in length, and 40 to 50 yards
wide, having a bar outside nearly dry at low water. It runs up about
3 miles to some villages, is 60 to 70 yards wide, and carries 15 to 16 feet
water inside the entrance, which is a cable broad. The springs rise
about 9 feet, the neaps 7 feet.

The anchorage off this river is open from North to South. The water
is very shoal, there being only 4 fathoms at 8 miles, and 2 fathoms at
2 miles firom the entrance. There are also shoals of 7 feet at 4 miles
from the mouth of the river ; a clump of trees bearing S.W. ^ W. clears
the north shoal. Small vessels can close the shore at half-tide on that
bearing to about l^ miles, in 12 feet water. The passage over the baa*
should not be attempted without previously buoying it ; and it is not safe
for a boat to come down from Chi-kau pn the ebb, after sunset, unless the
banks are uncovered sufficiently to define the deep-water channel which is
very, winding.

COAST between tlie CHZ BO and tlie PBZ BO.— Between the Chi ho
'and the Pei ho the soundings are still shoal, and the depths only 4 fathoms
at 7 or 8 miles from the coast. The sandp dry out at low water to a
distance of 1^ miles, and are so hard that men can walk on them without
inconvenience. About 8 miles south of the Pei ho there is an inlet which
maybe mistaken for a river, and into which the water flows at half flood.
At two places between the Chi ho and Pei ho the sea overflows the shore
at very high tides, but only to the depth of a few inches ; the country
inside is a plain of sand, apparently dry, except a few places which are
inundated at the top of the tide, and is almost entirely uncultivated. There
appears to be almost an unbroken line of sandy beach at the high-water

KK 2

Digitized by VjOOQIC

516 THE PEI HO. [cHAP.x.

kmif raised safldently to be aboye the4nflaence of ordinary tides. For
5 or 6 milas aoath of the Pel ho the edges of the mad flats are covered
with amaD iiahing weirs.

TIW— It Is high water, foil and change, off the Chi ho at 4 h., and
off the Ta-taing ho and the Lan-man-sha, about 4h. 10 m. At the
former plaee fringe rose 10^ feet ; at the latter, neaps 8 feet. At
20 miles off the eoast, it is high water half an hour earlier. Near the
ahora the tidal streams are very weak.

The Chi ho bar most be quite 2 [feet above the level of low-water
springs, for the tide rose from 2 to 8 feet outnde before it began to rise
on the bar, on which a depth of 4 to 6 inches remained during 3 horns.
In the river the ebb tide ran 9 hours.

and mammMm — See page 529.

Tko MU MO or White River, called also the Tientsin ho, is the largest
stream between the Tellow river and the Great Wall, and drains all that
part of the Great Plain east of Shan-si and south of the edge of the table
land, its various branches affording water communication through most
parts of Chili. Its extreme length from its source to the sea is about
270 miles. The Pei ho is the great highway to Peking, the capital of
China. The important citj and treatj port of Tientsin also stands on
this river at its junction with the Grand Canal, of which it is the northera
terminus. More correctlj speaking, it is the Tu ho which joins the Pei
ho at Tientsin, which river rises near where the Yellow river enters the
Great Plain, about 300 miles to the south-westward, the Grand Canal
joining the Yu ho about 150 miles to the southward.

The Pei ho, running through an alluvial country is very tortuous, the
distance from the Ta-ku forts to Tientsin being 30 miles by land and 50
by water. It has the same characteristics as other similar rivers, being
deep off the steep banks and shallow off the shelving ones. No peculiar
difficulties in its navigation, from the entrance up to Tientsin, are met by
vessels drawing from 10^ to 11 feet. In fact the navigation of the river is
too simple to require directions ; a mid-channel course inclining into the
hends and slightly avoiding the points being the best. With long vessels
'there are some points which will require considerable care and skill in

* See Admiralty Charts :— -The Coast rom Chi-kau to Ning-hai, including the
Pei ho, and Sha-lui-tien banks, No. 2,732, scale m =0-2 of an inch. Also, the Pei ho, from
entrance to Tienstin, Sheets 1 and 2, Nos. 2,663, 2,654, scales m « 2*4 inches ;
Tientsin to Tungchow, and Tungchow to Peking, Nos. 257, 258, scales m = 2-2 inches.

Digitized by VjOOQIC


turning. If the vessel is drawing more than 8 feet there are two places
that must be passed at high water. One of tiiese shoal places, having
only 7 feet water at low tides, is off the brick-kilns about 9 miles below
Tientsin ; the other, of 6^ feet, is in the long broad reach, 3 milea below
the city.

At Tientsin the river is 200 feet wide ; above this it soon contracts
and becomes too shallow even for gun-boats. The Kestrelj of 6^ feet
draught, ascended it about 6 miles, and found a reach with onlj 4 and
5 feet in it at high water, the rise and fall of tide there being 3 to 4 feet.
From Tientsin there is a water communication to Tung*chow bj means
of large boats and rafts to within 10 miles of Peking. Small junks from
the Grand Canal navigate as far as Yung-liang-hien, 66 miles above

Tientsin (heavenly ferry) stands at the junction of the Yu ho and Pei
ho, which meet east and west, their comingled waters flowing directly
south ; the former, here called the Tun-liang ho, having run a course
of 300 miles, tiie latter 220 miles. The walled city stands at the south-
eastern comer formed at the junction, and is about a mile square, its
suburbs extending east and south along both shores of the rivers for about
2 miles.

Tientsin is a treaty port and has a consular establishment. It is the
sea port of Peking, and the largest and most important city in the north
of China. It has trade with Siam and Cochin China, as well as with all
the ports of China. Both strategically and commercially it is the key of
the capital.

Tungchow is 90 miles above Tientsin by water and 63 miles by road.
All boats here unload their passengers and cargoes, which are conveyed
by a broad avenue, 11 miles long, to the capital. Its streets are straight
and paved, with raised footpaths at their sides.

Tbe BAS of tbe Pet bo, the Chinese name of which is Lan-kiang sha,
is about 2 miles in length, in a N.W. by W. and S.E. by E. direction, and
consists of hard mud. Being now well buoyed* there is no difficulty in
crossing it, and there are also beacons on the flats near the forts which
serve as leading marks. The bar channel is wide.

The shoalest part of the bar is three-quarters of a mile in extent,
commencing at 4 miles below the outer forts. About the middle of the
channel, at 2| miles S.E. by E. ^ E. of the south cavalier of the south fort,
there is an elbow or bend in the fairway, at which part there are only 1^
feet at low tides, but the bottom is very soft mud. Farther out there are 2

* See Admiralty Chart of the Fei ho, from the entrance to Tientsin, Sheet 1.
No. 2,563 ; scale, m >» 2*4 inches. The harbour-master of Taku reported, in 1869, that
the Admiralty survey of 1860 was then incorrect.

Digitized by VjOOQIC

618 THE PBI HO. [cHAP.x.

feet, but Uie boltom i« hard mud, or sand, so (hat yeaBete that cao crosa thi^
cao aluo patts the elbow, although in less than their own draughts M the
entrance to the bar, the northern banks, like those <^ the Vetkrttkog^ are ci
hard sand, and like them also tail away to the southward.

At high water nprings from 11 to 13 feet may be carried over the bar,
the height of the tide being mnoh influenced by the direction and force of
the winds ; at neaps, there is at times as little as 6 or 7 feet at high water.
In November, the channel of the bar becomes somewhat shallower, and
harder than in the early part of the season, the outer part l)ecomes as
hhoal as at the elbow, the whole channel much narrower, aud uneYa%
being full of knolls of 6 to 12 inches eleTation* and the.northan spit much
(*lougatcd« Few vessels attempt to enter after the last days of Novembeiv
for the river is generally frozen over early in December, and remains sq
till early in March, The banks off the coast dry out 1^ miles, but on the
borders of the channel they dry out 4 miles. - They are of very aoft-^ud,
and steep towards the river as far down as the elbow, their edges always
uQcoveriog first. The tail of the northern bank is uneven and of hard river
sand, which appears to be drifted into the channel by north ear north-east
gales. The banks are not always easily distinguished when cov^ed, ibr at
high springs the ripples over them are not visible.

» y o T» and BSAOOVS. — ^There is' no light at present to mark the ap-
proach to the Pei ho, but it is proposed to erect a lighthouse on Sha-lm-tien
island (page 529). There are three buoys to mark the passage over the
bar, and five beacons to mark the banks of the riyer, thi*ee on the north side
and two on the south.*

Batranoa Buoy is a red iron buoy, on the outer edge of the bar, to
mark its commencement and the entrance of the channel.

month Bvoy is a black iron buoy, on the south side of the bar, to mark
a bend in the channel.

Xnaar Buoy is a red and black striped iron buoy, on the inner end of the
bar, to mark the entrance to the channel. This buoy isf about one mile
S.S.E. of North Fort.

Mttd Baaeon painted ivkiief is on the north bank at the mouth of the

Borth Bank Marks are two dO feet poles with cages, on the north bank
at the mouth of the river.

sovtii Bank Marks are two poles 30 feet high with cages^ on the south
bank near the mouth of the river.

"^ These descriptions of the buoys and beacons are precisely as given in the Chinese
Official Xiist, in which no exact positions are assigned to the beacons, though they would
ssem to be near the forts,
t Commander A. G. Wootten, B^., H.M.S. Elk.

Digitized by VjOOQIC


These buoys are remoted before the: river becomeB frozen up, and the
channel is re-biioyed every spring. They are often washed away.

AKOftoAACMfcr— Vessehj of large draught, say 24 feet, may lie in nearly
their own depth about 8^ miles from the forts, the mud being very soft, so
that they may ground at low water. The best pofiLHion is at that distance,
S.E. by E. of the south cavalier, the left and lai^est of the five seen. This

Online LibraryGreat Britain. Hydrographic OfficeThe China Sea directory: Comprising the coasts of China from Hong Kong to ... → online text (page 59 of 72)