Great Britain. Hydrographic Office.

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

. (page 7 of 72)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

KaZkoon, and pass the little island of Pulo Laut on whichever side seems

Having passed Macassar f strait, a vessel making for the channel between
Basilan and the west point of Mindanao must take care to keep well to
the eastward, if the winds will permit, so that she may not be drifted
among the Sulu islands by the westerly currents. If she does get to lee-
ward of them, good channels will be found between the isles situated to the
west of Sulu ; and then crossing the Sulo or Mindoro sea^ the west coasts
of Mindanao, Negros, Panay, Mindoro, and Luzon must be kept. At the
opening of the channel between Mindanao and Negros, and also, that
between Panay and Mindoro, strong winds from N.E.,J and westerly

* See Admiralty Charts : — ^Eastern Archipelago, sheet 2, No. 941 b; scale, c/«5*7
inches. Also, harbotirs and anchorages on Java coasts, No. 982 ; and Soerabaja, Baly»
and Sapoedie straits, irith anchorages. No. 934.

-f See Admiralty Charts : — Macassar strait, north and south parts. No. 2,636 and
S,637 ; and Macassa^ road and ports in Macassar strait, No. 2,662.

Also, Sola Archipelago, No. 2,576 ; and Basilan channel, No. 961 ; Sulo or Mindoro
sea, eastern part. No. 2,578 ; St. Bernardino strait and adjacent islands, No. 2,577 ; and
China Sea, northern portion, eastern sheet, No. 2,661 b.
• X The N.E. trade-wind and drift eurrent of the Pacific.

Digitized by VjOOQIC

46 METEOEOLOaY — ^NAViaATION, [chap.i,

carrents are generally encountered ; it is necessary, therefore, to guard
against these currents in passing from one island to another, so as not to be
set to leeward.

If a ship leaves Basilan strait with steady Vinds from S.W. and South,
she may either steer directly for the south point of Panay, or keep rather
eastward of its meridian ; but if the winds are variable and uncertain she
should keep close to Mindanao till point Galera is reached, and then cross
over, taking care to keep near Negros island.

From thence steer northward along the west coast of Panay, taking every
precaution against the dangers which lie to the westward. She may then
•pass either east or west of the islands * lying southward of Mindoro, and
enter Mindoro strait. If intending to take the channel east of the Apo
shoal with easterly winds keep 2 or 3 leagues from the coast of Mindoro ;
but with a westerly wind take care not to go more than 9 or 10 miles
from the coast until north of the Apo banks, thus clearing Mindoro
strait ; and after having doubled the promontory of Calavite, and passed
Luban and Goat islands, the coast of Luzon must be followed up to cape
Bolinao (Piedra point). Having reached this cape you may be pretty
sure of passing westward of the Pratas, and fetching Macao, if not Hong
!piong. But it is more prudent to make cape Bojeador before crossing for
the coast of China. See also passage from Manila to Hong Kong on
page 36.

AltematlTe Bonte flrom Celebes Sea.f — ^But after passing Macassar
strdt, if not intending to pursue the route through the Sulu sea, a vessel
may enter the Pacific between Celebes and Mindanao. To do so, if the
wind permit, she will steer direct for the Sarangani islands off the' south
extremity of the latter, pass on either side of them, and then with the wind
atN.E. endeavour to fetch between the Meangis and Tulur islands, in
order to double the north cape of Morty. But if unable to take so
northerly a route, she ought to pass through Siao passage, a channel reputed
safe and lying between Siao and Tagulanda, high islands to the north-east
of Celebes, or through other of the neighbouring Sangir channels, and
then continue eastward so as to double the North cape of Morty. Having
entered the Pacific, pass westward of the Pellew islands, and afterwards,
sail to the northward, so as to enter tibe China sea between Luzon and

* See Admiralty Chart, No. 971.

t See Admiralty Chart, eastern part of the Celebes Sea, No. 2,575 ; Fhilipine islands,
and Moluccas, No. 943 ; and Luzon, northern portion, with the Bashee and Ballintang;
channels, No. 2,454.

Digitized by VjOOQIC


latter Lalf of December, January, and February it is better to proceed by
Pitf s passage, and thence by Pitt, Gilloloy or Dampier strait into the Pacific
ocean, than to take the route by Macassar strait.*

If, as often happens, a ship pass through Sunda strait instead of by the
south coast of Java, she would make for the strait of Stdayer south of
Celebes, and thence for Boeton strait ; or, if the wind be Westerly, pasa
sooth of Boeton island, and between it and Wangi Wangi, and thence,
if the wind be fresh and towards the north-west, towards XuUa Bessy
(Soela Besi) island north of Bouro. This is an indispensable precaution
for slow sailing yessels in December and the early pai*t of January, because
about this period the wind becomes variable, and veers to N.N.W. with
strong southern currents. The winds and currents in Pitt's passage are Ycry
rariable, and it may be crossed anywhere ; it is prudent, however, when
northerly winds prevail^ to keep the weather shore.

In case of falling to leeward of the north-west point of Bouro (Boero)^
every exertion should be made to pass it quickly. Instead of working to
windward ix) do this, it is better to run southward of the island, and pass
into Pitt strait to the eastward of it. During the N.W. monsoon vessels
which leave Amboina make to the northward along the east coast of
Bouro, where the winds are variable and squalls come off the landi and
currents are rarely strong and sometimes favourable for the run north-
wards ; while beyond Manipa and the channel which separates it from
Geram, southerly currents prevail in this season. Having reached
Pitt* s passive the navigator will be guided by the directions given below.

B J tbe straits Bast of Java. — If proceeding by either the strait of Baly,
Lombok, Alias, or Sapie, make for that of Salayer, crossing the eastern part of
the Java sea and then proceed as above. Coming from the Cape of Good
Hope, Ombay strait is preferable, it being the most direct, and more open
than those farther west, and the winds being generally less variable there^
Enter it from the southward of Sumba, and aftei-wards steer to pass westward
of Bouro into Pitt's passage, steering East; but if this be impracticable, pasa
eastward between it and Manipa as before directed. If no current be
found westward of Bouro, then steer direct through Pitt strait ; but if it be
found setting to the northward, keep off the islands which border the
northern side of the strait.f

♦ See Admiralty Charts : — Eastern Archipelago, sheets 3 and 4, No. 942 a, and
942 B.

t See Admiralty Plans -.—Anchorages in Celebes, No, 981 j Anchorages in the
Moluccas, No. 980.

Digitized by VjOOQIC


My Bampler stnat.—- Dampier strait separates the northern groups of
the Moluccas from New Guinea. The passage into the Pacific bj it seems
favourable for good sailing vessels, especiallj in January and February,
when northerly winds are getting more easterly ; but in March, when those
winds become weaker, the Gillolo strait is to be preferred, for it is wider,
and a ship can work to windward both night and day in it, and the currents
are seldom very strong.

On leaving Pitt strait, and also that of Dampier, you must take great
care not to be drifted on the north coast of New Guinea, and should
therefore endeavour to round point Pigot closely, looking out i^harply for
Buccleugh bank, which lies eastward of the east coast of Waygiou.

Pitt strait should only be taken when it cannot be avoided. In this
case a ship should keep the middle of the channel to avoid being set to
either side by the tides, and should therefore make short boards, not
approaching either shore, and should try to make Jackson isle^ and pass
5 miles to the northward of it. When she has passed the reef which lies
E. by N. from the eastern extremity of Batanta island she must steer
northward for point Pigot.

To enter Dampier strait, on passing the meridian of the east point of
Obie Major, steer east to pass between the Canary islands and Pulo Popa.
Sometimes vessels pass between the Boe islands and Pulo Popa (this last
channel being advantageous with north-westerly winds), and then run for
Fisher island off cape Mabo, and from thence pass between^ Pigeon island
and Foul island, and steer to sight Pigot point, so as not to be horsed on
to the coast of New Guinea by the northerly swell which prevails in^the
offing. The Buccleugh bank must be carefully avoided.

Tides In Bampier Strait. — The tides are very strong in Dampier strait,
and the currents very irregular, their rates varying from 1 to 5 miles an
hour. In the height of the N.W. monsoon, in the narrow pai-t of the
strait between Pigeon isle and Foul isle, the ebb at springs runs 4 to 5
knots to the E.N.E. for 6 or 8 hours, and between 1 and 3 knots at neaps.
The flood sets S.W. for 3 or 4 hours, but is weak. During the height of
the S.E. monsoon in this part the flood runs West for 8 or 10 hours at a
time, and turns successively W.S.W., S.W., and S.W. by S. ; it then
attains its greatest velocity, which at springs sometimes exceeds 5 miles an
hour, and is reduced to 4 knots at neaps. The ebb at this season runs
E.N.E. or N.E. ; it is not strong, nor of long duration.

Bampler Strait to cshlna. — On leaving Dampier strait, when a ship is
in the Pacific, she should run down her easting quickly, keeping in a low
latitude or between the parallels of 1° 30' and 3° N., which she can
easily do, sometimes even in December and January. She will thus be

Digitized by VjOOQIC


enabled conveDientlj to pass either east or west of the Pelew islands,
but this depends on the sailing powers of the ship and the strength of the
NJS. monsoon. A vessel must not go far to the eastward for fear of falling
in with the islands of Ngoli or Groulou and Yap or Ouap, near which, in
November and December, heavy squalls from the westward are encountered.
From the Pelew islands steer for the Bashee islands, allowing for the
westerlj trade driil-current, which runs at the rate of 12 to 15* miles a
day. From December to the middle of February it is more prudent to pass
east of the Pelew islands.

Should a vessel leave Dampier strait towards the end of the N.E. mon-
fioon, she should not run far east into the Pacific. At the end of February
and in March ships can p&ss westward of the Pelew islands, as the winds
at this time often vary and shift to E.N.E. When the north part of Luzon
is reached the China sea can be entered by either the Bashee or Balling-
tang channels. But at the commencement of the monsoon it is necessary to
paa& north of the Bashee islands, approaching the coast of Formosa, and it
is best with daylight and fine weather to pass between the South cape
and Vele Bete rocks. During the night or in bad weather, if prevented
from taking this route, a vessel should pass cbse north of the Bashee
islands. Whichever may be the channel by which the China sea is
entered, a course should be adopted to sight if possible Pedro Blanco, so
as to be sufficiently to windward to take either the Tathong or Lema

ny cuuoio strait. — The wide strait west of Gillolo and north of Pitt
passage is divided into two by the island of Geby, and the part between
Geby and Gillolo is called Gillolo passage. The other part, between Geby
snd Waygiou is Bougainville strait. AU the channels leading from Pitt's
passage to Gilolo strait are free of danger ; but in the N.W. monsoon that
between Pulo Gasses and Kekik island is preferable as being the widest,
for the other broad channel between Pulo Pisangand the Boe islands is too
much to leeward at this season. To enter Gillolo passage between Gasses
andEle^k, sail closely round the southern point of Gasses, so as not to miss^
the channel by the drift of the easterly current which often prevails
there. After passing either east or west of Pulo Gasses, continue on
between cape Tabo and Geby island, and, if at night, give a good berth to
Weda island. However, it ^is prudent, when the wind is light, to ^keep
as dose as possible to the islands on the west side of the strait on account
oftheN.E.and easterly currents. Should the winds be contrary, every
endeavour should be made to get to the north of Geby as quickly as
possible, afterwards passing southward between it and Gagy, and entering
the Pacific by one of the channels near Syang. However, when it can

* According to the Adnuralty^current chart, it runs 18 to 30 miles a day, increasing to
24 to 42 near Luzon and Formosa.

80251, D

Digitized by VjOOQIC


be done, the west channd between Gillolo and the Shanpee isles, or one
of those comprised between these and Syang, is preferable, as with a
northerly wind a ship would be able to pass to windward of Aiou and Asia
islands. Should there be any difficulty in passmg west of Asia isles, the
channel whidi is formed by them and Aiou can be adopted, or even between
this latter and the north coast of Waygiou; Having gained the Pacific, en-
deavour to make easting as quickly as possible between the parallels of
V S(y and 3° N., taking care not to get north of the latter paraM ; and
so attain the latter part of the route, above described, on to China.

OMMAT BASTSSW BOVTS to CHZBTA. — This route has been
adopted with great success when the cape of Good Hope has been
left in September.

From south of the Cape, a vessel should steer East, keeping between the
parallels of 33*^ and 40° S., or thereabouts, as fer as the meridian of cape
Leeuwin, Australia. From thence one of two routes may be taken; that
south of Tasmania, or that by Bass strait.

The first was adopted by Captain Butter of the ship Walpole. He left
the cape at the end of September ; on the 31st of October he sighted the
south-west point of Tasmania ; on November 18th he sighted the island
of Aneiteum, one of the new Hebrides ; he left these islands a little to
the west, crossed the equator in long. 161^ 40' E. and crossed the archi-
pelago of the Carolines. On December 21st he passed the Marianne
islands ; on the 30th he entered the Bashee channel, and anchored at Macao
on January 1st.

Thus the voyage lasted three months ; that is, it occupied only little
more than the time that, without steam, is generally taken in making a
passage by the direct route to China against the N.E. monsoon.

The passage by Bass strait was taken hj the Athenian in 1804. On
the 1 1th of October she passed Amsterdam island ; entered Bass strait on
the 28th of October ; passed west of New Caledonia and the Hebrides, and
then between these latter and the Solomon isles. She crossed the line in
160° E. long., and sighted the cost of China on the 28th of December.

Although the latter route is somewhat shorter, it was the opinion of
Krusenstem that the passage south of Tasmania is preferable. His opinion
was founded on meeting westerly winds in high latitudes, and that by
passing south of Tasmania, northerly winds and southerly currents, often
met with at the entrance of Bass strait, are avoided.

In the S.W. Monsoon.
The adverse voyage against the S.W. monsoon is best followed by
adopting one of the ensuing routes, according to the time of departure
from the ports of China.

Digitized by VjOOQIC


, iLPRXX. — ^By Palawan 9Mwave. — ^Yessels leaving the ooaat
of Cbina or Manila, and bound towards Sunda strait, in March, April,
or in the early part of Maj may expect a tedious passage down the China
sea if proceeding bj the old route which passes Polo Sapatu, particnlarly
if they do not sail before the 5th or 10th of April.

Whereas if the track be taken along the coast of Luzon, down the Pahi-
wan passage, along the coast of Borneo, past Direction island, round
Sorneton, and through the Carimata strait, passing close round the North
Watcher, and on for St. Nicholas point in Java, they are likely to cany
easterly winds, with fine weather, and a smooth sea the whole distance,
thus making a direct course, and will avoid calms. The current will also
be more &vourable than otherwise until May is well advanced.

In approaching Sunda strait the Java side should be steered for, and
kept aboard in May, as then the winds are light, those from south-east
prevailing at night, and from north-east during the day. This precantioa
will prevent the vessel being carried by the current to the westward of
the Button islet. This current runs constantly to the south-west in the
middle of the strait ; it is checked by the short flood, but runs strong with
a long ebb.

With reference to the above directions for making the passage from
China, and to prove the advantages of this easterly route, it may be stated
that, in April 1861, two American ships sailed from Fu-chau-fu ; one pro-
ceeded by Fulo Sapatu on the west side of the China sea, the other by
the Palawan passage and Carimata strait ; the latter ship passed Anjer
twenty days before the other.

The Harkaway^* on her passage in April and May 1862, carried an
easterly wind the whole way down, and had no occasion to anchor.

APSZK, MAT. — By tbe Suln and Celebes Seas.! — Quitting Hong Kong
or the Canton river at the end of April or beginning of May for Mindoro
strait, a ship should run as far south as the Macclesfield bank, if the wind
allow, Bo as to fetch the north-west extreme of Mindoro without tacking
in case of the wind shifting to S.W. From near the Macclesfield she
should stand S.E., holding her wind if it is at all to the S.W. ; and should
it not admit of her weathering Calavite point she should work along the
coast of Luzon, where with variable winds she will come up to the N.W.
extremity of Mindoro.

♦ Captain David W. Stephens, who is the author of the foregoing directions, re-
ceived through the Meteorological Department of the Board of Trade. See Admiralty
Qiarts:: —China Sea, Nos. 2,660 and 2,661 ; Eastern Archipelago, No. 94U; also
** China Sea Directory," VoL ii., Chapter I.

t From Becher's Sailing Directions. This is therein named the " First Eastern Route.'*
The Admiralty Charts required are enumerated in the preceding section.

D 2


zed by Google


The channel eastward of Apo bank should be chosen for passing
Mindoro strait, giving the Mindoro coast a berth of some miles if the
winds be variable, but if the S.W. wind be steady a berth of 9 or 10 nules
is necessary ; she wiU then pass the islands of Ambolon and Ylin at a
distance of about 15 miles.

Should the wind allow, the strait of Mmdoro may be crossed, passing
west of the Apo bank in the Northumberland channel formed by this
bank and the Calamianes. Then keep along the coast of Panay, working,
if necessary, at some distance from this island, according to circumstances ;
and the island of Quiniluban may be neared when passing the dry sand-
bank between it and Panay.

Having reached the south cape of Panay, stand for Basilan strait, making
it well to the southward and eastward should the wind be to the westward,
but steering direct for it if the wind be easterly. The S.W. extreme
of Mindanao being gained, it will be better to take Basilan strait than
any of those formed by the Sulu islands to the south-west, it being the
shortest route ; the Celebes sea will then be entered, and the ship will
make for the strait of Macassar.

Instead of persevering in working against S.E. winds at the entrance of
Basilan strait, it may be better to steer to the south-westward in order to
pass west of the Sulu archipelago, between Unsang the east point of
Borneo and Tawi-Tawi island. There are two small islands bearing S.S.E.
of the south-west point of the latter, between which and Sibutu island,
is a good channel leading du^ect into the Celebes sea. This channel is safe,
and easy of navigation both by night and day, four hours sufficing to pass
by it from sea to sea, while under similar circumstances it has sometimes
occupied four days in going from one sea to the other by the strait of
Basilan. The Sibutu passage however is not so easy of access as Basilan
strait, for it has to be approached through a dangerous archipelago.

To leave the Celebes sea, take either the Macassar strait or the Molucca
channel. Some navigators prefer the latter when the S.E. monsoon
prevails north of the equator. In fact, it is difficult, without a tedious
passage to windward, to reach Alias strait from the strait of Macassar ;
while by taking the Molucca channel the S.E. monsoon is found in a
latitude sufficiently to the eastward to enable you to take whichever eastern
channel is preferred. But vessels bound to Batavia or Sunda strait will
find Macassai' strait the better.

On leaving Basilan strait, if the easterly wind is well established, steer
so as to make cape Dondo to the S.S.E. or South ; but most generally,
from the winds veering westward near the north entrance of the strait,
and the current setting eastw^ard, it is more prudent to keep as mucli
to the westward as possible in order to sight point Kaniongan on the

Digitized by VjOOQIC


coast of Borneo. Off cape Rivers, the north-west point of Celebes, a ship
is somedmes set to the eastward bj the current* along the north coast,
and, after fruitless contest with it, is sometimes obliged to stand away
eastward for the Molucca channel.

Having entered Macassar strait, keep along the west coast of Celebes,
passing eastward of the Little Paternosters, and taking care of the Laurel
reef north of ^he Noesa Siri islands when passing Pulo Laut on the
Borneo side. Thence steer for Alias strait or one of the other straits
leading into the Indian ocean. But if bound to Batavia or Sunda strait
irom Macassar strait, if the wind "permit, steer so as to pass north of the
littie Paternosters, and keep along the coast of Borneo, guarding against
the dangers off it, as well inshore as to seaward. Then entering the Java
sea, Batavia or Sunda strait can be reached without difficulty.

A ship taking this route, and meeting with contrary winds from Basilan
strait, so as to be unable to reach Macassar strait, may take the Molucca
passage, and should then steer for the islands near the N.E. end of Celebes;
and passing between the islands of Banka and Bejaren, will clear the
N.JS. point of Celebes, and then steer to the southward through the
channel formed by Lisamatula, the eastern point of the Soela or XuUa
islands, -and Obie Major, which is the most frequented ; or if the wind
should not permit her reaching it, should take the Greyhound channel
between the islands Albion and Hammond, west of Xulla Taliabo.

When it is found difficult to get to the southward in the Molucca
channel, dull sailing vessels might try to do so by keeping near the west
coast of Gillolo ; thence they might enter the strait of Patientie between
Gillolo and Batchian, or the strait of Batchian formed by the island of
same name and Tawally and Marigorang.

However, a ship having reached the northern extremity of Gillolo or
Mortie in the height of the S.W. monsoon, should rather pass through
Gillolo channel than that of the Moluccas, because it leads more directly
to Pittf s passage, by which she can gain the eastern straits.

On leaving the] Molucca channel, the Timor strait or Ombay passage

may be adopted. The shortest route from Pitt's passage to the Indian

ocean during this season is then as follows. A ship should pass close by Obie

Major, in order easily to round the east coast of Bourou, and so pass

between Bourou and Manipa. She would then run to the southward into

*^e Banda sea, where the wind is generally E.S.E,; endeavour to pass east-

ard of Ombay, and having crossed the channel between Ombay and

Vctta, would follow the west coast of Timor, and enter the Indian ocean

etween Semao and Savu.

♦ Captain Spratly.

Digitized by VjOOQIC


MAT* Jir&T. — By tlie Vaolflc Ocean. — ^This route, which is adopted
from the middle of May to the end of July, lies by the Pacific Ocean east
of the Philipines, and through Pitt's passage.

August is too late to take this route, and a ship obliged to leave the
south of China then, should follow the coasts of Cochin China and Cam-
bodia as before directed, unless she be a bad sailer, when it will be better