Friday, 12 April 2013

From China (3)

Friday 12 April – Yangtze River Cruise (continued)
(The dates in the preceding post were originally accurate, but I have now corrected them).

The vessel moored for most of Thursday night, resuming the trip at about 6 am Friday morning, so as to hit the Wu Gorge at 7 am. While traversing this part of the river, a commentary was provided.  The enthusiasts among us gathered on the deck to observe things. The Wu Gorge is said to be the second of the three gorges. Please don't think that I'm unappreciative of the scenery, but for just about the whole of the length of the Yangtze that we've been on so far is fairly similar: that is, steep rocky cliffs on either side with the river itself being the lake formed by the Three Gorges dam. Some parts are narrower, thus constituting the various "gorges". We're told that, at full capacity, the surface of the water is 175 metres above sea level, and at present it's about 10 metres less than this. Hence, all the banks are clear of vegetation between the present level of the water and the maximum.

The included excursion this morning was a ferry trip for quite some distance up a tributary, the Daning River. This, too, was between steep, rocky cliffs, which were described as being the "Three Lesser Gorges". When the ferry terminated, we transferred to smaller boats, to travel a little further up the river.

The transfer point was at the town of Wushan, apparently rebuilt as part of the construction project of the Three Gorges Dam so as to be above the water. At this point, the cliffs give way to sloping banks, covered with tiers of rather untidy mid and high rise apartment blocks.
We have seen a little agriculture where the cliffs on either side are a little less steep. However, nowhere on the admittedly small sample of the river we have seen so far have there been flood plains.

We declined the optional excursion this afternoon, which was a visit to an island at the entrance to Qutang Gorge. This left us with a couple of "unoccupied" hours – the biggest gap in daytime activities we've had since the tour started!

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