Tuesday, June 10, 2008

China Day 11: In Which We Set Sail For Real

After breakfast, we returned to our posts and were pleased to observe the Princess Elaine rise 70 feet without incident. On the left as we approached the dock we could see one of the few Christian churches in Yichang:
I can't find any info on just what church this is, but it's pretty!

We then began our cruise through the Xiling Gorge, in heavy mist alternating with light rain. The gorge cliffs rose tall to either side of the river
and the peaks were hidden with decorative swirls of mist.
Occasional seasonal waterfalls tumbled down the slopes.
Most of the vegetation on the cliff walls is non-native cypress trees, sown by plane in the 80s to check erosion. The cypresses certainly seem to have done well!

There's a lot of commercial shipping on the Yangtze, especially coal barges like these:
as well as occasional sampans sculled by the local people:
Amazingly, the locals are actually farming the negligible amounts of flat land available along this gorge:
They cut terraced ledges to keep it all from sliding straight into the river.

At this point, the chilly breeze drove me inside to the ship's library, where I knitted and chatted with a fellow librarian in our group. Because of the delays at the lock this morning, we are switching the schedule: we will tour the Three Gorges Dam before lunch, and the rest of the afternoon will be spent in its ship locks.
What I didn't realize is that the Three Gorges Dam is at the upstream end of the Xiling Gorge; we won't get there until this afternoon.

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