A Journey on the
River Yangtze

Day 4: Buying in the river

Day four of our trip and all is going well. We arrive at the the confluence of the Yangtze and the Daning rivers. The city of Wushan, population 50,000 people, is one which will be impacted greatly by the rising waters of the dam reservoir. In fact, it will completely disappear under the water of the reservoir. 

After breakfast, we disembarked the Princess Sheena and traveled to the Daning River. When we had climbed from the boat up the roadway, one reason became clear why the dam is being built--the winter water level is extremely low (as shown in the photograph below). Having the reservoir will mean that the city will not have to depend on seasonal water levels for transportation. 

ThePrincess Sheena is shown here at the left of the picture. The passengers had to climb a long series of steps to meet the bus located on the high sand bank at the lower right corner of the picture which would take them to the Daning River. 

Once we arrived at the Daning River, we boarded two smaller boats for a trip up the Lesser or Minor Three Gorges.

Picture of the smaller boat which we traveled up the Lesser Three Gorges. 

Pulling away from the small dock area, we passed underneath a bridge. This, we were informed would be the height to which the water level will reach when the dam is completed. In other words, it would rise by about 80 m (about 240 feet). All of this gorge area and the photos you see here will change dramatically once the dam has been completed. 

The bridge shown here will equal the height of the water level once the dam is completed. The bridge will be dismantled so that it will not interfere with travel. 

As we travel through the Lesser Gorges, we again witness some spectacular scenery, as pictured below. 

Passengers in the boat take photos of the incredibly steep and spectacular gorges.

As the boat travels up the gorges, we see the awesome power of nature which has created this incredibly beautiful area, quiet and with some wilidlife andpeople. To see development in here is still surprising. 


Because of the temperate nature of the climate in the area, much of the available land is farmed, typically with citrus fruits such as oranges, which are picked and then transported on the Yangtze to various markets. 

Farmers tend to their crops as tourists pass by in the boats. 

Development and agriculture can also cause problems. Heavy rains in 1998 caused this asection of hillside to tbe washed away. This valley is extremely fertile but following the completion of the dam the whole area will be covered by many meters of water--it will be totally inaccessible. Farmers will have to move to higher ground to plant their crops. Do you think that they will be as successful as in this location? What are your reasons for thinking this way?

The huge gulley behind the green fields is the result of the heavy rains last year.   

Life goes on everyday in the gorges as tourists pass by. Farmers tend their crops, women wash the laundry, and people sell their goods at a market on the riverbank. 

Women washing the laundry on the river bank.

Market on the river bank.

Selling also occurs in the river itself!! How? Sellers attach bags to the end of sticks and then extend these out from the river bank to the passengers on the boats as they travel up and down the river. Sometimes, the sellers actually go out into this cold water with just shorts on!!!

Seller with a sitck attached to which is a bag with some gifts in it. He extends this to the passengers in the boats so they can buy from him.


Because the water level was so low in this river,
crew in the front of the boat had to use a pole to
get the craft through sections of the river.


Poling up a shallow section of the river.

Large white markers indicate the new water levels as different sections of the dam are completed. The top one represents the final water level in 2009. All buildings are constructed above this waterline. These buildings will be completed before 2003 so that people can move above the new waterline.

White markers indicate the different water levels as stages of the dam are completed.

Click here to follow the journey: 

Day 5: Hanging Coffins and Acrobats

Day 6: Hydrofoil to a Film Festival

Special Feature: The World's Largest Construction Project--The Three Gorges Dam

Click here to read about a Journey on the River Yangtze from the beginning.

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River Yangtze Home Page

Center for Global Environmental Education
Hamline University Graduate School of Education
1536 Hewitt Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55104-1284
Phone: 651-523-2480 Fax: 651-523-2987