Early this morning we’re sailing through Qutang Gorge. Ben, our river guide, narrates along the way. Around 9.30am, after another huge breakfast, we arrive in Wushan. From the Viking Emerald we walk across the floating quayside and join smaller tourist boats for a trip into the Lesser Three Gorges. We have a boat exclusively for our guests and three local guides to interpret the route. Wushan lies on the northern bank of the Yangtze where it meets its tributary, the Daning. After construction of the Three Gorges Dam, the region was flooded and the original town was submerged while a new town was constructed on the hills above it. The Daning River winds 20 miles through what is known as the Lesser Three Gorges – the Dragon Gate Gorge, the Misty Gorge and the Emerald Gorge. We see so called hanging coffins, wooden coffins placed in small crevices in the cliff sides. We can also hear monkeys, but only one or two of our party sees a fleeting glimpse. However, everyone sees a herd of white goats. One of our local guides, George, has produced a nice souvenir book about the area and he does a roaring trade.
Leaving Wushan we sail 25 miles along Wu Gorge, known for its deep valleys, forest-covered mountains, rising mist and beautiful scenery. Its tea time around 4pm, and Jin our programme director, gives a presentation about the Three Gorges Dam in preparation for tomorrow’ visit.
The daily briefing and dinner follows, in readiness for our transit through the Three Gorges ship locks. The outside decks are popular as we enter lock number 1. Three hours later a few of us are still up and about as we complete our transit and tie up at Yellow Ox Temple. In the meantime, some dubious dancing has been taking place in the Emerald Bar Lounge on Deck Six!