Thursday, August 27, 2009

China # 15 Yangtze river Episode 3 Three Gorges Dam

This enormous dam is an amazing engineering feat and it's very difficult from the pictures here to actually convey the depth of these locks. Before we actually sailed through the lock system we were taken to the visitors centre to see the model of the dam and learn a little of it's history. We had also hoped to see views of the dam. Unfortunately this was the wettest of days and it was very misty so the views were almost non-existent. Below leaving the safety of the boat.
Nevertheless, we appreciated the mammoth task it had been to build this dam. It has been quite a controversial project because of the displacement of over a million people, the flooding of archaeological sites and the changes to the ecology. If you are interested you can read more about Three Gorges Dam
Below is a (not very good) merge of two halves of the model, but it will give you an idea of the size of the area involved.
Below is a model of the ship locks that we went through, it takes several hours to get through all the locks.These are some of the sights we saw at the centre

I was not as brave as some so didn't make it the top in the rain. We gathered afterwards that the weather is nearly always wet in this area.Below view of the dam.I think everyone was glad to get back aboard the boat and dry out.
It was then time to sail through the locking system.It was a fascinating process.
Once the huge gates are closed it actually only took about eight minutes to fill the locks and despite the rain we all made sure we were out on deck to watch the process but only for the first couple of times, it was then inside to the warmth and comfort of the lounge area.
I'm not sure if these pictures will convey the size of these locks. As the boat enters the lock you feel quite small with the sides towering some 180+ feet above you. It really is amazing to see the boats rising so quickly once the lock fills with water. The fact that this actually takes less than ten minutes is even more amazing!
It took quite a lot of skill to pack as many boats as possible alongside the cruise ships.This temple was close to where we boarded the boat, we didn't have time to look inside but it did look well cared for and somehow out of place alongside market stalls (sorry poor picture taken from a video).The rain did eventually stop and once through the locks it back to the scenery.
Despite the weather it was a memorable day and I've enjoyed sharing it with you all..

2008: Witty Wednesday-62
2007: Fun Monday-31

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At 27/8/09 14:59, Blogger Beccy said...

Those locks are huge. Did they make you feel claustrophobic?

At 27/8/09 15:47, Blogger ChrisB said...

I didn't feel at all claustrophobic. However, it was only later that I read a lot of the dams in China were not safe due to poor construction and I was glad I didn't know that at the time!

At 27/8/09 23:07, Blogger karisma said...

The pictures are great. Thanx for the virtual tour! After reading your comment though I don't think I would go for the real one! Scary!

At 28/8/09 15:36, Anonymous Karmyn R said...

I am so impressed by how much you saw while in China - and you were only there for a relatively short amount of time! Your trip was packed with interesting sights!

At 30/8/09 11:05, Blogger MarmiteToasty said...

WOW WOW WOW...... I didnt know that existed lol ...... what a huge place....



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