Yangtze River boatmen, Wanxian, China

Not selected for Google Earth or Google Maps after a second review [?]

Comments (3)

Ian Stehbens on May 25, 2007

The evil river spirits are placated by the wearing of red singlets. These boatmen know all to well the evil of the great river, Changjiang, or as it is known around the world - Yangtze. It was late August when I had the absolute joy and privilege of sailing the Yangtze through the Three Gorges between Wuhan and Chongqing. The 460 kms from Yichang to Chongqing is one of the great journeys of the world, as one passes through the huge limestone gorges that are part of a tear in the guts of China. We rode the tailend of the summer floods, which meant our vessel proceeded slowly with engines at full throttle, allowing us time to photograph one incredible scene after another, one remarkable shot of human activity after another. Against the purging river's great flow of mud, the ship stopped each night and what would have taken one day to do had we been going downstream, required 4 full days going upstream. The nights were anchored. There was time to stop in almost every river port including Badong, Zigui, Wushan, Fengjie and Wanxian. In Wanxian I was able to look down from the bridge over a quiet tributary of the great river and watch the gallant though ordinary boatmen prepare for another day's activity. The image of the river's evil river that will always remain with me is that of bloated bodies of men and women floating by some days below the place of their capsize. This photographed location is now submerged under the waters of the Three Gorges Dam - where are these men now I wonder. This was taken in August 1983.

Ed. Rodríguez Prati on May 18, 2008

Excellent photo! Ian, contrasts between dark colour of the water, light boat and loud clothes makes a wonderful effect

Ian Stehbens on May 20, 2008

Thank you Rodríguez. I remember the moment I took this picture for I sensed immediately that I had a picture that I would be pleased with.

As a matter of interest, it is very accurately geo-tagged, but if you have a look at the current Google Earth image you will see that the area doesn't look anything like it was when I was there in 1983! The bridge from which I took the photo is gone! How rapidly China is changing for the growing economy is transforming every aspect of life in China.

Kind regards,


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Photo details

  • Uploaded on May 26, 2007
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by Ian Stehbens