Dawn broke again to another cloudy and hazy day. Today, we transit the gorges. Fred joked it would be a gorgeous (gorges) day; there are some little patches of blue and wispy white clouds but not a day for photography. We enjoyed our buffet breakfast although all the food is starting to taste the same on the riverboat.
We started our transit through the first of the Three Gorges, Qutang Xia. At just 5 miles, this is the shortest of the three. Steep walls rise up from the river and create the narrow 330-foot opening.
Next, we would get off the main Yangtze River, switch to a smaller ferry boat, and take a side trip on the Daning River, a tributary of the Yangtze. The scenery was beautiful with towering peaks, unique stones, crystal-clear waters, and historic relics. The Daning is home to the Lesser Three Gorges and the first is called Dragon Gate Gorge. The second Lesser Gorge is called Misty Gorge and is about 6 miles long sometimes referred to as the Iron Coffin Gorge. In the cliffs high above, a black coffin the color of iron is suspended. It was though that it was good to be buried high up, closer to heaven. The last of the Lesser Gorges is aptly named Emerald Gorge for its emerald green waters.
As the gorges get smaller, the boats shrink too. Here we transferred to a sampan to sail through the Mini Gorges of the Madu River. Once back on the ferry boat, we continued down the Daning River to re-board the Katarina for our continuing journey on the Yangtze.
We had time for lunch on board before we entered Wu Gorge, about 28 miles long and referred to as Witches Gorge. The gorge is surrounded by 12 peaks which scale to vertigo-inducing heights. Sheer cliffs and narrow openings make it difficult for the sun to ever shine here. Fables tell of troublesome dragons turned to stone by the goddess Yaoji. One of the peaks is named goddess peak, a pillar of white stone. Folks see all kinds of likenesses in the formations: animals, people, etc.
The last and longest gorge is Xiling Gorge. It is made up of several smaller gorges and rapids and the surrounding cliffs rise up to 4,000 feet.
After a long day on the gorges, we had our farewell dinner; yep, you guessed it, the same buffet food. We settled our bill for incidentals and packed up for tomorrow’s departure. The after-dinner-show featured a talent competition among the passengers. We skipped that in favor of some time on the internet.
Because the Three Gorges Dam Locks are closed for maintenance, we will not pass through the locks. Instead, we will get a bus tour to the locks tomorrow en route to Wuhan.