A Ride On The Black Dragon River

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Photos by MJ Klein & Huichen

Hui-chen and I are going back to China next week on business.  We’ll be blogging on our experiences there of course.  But thinking about going back has prompted me to take a look at the photos we took back in August of 2005.  We thought you might like to take a trip we took on the Black Dragon River.

Black Dragon River Ride

The Black Dragon River gives it’s name to the Chinese province of the north east.  It is a border river with Russia, who calls it the “Amur River” and a very important symbol of Chinese-Russian relations.  The Black Dragon River is a very busy commercial waterway (as we shall see in a moment), and has a burgeoning tourist trade going on.

Black Dragon River Ride

This is the view you meet when you first see the river.

Black Dragon River Ride

I wanted to mention that this area is so far northeast that this hole is used as refrigeration in the winter time….

Black Dragon River Ride

…. and also in the dead of summertime.  The ground is still very cold down about one meter.

Black Dragon River Ride

This is one of the many barges that travel up and down the river.

Black Dragon River Ride

But it’s time for us to board our tour boat.

Black Dragon River Ride

Black Dragon River Ride

One of the passengers gives Hui-chen a steady hand.

Black Dragon River Ride

The tour boat goes up and then back down the river and about 1/2 way across, always careful to not cross the international border between the 2 countries.

Black Dragon River Ride

Black Dragon River Ride

This is the Russian side of the river.

Black Dragon River Ride

Black Dragon River Ride

With the boat going about 1/2 across the river, and with a zoom telephoto, one can get quite close to the Russian side, in a manner of speaking.

Black Dragon River Ride

Black Dragon River Ride

The boat ride is quite pleasant and relatively slow speed.  Tolerable by most people I would think.

Black Dragon River Ride

This is a load of lumber on a barge.

Black Dragon River Ride

Here you see the lumber being loaded onto a barge on the China side of the river.

Black Dragon River Ride

Here is a Chinese ship managing a lumber barge.

Black Dragon River Ride

Black Dragon River Ride

Black Dragon River Ride

Black Dragon River Ride

Black Dragon River Ride

Black Dragon River Ride

There is a lot of activity on the China side of the river….

Black Dragon River Ride

This is a Russian ship.

Black Dragon River Ride

But notice that it’s flying two flags, one at the stern (Russian) and one on the wheelhouse (Chinese).

Black Dragon River Ride

Notice the front of this ship.

Black Dragon River Ride

This ship was designed to move cargo in barges up and down the river.  Let me tell you, there is an amazing amount of commericial traffic on the river!

Black Dragon River

We’ll have some more adventures from China when we return!  Be sure to leave us your comments below.  Thanks for reading!

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10 comments

  1. not a big fan of china at all have to say, but i’d have a lot more to say about a certain faction of ppl in taiwan.

  2. I clicked o nthe thing at the top of this article to view the area on a map… and all it did was show me some streets. Since you said it got its name from a region in Northeast China and its a border river with Russia…. I took a look for it on Google Earth.

    WOW… that is a BMF river (I know you know what BMF stands for… not sure if others will). So… not sure where in China you were for these pics. I guess the Chinese ship that was managing the barge that had the lumber on it is China’s version of a tugboat.

    1. Mike, you have to zoom out to see the river a few hundred meters away from that location. if the controls aren’t visible (happens with some browsers) then right double-click on the map to zoom out, and left double-click to zoom in.

      yes, it is a BMF river and very important to the region. i’ve seen it iced over 2 meters thick with trucks driving on it, and i’ve also taken that boat ride in the summer.

      2 weeks after those photos were taken, a chemical spill in China sent a chemical slick of benzine up into Russia. that caused a lot of harm to the area on it’s way up to Russia. and yes, that is their version of a tugboat.

      1. Yeah… map controls for zooming and an out werehn’t showing up. I’m using Internet Explorer 7 on this computer (tried to put IE8 on it but I get an error message everytime I run it). I shold’ve tried viwing the map with FireFox which I also have on this computer. I could try it with IE8 on my laptop.

        When looking at Google Earth… it looks lik it wsa considerably further north than where I am (me being around th 42nd parallel… I think this river was in the area of the 48th or 49th parallel). So… I can see it frezing and the ice getting really thick.

        Did the chemical spill cause any “tensions” between Russia and China… since you said it caused “a lot of harm”??

        1. the map controls sometimes don’t show up for some reason. i don’t have any idea why or the time to figure it out.

          yes, 48 degrees north – that’s above north Korea too. it gets extremely cold up there in the winter time.

          i read that Russia wasn’t too happy with China about that chemical spill. that was quite a few years ago so it may be hard to find anything about it now.

    1. Craig, we looked into getting a Russian visa, and it’s a nightmare. you can’t just get one casually like you could say, going to Laos from Thailand. virtually everything must be accounted for – where you’re staying, and with whom, your travel agent, itinerary, route, etc. etc. you can’t just go there and play it by ear, unfortunately, or else we would have gone there for a night.

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