18 Saint Olga Bay
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163 Saint Olga Bay A History of the Bay. The Calm Wharf. The Chinese Settlement of Shimyn. Saint Olga Post. I. A. Pyatyshin. P. K. Rutkovsky’s Departure. Cross Mountain. B. N. Bunin. The Geology of Saint Olga Bay. The Manza Gold Prospector. Birds. Our Return. Saint Olga Bay (43°42'50" north latitude, 135°14'18" east longitude) was discovered in 1787 by the French explorer Lapérouse, who called it Port Seymour. During the Crimean War, several British ships pursued a Russian warship, which took advantage of the fog and concealed itself in this bay unfamiliar to them.1 The British subsequently lost sight of their quarryandgaveupchase.ThiseventoccurredonJuly11th,whichisSaint Olga’s Day, so the Russians decided to rename the bay of their salvation in her honor.2 In further memory of their deliverance from the enemy 1. From October 1853 to February 1856, the Crimean War was waged between Russia and three allies: the Ottoman Empire, France, and Great Britain. Most of the conflict occurred in the Black Sea area, and Russia eventually lost. However, there were a few engagements in what is now the Russian Far East that largely amounted to Britain and France testing Russia’s foothold in the Pacific, and coming to the conclusion that she would not be easily dislodged (Lincoln 1994). 2. A historical review found multiple records stating that Saint Olga Bay was discovered for the Russians by Admiral Y. V. Putyatin aboard the steam corvette Amerika, which left Nikolayevsk and sailed south along the coast on July 2nd, 1857. Therefore, it is possible that the bay was indeed entered on July 11th and given the name Saint Olga as a result, but this event would have occurred some seventeen months following the conclusion of the Crimean War, which makes Arsenyev’s version here suspect. 18 164 The 1906 Expedition they put a cross on a tall mountain, which bears the name Krestovaya [“cross”] Mountain to this day.3 There is a solitary rock called Chikhachёv Island that juts from the water near the right side of the mouth to Saint Olga Bay. A signal tower was placed there to guide ships into port, but since this section of coast was almost constantly shrouded in fog during the summer, this tower is largely useless as its light cannot be seen from the water at all. Saint Olga Bay is surrounded on three sides by land, is about 3 kilometers both wide and long, and is about 25 meters deep. The north side of the bay freezes for three months in winter. There is a smaller, satellite bay located in its northeastern corner, which the locals called Tikhaya Pristan [“calm wharf”]. This bay is connected to the larger one by a narrowchannel ,anditstaysfrozenmuchlonger thanthemainbay.Tikhaya Pristan is about a kilometer long, 500 meters wide, and 10 to 12 meters deep. It is gradually filling with sediment from the Saint Olga River. There is a Chinese village called Shimyn on the bay’s eastern shore, whichtheRussianscallKoshka[“cat”].ThisusedtobetheprincipalChinesecommercialhubintheUssuriKray .4Everyyear,hundredsofbarges came here from Hunchun, and hunters from the Ussuri River brought sable furs, valuable antlers in velvet, and precious ginseng.5 These gifts of the taiga were then traded for seafood and other items brought by sea. Life in the village slowed after the Chinese riots in Manchuria in 1901, but the long row of warehouses on the beach, for storing supplies and 3. According to other sources, the cross was placed there by the monk Filaret in 1860 [VKA]. 4. Shimyn (“stone gate” in Chinese) was established in 1831, when a Manchurian named Sale Ki landed boats and built two fanzas there. By the 1850s Shimyn was the principal Chinese commercial port in the Ussuri Kray, with 500 to 800 boats visiting annually . As Vladivostok grew and the Trans-Siberian Railroad was completed, Shimyn’s importance waned. In 1906, there were thirty-two fanzas there, with two hundred and forty-nine residents (all adult men except for one woman and two children; Arsenyev 1914). See plate 18 for an image of warehouses at Shimyn. 5. Hunchun, China, is approximately 75 kilometers up the Tumen River from the Sea of Japan, and was likely a major trade hub between the Ussuri Kray and mainland China. Saint Olga Bay 165 various raw materials, are evidence of the considerable Chinese trade that remains in Saint Olga Bay.6 The original site of Saint Olga Post was in the extreme northeastern corner of the bay. The...



Subject Headings

  • Ussuri River Valley (Russia and China) -- Description and travel.
  • Natural history -- Ussuri River Valley (Russia and China).
  • Dersu Uzala.
  • Arsenʹev, V. K. (Vladimir Klavdievich), 1872-1930 -- Travel -- Ussuri River Valley (Russia and China).
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