restricted access 34 Fire in the Forest
In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

343 Fire in the Forest Terney Bay. Birds on the Coast. Inhabitants of Sankhobe. The Sitsa River. The Taiga. Sikhote-Alin. Dalazagou. The Study of Tracks. A Splinter. An Abscess on My Foot. The Forest Fire. An Operation. The Return. Drama along the Coast. The 27th was devoted to exploring Terney Bay (at Cape Strashny [“fearsome ”], 45°01'44" north latitude and 136°38'44" east longitude), which was discovered by Lapérouse on June 23rd, 1767, and given this name at that time.1 Here, as with other bays along the coast, it was clear that at one time Terney Bay went much further inland than it does today. The river is extremely deep at its mouth, the bay protrudes to the side, and there are several lakes among the marsh—all indications of where the deep pockets of the former bay once were. The sea worked hard to separate itself from land—a spit, weathered by surf, stretches from one cape almost all the way to the other, turning the bay into a lagoon. After 1. It is surprisingly more complex than that. Yevgeny Suvorov, a historian based in Terney, spent decades trying to understand why Lapérouse’s descriptions of Terney Bay did not match what he saw out his own window. Eventually, Suvorov discovered that the Terney Bay described by Lapérouse is actually now Tavayza Bay, some 15 to 20 kilometers north of Terney. Lapérouse never described what is now called Terney Bay (possibly because heavy fogs common in June and July obscured it from view). The bay was mislabeled by a Russian surveyor named L. I. Bolshev in 1874 (Suvorov 1996). Because of Suvorov’s efforts, a monument now stands at Tavayza Bay, indicating the true spot where Lapérouse landed. 34 344 The 1906 Expedition that the dunes formed, some so big that they obscure the coastal cliffs. There are always a lot of birds found in lagoons such as this—I could see some on the beach, while others preferred the riverbanks. Among the first I noticed were some dunlin. Given the time of year, these were probably late migrants. Some gulls flew by; they dropped regularly to sit on the water, then rose up again. I saw some great cormorants in the deep backwaters. They dove under water periodically, seemingly unable to satiate their greedy appetites. The vegetation found along the lower reaches of the Sankhobe seemedstuntedandunhealthy.ThereweresomesmallstandsofSiberian larch growing among the wetlands on the right side, and the Sankhobe may mark the northern boundary of Amur maackia. Or, at the least, it is very rare here.2 The residents of Sankhobe are a mixed population of Chinese and Tazy. The former live closer to the coast, while the latter live in the hills. There were thirty-eight Chinese fanzas with 233 inhabitants, and fourteen Tazy fanzas inhabited by 72 men, 54 women, and 89 children. The situation was not a good one for the local Tazy. They appeared downtrodden and depressed. They became uncomfortable when I asked any questions, as if scared of something. They would whisper among themselves, then find some pretext to move on. They were obviously afraid of the Chinese. Any who dared complain to Russian authorities —or talk to anyone about what they endure in the Sankhobe River valley—had an awful fate in store for them: they either were thrown in the river to drown or were buried alive. The Tazy of the Sankhobe were almost indistinguishable from the Tazy of the Tadusha River. They dressed similarly, spoke Chinese, and farmed.Butonedifferencewasthateachfanzaherehadanambar,where various belongings were kept. This storehouse was of typical Tazy construction .Anotherdifferencewasthattheeldershereusedauniquestyle 2. The contemporary northern border of Amur maackia is at Dzhigit Bay, slightly further south than Terney Bay (Y. Pimenova pers. comm.). Fire in the Forest 345 of curved knife, which they wielded skillfully and used for sewing, as a gimlet, as a chisel, and as a plane.3 According to the Tazy, smallpox was rampant on the Sankhobe River some thirty years prior. There was not a single house untouched by this terrible disease. The Chinese were afraid to bury the dead and instead burned them after pulling the bodies from fanzas using hooks. Therewereinstanceswherethesick,whohadfallenunconsciousorwere otherwise too weak to protest, were burned along with the dead. Chzhan Bao returned to Sankhobe that evening. He told us that he did not succeed in confronting the Khunkhuz at Plastun Bay. Following the shootout with Dersu, the Khunkhuz had gone...


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).
  • You have access to this content
  • Free sample
  • Open Access
  • Restricted Access