- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
406

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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Full resolution (JPEG) - On this page / på denna sida - XVIII. From the Buréya to Transbaikalia

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THROUGH SIBERIA
r
least expected it we saw them lying dry in the moonlight
by the side of us. In addition to this, it was almost
impossible to steer properly. The vessel was constantly
sheering in the changing stream, so that she was often
several points off her course on one side or the other,
and perhaps even worse were the waves of " dead
water " that swept after us straight out from the stern
over all the shallow places and often broke close to us,
wherever the depth was less than 5 feet. The boat her
self only draws 2j feet. These " dead-water waves "
here are in a way the same phenomenon as dead-water
waves at sea ; but here the boat sweeps up and carries
along with her a big wave of the water lying over the
shoals, whereas at sea she sweeps along with her a wave
of the salt water lying below the uppermost layer of
fresh water ; nor is her speed reduced to the same
extent here. It is also possible that the lower layers of
the fresh water are made heavier by all the sand that is
stirred up into the water, and that a real dead-water
wave is thereby formed below the upper layers ; as a
rule, however, our speed is too great for such waves to
impede us much.
It was a wonderful moonlight night ; but we were
in a shallow and difficult fairway. As we were sitting
at supper, the boat suddenly heeled over to one side
and we felt a bump. We had touched the bottom, but
slipped over it.
Monday, October 13. At about two in the morning
we ran aground again, and this time we were stuck for
a couple of hours. As a rule it is pretty easy to get
these boats off again, by putting a pair of sheers over
the bow down into the bottom on both sides ; the head
is then raised by tackles, while the boat is shifted astern.
There was a glorious sunrise in the morning over the
Séya, which winds along through flat country ; but
406

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