Cruise along the Yenisei
Cruise is a unique opportunity to see majesty of Siberian nature, to cross Krasnoyarsk area from the south to the north, from Sayani to Taimir, to visit the most famous cities and settlements on bank of the Yenisei.
If you are limited in time but you want to be on the Yenisei, a tour of “rest-day” is for you. Many tourist firms give such opportunity. Such tour begins on Friday and finishes on Sunday. The program is various: to pass rapids, to see mouth of the Podkamennaya Tunguska, in the basin of which there is a place of falling of mysterious Tungus meteorite, to cross over polar circle, celebrating this event with a merry carnival. And of course the wonderful nature, clear air, walking about taiga, fishing, swimming and resting on the green stops won’t set you aside.
The Yenisei is not only a river but also a rare wonder of the nature. Aboriginals of the Southern Siberia call it Ulug-khem, which mean “Great river”. And natives of the northern territories gave it the name of Ionessi, i.e. “Large water” . In the lower reach of this great Siberian river banks are seen from the board of a motor ship only through binocular and with great difficulty.
In Russia there is no rivers, being so abounding in water as Yenisei, and it is included in ten of the most significant rivers of the planet. Only by Yenisei in Asiatic part of the country motor ships can easily enter the continent from the Arctic ocean for 1000 km, up to the Igarka, and it allows to call this port on the river marine gates of Siberia.
Flowing strictly along the meridian from the south to the north, the Yenisei divides Russian territory in half. Its basin consists of three absolutely different parts. In the upper river it is encircled with mountains from all sides and in the middle and lower stream its bed serves as a border between low Western Siberia and Middle-Siberian plateau.
The Yenisei begins in the mountains of Tuva. Biy-Khem (“Big Yenisey”) flows out of mountain Kara’Balik lake, the Ka-Khem (“Maliy Yenisei”) begins on the slopes of the Tannu-Ala ridge. River the Upper Yenisei flows for 188 km (after junction of Big and Maliy Yenisei”). Within the limits of the northern board of Tuva basin in the west the river is broken into branches, its bed abounds in rifts, width of which varies from 100 to 650 m. This place of the river is called “Forty Yeniseis”.
Depths in reaches of the river are 4-12 m, in the rifts – not more than 1 m. Admitting the Khemchik river, the Yenisei turns to the north and for 290 km cut its way through the system of ridges of the Western Sayan. Here the Yenisei flows in the narrow valley, in some places in the canyon (width is about 100 m), in the river-bed there are many rapids (Bolshoi, Dedushkin, Dzhoiskiy and etc.). Near the bed of the river Kazirsuk there is the most dangerous Large rapid, impassible for vessels, the length of which is 320 m.
Experts-professionals assume that with each kilometer the depth of the Yenisei becomes 1 cm lower. And this is one of the reasons of the fact that rate of the stream is three times quicker here than in Dnepr and five times higher than in the Volga. An attentive person will notice it with the naked eye.
The Yenisei overcomes two mountain ridges. Four the most beautiful mountains rise on its banks like a fortress bastions, guarding the gates leading into Sayani. From the right there is a mountain Kunya with an ancient Khakas fortress, which open the view of the Yenisei valley. Here there is also the famous Podkunenskaya petroglyphs. On the ancient depicts of the petroglyphs there are 323 figures: people, deers, goats, horses, camels, birds, bears. The depicts date back to 2,000 B.C. From the left. A long high rock is seen on the same bank. It is the southern part of massif Oglakhta, a huge natural fortress. In the Middle Ages its most vulnerable areas were covered by earth mounds, the average length of which makes up almost 30 km.
The place of flowing of the Angara into the Yenisei is the following sight, to admire which tourists are invited on the deck. There are many beautiful legends about the beautiful Angara, the only daughter of the old Baikal and the powerful beautiful Yenisei. Nothing could stop the self-will daughter on the way to the Yenisei: neither severe rapids, nor placers of stones and cliffs, standing on the way to the fugitive.
And having carved her way for 1,779 km from the Baikal to the Strelka, the Angara interflows with the Yenisei, striking people by its width – in the place of its meeting it is much wider than Yenisei. At first waters of the Angara mix with the Yenisei water gingerly and the border of their junction is so clear that is seen from the motor ship.
And only in the area of Burmakinsky stones junction of two rivers occurs fully. After embracing the Angara the Yenisei becomes wide, many islands appear on the water mirror-like surface, banks of the river become low. Many shoals stretch both from the left and from the right banks, from the mouth of the Angara to the mouth of the Podkamennaya.
The Bolshoi Pit is a right confluent of the Yenisei in the Tuva. Formation of hydronym “Pit” from reconstructed term “pip”, originated from Samodiysk “bi” – “water”. Definition “Bolshoi” (“Large”) is opposed to the other right confluent of the Yenisei – the Maliy Pit river.
The Upper Tunguska is a river in the west of the Eastern Siberia, a right confluent of the Yenisei. In 17 century Russian explorers called the Upper Tunguska. The name is originated from Tunguses (at present Evenks), and attribute Upper distinguishes it from two other Tunguskas.
In the Middle Yenisey the most difficult conditions for navigation are in Kazatchinsky rapids, and in the Lower Yenisei – in Osinovsky rapids and in the area of rocky islands “Korablik” and “Barotchka”. They are situated from Bor in 30 km. Near them there is “Monastirsky” island. Depth of the Yenisei in these places reaches, by old residents’ allegation, 30-50 m.
In 20 km from Korablik the third largest confluent of the Yenisei – the Podkamennaya Tunguska – flows into the Yenisei. This cataracted river is notable for its peculiar wild nature. Its length is 1865 km. It was called Podkamennaya (under stone) because it makes its way to the Yenisei through many hundreds kilometers through the stone rocks.
Nation “keto” has an interesting legend about these places. It was long ago. Keto lived then in the south, in the warm areas. But one day giants-ogres came suddenly to their lands from the desert. Escaping them people rushed to their boats and grandfather Yenisei brought them to the north, far from the native places. And giants couldn’t swim. Seeing that the meat was escaping, they run ahead and, having gathered all mountains for a hundred versts around, constructed such string wall of them that even Yenisei couldn’t break it through.
Then it flooded in breadth, seeking passageway. Ketos cried and giants were glad: then they could regale themselves with, because ketos couldn’t live in the water, they would have pull up to the bank. But among runaways there was a daring Alba. He took an ax, rushed to cut the stone and after some blows cut up the wall. The Yenisei gushed out into a formed crack, broke through the rock and carried people away far to the north, to the Podkamennaya Tunguska. Here keto settled down and they have lived here till now.
High woody cliffs of the Yenisei range stretch along the right bank of the Tunguska. In several places its rocks restrain the river, forming rapids. In our days the most dangerous rocks in the bed were blew up and motor ships pass through the gorge of the rapids without difficulty. After flowing of the Podkamennaya and Lower Tunguska into the Yenisei the width of the Yenisei is on average 5 km, and in some places – 15. Here depth of the Yenisei reaches 15 m and marine ships sail up by it to Igarka, situated almost in 700 km from the sea.
The Kureika is a river on the Middle Siberian plateau, a right confluent of the Yenisei. In the stem of hydronym “Kureika” Russian “kurja” – “creek, channel” can be suggested. Other variants are possible: Evenk kin “kure”, which dwelled at the right confluents of the Yenisei, is famous, and the authority, uniting Evenks of this area, was called Kureiskaya. Connection with Evenk “kureika” – “wild deer”, is possible, may be through the name of the kin.
Shivero-Atamanovskie rapids are an interesting section of the river on the way of ships, sailing to the north. They were called after village Shiverskaya, the native land for many pilots and capitans, and settlement Atamanovo. Sailing along the right bank, we see above mentioned Barinya – a picture on the rock, a peculiar level gage.
Wide mirror-like surface of the reservoir, this time Krasnoyarsk hydro-electric power station, after which appear huge rocks of fantastical form, begins lower Abakan city. They are the famous Krasnoyarsk Poles – one of the most interesting nooks of Siberia. Poles are the last western outpost of the Eastern Sayan.
The area of preserve “Stolbi” (“Poles”) makes up 3.96 thousand ha. Rocks-cliffs rise here, among the taiga. They are about 100. Rising stone giants were formed of pink-brown crystalline formations – granite-syenitic buttes. Some of them tower above the surface of the ground at the height of 100 m.
For million years rain and winds, frost and the sun carved fantastic figure on the wild stone. Peoples gave them names: Old man, Big golden eagle, Lion’s gates, Feathers, Griffin and others. The nature of the preserve is wonderful. Viewing points open a wonderful panorama: open-work lace of birches, fretted leafs of mountain ashes, majestic cliffs, knolls, covered with coniferous forests. Huge larches, split by thunderbolts, and lofty cedars impart the surrounding world special peculiarity.
A little upper against the current there are “Scheki” – a narrow place (500-700 m), through which the majestic Yenisei “squeezes” roughly. It is interesting that even birds on the banks of the Yenisei are different. Double snipe and hooded crow are found only on the left western bank. White wagtail and Naumann’s thrush settled on the right bank.
Icebreaker in the Yenisie is a grandiose spectacle. It takes the whole month for the river to throw off its ice armour on the whole its length. Sometimes in the abrupt bends the ice sticks and form large jams.
Passing by the last landing place in the Yenisei, Ust-Port, a motor ship sails by the Yenisei gulf – actually the ancient bed of the Yenisei, flooded at rise of ocean level, - for another two days. And only in the very small island Dikson, in 500 km from Ust-Port, finelly one can see river transport workers with sailors. Here the northern marine way passes, majestic atomic ice-breakers enter here.