The tumbling blue-black clouds of late afternoon fulfilled their promise of evil things for the dark. There were fierce pounding hours when the wrath of the sea seemed centred upon the Hydrographer and her lumbering barges, when the towing-lines hummed like the harp strings of Aeolus.
The stubborn boats with their cargoes which had to be so gently handled, the ever-increasing fury of the river, the growing menace of those ghastly, racing icebergs, the taut-hauled towing-lines, and the straining, sweating men in the loops, all made a picture hard to forget.
The river is so swift, that the only way boats are enabled to get up stream to take down the inland produce, is by having a few coolies or boatmen to drag the boat up against the current by towing-lines. This is called gooning. The goon-ropes are attached to the mast of the boat. At the free end is a round bit of bamboo.