In the sixties, during my first trip to Terney region as a journalist, I was surprised to find the region center Terney standing on the banks of a large mountain river Sankhobe, which flows into the bay. Where could such big river appear from? My surprise was clear because I read a monograph "Traveling on the outskirts of Russian Asia" by Mikhail Ivanovitch Venyukov, published in 1868, which I had found in the library of local geographic society, and scratched certain descriptions from there. The author wrote about many facts from the history of sea expeditions of French sailor Laperouse along the coast of modern Primorye. There is a description of the Terney bay. One can clearly see that there was no evidence of any big river flowing into this bay. The author mentioned some small streams which couldn't turn out to be the full water Sankhobe river. Neither any geological cataclysms were observed in past two hundred years in this place. So, did Venyukov translate the French sailor's notes incorrectly, or had the bay been found elsewhere?
My intention was to put light on the Terney bay mystery. Soon I could find a photocopy of the third "Far Eastern" volume of "Laperouse circumnavigation in 1785, 1786, 1787 and 1788" published in Paris "at public expense" by decision of the National Assembly in 1798, i.e. 10 years after the famous sailor's ships had disappeared. Now I was sure Venyukov translated Laperouse's adventures correctly. This means that the French did not go to the land where nowadays the Terney bay lies. The official bay contours did not fit those from the book at all. Each of the two bays had coordinates, although the difference was not big. By that time I had moved to live in Terney, walked across most of the neighboring lands and flew above the sea coast dozens of times. I began to think that the "Laperouse" bay lies a little north of the modern one. However, the final answer could only be found in Laperouse maps.
It is known that the Laperouse expedition had permanent daily records of the sea coasts all along their course. The publishers used to refer to the index list of maps which had been sent to Paris by Laperouse before the expedition had perished in sea. These maps were eventually bound together in the "Atlas", and Terney bay was there as #48. What I had to do was to find that "Atlas", and photocopy the maps. It seemed to me rather natural to find them in the French Academy of Science. But unexpectedly in a local newspaper I read that the "Atlas" is very near, in Khabarovsk. That was really a lucky chance. Soon I received copies of the maps from scientists who happened to be my friends, and shortly afterwards I 'd go to Khabarovsk to look through this old book myself. My hypothesis on the position of the Laperouse bay of Terney had nnow been fully confirmed, and I finally was able to publish the results of the research which took so many years. Besides Venyukov's book, the episode of the Terney bay discovery was described in Jules Verne's "The history of great adventures" and a book by Captain de Langles "The tragic adventure", published in France. So having the original scripts, it's natural to remind here the history of the Terney bay discovery, confirmed now with map data.
A French map showing the expedition path.
Almost 250 people started the famous circumnavigation aboard two ships from France in 1785. The 44-year-old Jean Francois de Galaup de Laperouse was known as a lucky sailor, brave captain and a man of honor. More than 100 officers asked permission to join his expedition. The ones he chose had "eminent qualities". To explore new territories, plants, animals, volcanos and aborigines the expedition included scientists and researchers. One can say that all best French scientists were aboard two 42 cannon frigates "La Boussole" and "L'Astrolabe". So, for example, de Lamagnond, who was a member of Tourine Academy and French Royal Academy of Science, was "commanded to exercise the natural history of the globe and its atmosphere" during the journey. Speaking more modern language, the academician had to study minerals and meteorology. Abbot Monget, a physics magazine publisher, besides the delivery of Christian service, had duties of "describing minerals and all physical observations". The medicine doctor de La Martinier was sent as a botanist, and his assistant Collignon was a royal gardener. Monsignors Prevaud, the uncle and his nephew, were told to draw everything "pertaining to the natural history".
In June 1787, two years after the beginning, "L'Astrolabe" and "La Boussole" sailed across the Sea of Japan northwest from the island Yesso (now Hokkaido) to the land of so called Tartar. This name was given at that time to all unknown lands on the north and north-east of Asia. Translation of this word from Latin is "end of the world". As years passed by, this name changed to Tatar and was given to people "living on the end of the world", and the Tatar Strait on the map.
Judging from the line traced on the map, the French first came close to the coast of Primorye near the Phusung bay where nowadays is a town of Moryak-Rybolov. From there, Laperouse headed north-east to the Sakhalin along the coastline. A modern hypothesis which binds the discovery of the bay named by Russian sailors as "Saint Olga" to Laperouse can not be confirmed with any documents. The thick and frequent fogs did not let the French approach to the coast and find a proper bay for anchoring. At last the weather changed for good, and the French ships entered a large bay. As Laperouse wrote in his diary, "at 6 p.m. we dropped the anchor down to 24 Russian fathoms (50 m) half a lieu (2.2 km) from the coast". Laperouse named the new bay after his compatriot de Ternay. "Five small bays taken together look like sides of a polygon and form whole contour of the bay..."
As an experiment, I showed the picture of the bay from "The Atlas" to a captain who I knew was very trained at the coast. Just after a quick look at it he agreed with me that this was the map of the Tavaiza bay, or the Russian bay after it was renamed in 1972, which lies 15-20 km north from the Terney bay. The first of small bays on the map Laperouse called "The Deer bay". The modern look of it was by chance published in the Great Soviet Encyclopedia. In Soviet era, this bay as well as a small river falling to it had been renamed to the Upolnomochenny.
Still aboard the anchored ships, Laperouse and his comrades watched with their sea glasses a deer flock and a bear family on the right from the first group of animals, on the neighboring bay coast. The wild animals sight set free hunter instincts in sailors, and they began to clean their guns with such fever as before a battle. The hunters crew that was the first to reach the land was lucky to shoot three young deer. Other hunters who sailed in the second boat to the other bay called the Bear bay only saw the animals escape into the wood after a few first unsuccessful shots. The French had much more luck in fishing. As soon as the anchors touched the sea bottom the sailors were ready with fishing rods, pulling out from water a dozen of herring in a few minutes, which gave them a feeling of surprise. Laperouse immediately ordered "to prohibit the salt meat" and cook fresh fish for the crew - cod, herring, salmon, trout and flatfish.
The general, emotion they felt , the nature and vegetation they saw was admiration. Could Laperouse meet with local people at that time? During a few days that the French sailed along the coast of Tartar to Terney, they had not seen a light on the shore nor a boat with people. Still they could not believe that there were no habitants. Although the French met none in Terney, they could see many evidence of people there. This made Laperouse think that "tartars" approached the sea only at seasons of hunting and fishing. Most of the time aborigines lived far away from the sea, in places where soil was perhaps more suitable for breeding cattle. One can even imagine that aborigines secretly watched the outlanders from the wood.
On July 9, 1787 on the shore of one small bay the French dug into land a vessel with metal plates which were engraved with names of the two ships and dates of their finding of this shore. Then the started for the Sakhalin. After two days Laperouse and his sailors stopped again in front of the Adimi river that now has name Yellow after some toponymics specialists. Again, the French met nobody there. Only traces on the sand told them that people had just run to the wood. The reports delivered by an officer and a naturalist to Laperouse from the shore did not make him stay any longer in this bay, which they named the Suffren gulf.
It happened that I was not alone in search for the Laperouse bay of Terney. A French geographer Jean Guillot from New Caledonia repeated the Laperouse expedition of 1785-88 path. Together with Khabarovsk resident member of Geographic society Grigory Merkin he visited Primorskiy krai. Before they came I had published an article on the Terney bay in the krai's paper "Krasnoye znamya". It was very pleasant to know that the French scientist and his Russian colleague, having read the article and studied maps, accepted "the results of E.Suvorov's research on the location of the bay of Terney". They wrote so in the guest book of Primorskiy branch of Russian Geographic Society. The mystery of the first Laperouse discovery on the land of Tartar - Primorye has been solved. But what made this mystery appear? How could the bay move south?
In 1874 the expedition headed by Colonel L.A.Bolshev conducted a topographic survey on the last "terra incognita" on the map of north-east coast of the Sea of Japan and the Tatar Strait between the Plastun Gulf and De Castri (Chikhachev) Gulf. The topographers were using maps which had been composed by West European specialists and contained errors. Doubts about validity of the coast line on those maps can be found in M.I.Venyukov's book. Writing on the coast line of the Sea of Japan he pointed out that "even the bays of Terney and Suffren which have been described by Laperouse and whose coordinates are given ,are not named on these maps, and one can hardly recognize them in two small gulfs over there".
Bolshev's expedition as it was stated in "Russian Imperial Geographic Society Newsletter" had not found the Suffren bay named by Laperouse, however they had found the bay of Terney. They did, but south from the actual Laperouse bay, in the Sankhobe river mouth.
Laperouse expedition monument in Terney school yard was set up in 1997.
We are residents of Primorye, and Laperouse and his compatriots who were pioneers in this land and who died in the Pacific Ocean for "love for sciences" must have a memorial - to the first European stepping upon this shore.
Charles-Louis d'Arsac, Chevalier de Ternay
French Fleet arrives in Rhode island waters first half of July,1780. Considered the second occupation of Newport; a friendly one compared with the destructive British occupation. French departed Newport in June of 1781.
Admiral de Ternay, in command of the French Navy, transported the army of Lieutenant General Rochambeau, commander of the French expeditionary forces in America. Although not liked by his men, was considered a skillful navigator.
Before becoming gravely ill, the Admiral accompanied General Rochambeau to Hartford, Connecticut for a conference with General George Washington. This marked the first time that these leaders had ever met (September 1780).
The Admiral passed away at the French Naval Headquarters, the confiscated home of Colonel Joseph Wanton (Hunter House) on December 15,1780. Cause of death: an attack of malignant fever.
The Hunter House, now owned by the Preservation Society of Newport County, still stands on Washington Street.
Although his death caused little emotion for some people, his funeral procession the next day was considered very impressive. His remains were removed from the house by sailors from his own flagship. The procession to Trinity Church was accompanied by mournful music and chanting priests. Even though the church was Protestant, the customary rites of the Roman Catholic Church were performed.
To quote Margaret La Farge from Scribner's Magazine of November, 1917 - "Chevalier de Ternay sleeps in the churchyard, an alien in a foreign land, Newport, with reverence and gratitude, having laid him among their honored dead."