Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

TRANSACTIONS AT OTAHEITE, AND THE SOCIETY IS

LANDS; AND PROSECUTION OF THE VOYAGE TO THE
COAST OF NORTH AMERICA.

Section 1.

An Eclipse of the Moon observed.--The Island Toobouai dis

covered. Its Situation, Extent, and Appearance. - Inter-
course with its Inhabitants. Their Persons, Dresses, and
Canoes described. Arrival at Oheitepeha Bay, at Otaheite.
- Omai's Reception and imprudent Conduct.-Account of
Spanish Ships twice visiting the Island. ---Interview with the
Chief of this District. The Olla, or God, of Bolabola.
A mad Prophet.- Arrival in Matavai Bay.
AVING, as before related,' taken our final leave of

the Friendly Islands, I now resume my narrative of the voyage. In the evening of the 17th of July, at eight o'clock, the body of Eaoo bore N.E. by N., distant three or * VOL. XVI. PART 1.

four

A

! See the conclusion of Sect. IX. Chap. II.

four leagues. The wind was now at E., and blew a fresh gale. With it I stood to the S., till half an hour past six o'clock the next morning, when a sudden squall, from the same direction, took our ship aback; and, before the sails could be trimmed' on the other tack, the main-sail and the top-gallant sails were much torn.

The wind kept between the S.W. and S.E., on the 19th and 20th, afterward, it veered to the E., N.E., and N. The night between the 20th and 21st, an eclipse of the moon was observed as follows, being then in the latitude of 22° 57' S.:

Apparent time, A.M.

H. M. S.
Beginning, by Mr King, at 092 50

Mr Bligh, at 0 83,25 Mean long. 186° 57%
Myself, at 0 33 35

End, by Mr King, at 1 44 56 ) Mean long. 186° 28%.
Mr Bligh, at 1 44 6

Time keep. 186° 58%.
Myself, at 1 44 56

The latitude and longitude are those of the ship, at 8" 56" a. m., being the time when the sun's altitude was taken for finding the apparent time. At the beginning of the eclipse, the moon was in the zenith, so that it was found most convenient to make use of the sextants, and to make the observations by the reflected image, which was brought down to a convenient altitude. The same was done at the end, except by Mr King, who observed with a night telescope. Although the greatest difference between our several obseryations is no more than fifty seconds, it, nevertheless, appeared to me that two observers might differ more than double that time, in both the beginning and end. And, though the times are noted to seconds, no such accuracy was pretended to. The odd seconds set down above, arose by reducing the time, as given by the watch, to apparent time.

I continued to stretch to the E.S.E., with the wind at N.E. and N., without meeting with any thing worthy of note, till seven o'clock in the evening of the 29th, when we had a sudden and very heavy squall of wind from the N. At this time we were under single reefed topsails, courses, and stay-sails. Two of the latter were blown to pieces,

and

and it was with difficulty that we saved the other sails. After this squall, we observed several lights moving about on board the Discovery, by which we concluded, that something had given way; and, the next morning, we saw that her main-top-mast had been lost. Both wind and weather continued very unsettled till noon, this day, when the latter cleared up, and the former settled in the N.W. quarter. At this time, we were in the latitude of 28° 6' S., and our longitude was 198° 23' E. Here we saw some pintado birds, being the first since we left the land.

On the 31st, at noon, Captain Clerke made a signal to speak with me. By the return of the boat which I sent on board his ship, he informed me, that the head of the mainmast had been just discovered to be sprung, in such a manner as to render the rigging of another top-mast very dangerous ; and that, therefore, he must rig something lighter in its place. He also informed me, that he had lost his main-top-gallant-yard, and that he neither had another, nor a spar to make one, on board. The Resolution's spritsail top-sail yard which I sent him, supplied this want. The next day, he got up a jury top-mast, on which he set a mizen-top-sail, and this enabled him to keep way with the Resolution.

The wind was fixed in the western board, that is, from the N., round by the W. to S., and I steered E.N.E. and N.E., without meeting with anything remarkable, till eleven o'clock in the morning of the 8th of August, when land was seen, bearing N.N.E., nine or ten leagues distant. At first, it appeared in detached hills, like so many separate islands; but, as we drew nearer, we found that they were all connected, and belonged to one and the same island. I steered directly for it, with a fine gale at S.E. by S.; and at half-past six o'clock in the afternoon, it extended from N. by E., to N.N.E. I E., distant three or four leagues.

The night was spent standing off and on; and at daybreak the next morning, I steered for the N.W., or lee-side of the island ; and as we stood round its S. or S.W. part, we saw it every where guarded by a reef of coral rock, extending, in some places, a full mile from the land, and a high surf breaking upon it. Some thought that they saw land to the southward of this island; but, as that was to the windward, it was left undetermined. As we drew near, we saw people on different parts of the coast, walking, or running along the shore, and in a little time after we had reached the lee-side of the island, we saw them launch two canoes, into which above a dozen men got, and paddled to

ward us.

I now shortened sail, as well to give these canoes time to come up with us, as to sound for anchorage. At the distance of about half a mile from the reef, we found from forty to thirty-five fathoms water, over a bottom of fine sand. Nearer in, the bottom was strewed with coral rocks. The canoes having advanced to about the distance of a pistol-shot from the ship, there stopped. Oinai was employed, as he usually had been on such oecasịons, to use all his eloquence to prevail upon the men in them to come nearer; but no entreaties could induce them to trust themselves within our reach. They kept eagerly pointing to the shore with their paddles, and calliog to us to go thither, and several of their countrymen who stood upon the beach held up something white, which we considered also as an invitation to land. We could very well have done this, as there was good anchorage without the reef, and a break or opening in it, from whence the canoes had come out, which had no surf upon it, and where, if there was not water for the ships, there was more than sufficient for the boats. But I did not think proper to risk losing the advantage of a fair wind, for the sake of examining an island that appeared to be of little consequence. We stood in no need of refreshments, if I had been sure of meeting with them there ; and having already been so unexpectedly delayed in my progress to the Society Islands, I was desirous of avoiding every possibility of farther retardment. For this reason, after making several unsuccessful attempts to induce these people to come alongside, I made sail to the N., and left them, but not without getting from them, during their vicinity to our ship, the name of their işland, which they called Toubouai.

It is situated in the latitude of 23° 25' S., and in 210 37' E. longitude. Its greatest extent, in any direction, exclusive of the reef, is not above five or six miles. On the N.W. side, the reef appears in detached pieces, between which the sea seems to break upon the shore. Small as the island is, there are hills in it of a considerable elevation. At the foot of the bills, is a narrow border of fat land, running euite round it, edged with a white sand beach. The wills

are

are covered with grass, or some other herbage, except a few steep rocky cliffs at one part, with patches of trees interspersed to their summits. But the plantations are more numerous in some of the vallies, and the flat border is quite covered with high, strong trees, whose different kinds we could not discern, except some cocoa-palms, and a few of the etoa. According to the information of the men in the canoes, their island is stocked with hogs and fowls, and produces the several fruits and roots that are found at the other islands in this part of the Pacific Ocean.

We had an opportunity, from the conversation we had with those who came off to us, of satisfying ourselves, that the inhabitants of Toobouai speak the Otaheite language, a circumstance that indubitably proves them to be of the same nation. Those of them whom we saw in the canoes were a stout copper-coloured people, with straight black hair, which some of them wore tied in a bunch on the crown of the head, and others flowing about the shouldersi Their faces were somewhat round and full, but the features, upon the whole, rather flat, and their countenances seemed to express some degree of natural ferocity. They had no covering but a piece of narrow stuff wrapped about the waist, and made to pass between the thighs, to cover the adjoining parts; but some of those whom we saw upon the beach, where about a hundred persons had assembled, were entirely clothed with a kind of white garment. We could observe, that some of our visitors in the canoes wore pearl shells hung about the neck as an ornament. One of them kept blowing a large conch-shell, to which a reed. vear two feet long was fixed; at first, with a continued tone of the same kind, but he afterward converted it into a kind of musical instrument, perpetually repeating two or three notes, with the same strength. What the blowing the conch portended, I cannot say, but I never found it the messenger of peace.

Their canoes appeared to be about thirty feet long, and two feet above the surface of the water, as they floated. The fore part projected a little, and had a potch cut across, as if intended to represent the mouth of some animal. The after part rose, with a gentle curve, to the height of two or three feet, turning gradually smaller, and, as well as the upper part of the sides, was carved all over. The rest of the sides, wbich were perpendicular, were curiously incrustated

« ForrigeFortsæt »