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1769. league of the shore, till sunset, and we then April.
judged ourselves to be about half-way between Wednes. 5. the two horns : here we brought to, and sound
ed, but found no bottom with one hundred and thirty fathom; and, as it is dark almost instantly after sunset in these latitudes, we suddenly lost sight of the land, and making fail again, before the line was well hauled in, we steered by the found of the breakers, which were distinctly heard till we got clear of the coast.
We knew this isand to be inhabited, by smoke which we saw in different parts of it, and we gave it the name of Bow ISLAND. Mr. Gore, my second lieutenant, said, after we had failed by the island, that he had seen several of the natives, under the first clump of trees, from the deck, that he had distinguished their houses, and feen several canoes hauled up under the shade; but in this he was more fortunate than any other person on board. The east end of this island, which from its figure we called the Bow, lies in latitude 18° 23' S. and longitude 141° 12' W.; we observed the variation of the
compass to be 5° 38' E. Thursd. 6.
On the next day, Thursday the. 6th, about The Groups. noon, we saw land again to the westward, and
came up with it about three. It appeared to be two inands, or rather groups of islands, extend. ing from N. W. by N. to S. E. by S. about nine leagues. Of these, the two largest were sepa.
rated from each other by a channel of about 1769,
April. .. half a mile broad, and were severally surrounded by smaller isands, to which they were joined by Thurid. 0. reefs that lay under water.
These islands were long narrow strips of land, ranging in all directions, some of them ten miles or upwards in length, but none more than a quarter of a mile broad, and upon all of them there were trees of various kinds, particularly the cocoa-nut. The south-eastermost of them lies in the latitude of 18° 12 S. and longitude 142° 42' W. and at the distance of twenty-five leagues in the direction of W. N. from the west end of Bow Inand. We ranged along the S. W. side of this island, and hauled into a bay which lies to the N. W. of the southermost point of the Group, where there was a smooth fea, and the appearance of anchorage, without much surf on the shore. We founded, but we found no bottom with one hundred fathom, at the distance of no more than three quarters of a mile from the beach, and I did not think it prudent to go nearer.
While this was doing, several of the inhabite ants assembled upon the shore, and some came out in their canoes as far as the reefs, but would not pass them: when we saw this, we ranged, with an easy fail, along the shore; but just as we were passing the end of the island, fix men, who had for some time kept abreast of the ship, sud
denly launched two canoes with great quickness. and dexterity, and three of them getting into each, they put off, as we imagined with a design to come on board us; the ship was therefore brought to, but they, like their fellowsstopped at the reef; we did not however immediately make sail, as we observed two messengers disa patched to them from the other capoes, which were of a much larger size: we perceived that these messengers made great expedition, wading and swimming along the reef; at length they met, and the men on board the canoes making no dispositions to pass the reef, after having received the message, we judged that they had resolved to come no farther: after waiting, therefore, fome little time longer, we ftood off; but when we were got about two or three miles from the shore, we perceived some of the natives following us in a canoe with a fail; we did not, however, think it worth while to wait for her, And though she had passed the reef, she foon after gave over the chace.
According to the best judgment that we could form of the people when we were nearest the fhore, they were about our size, and well-made, They were of a brown complexion, and ap. peared to be naked; their hair, which was black, was confined by a filler that went round the head, and stuck out behind like a bush. The greater part of them carried in their hands two weapons;
one of them was a Nender pole, from ten to four. 1769
April. teen feet long, on one end of which was a small knob, not unlike the point of a spear; the other Thursd. was about four feet long, and shaped like a paddle, and poffibly might be so, for some of their canoes were very small: those which we faw them launch seemed not intended to carry more than the three men that got into them: we faw others that had on board six or seven men, and one of them hoisted a fail which did not feem to reach more than fix feet above the gunwale of the boat, and which, upon the falling of à Night shower, was taken down and converted into an awning or tilt. The canoe which fol. lowed us to sea hoisted a fail rot unlike an English lug-fail, and almoft as lofty as an English boat of the same size would have carried
The people, who kept abreast of the ship on the beach, made many signals; but whether they were intended to frighten us away, or invite us on fhore, it is not easy to determine: we returned them by waving our hats and shouting, and they replied by shouting again. We did not put their disposition to the test, by attempting to land; because, as the island was inconsiderable, and as we wanted nothing that it could afford, we thought it imprudent as well as cruel to risk a contest, in which the natives must have suffered by our superiority, merely to gratify an idle curiosity; especially as we expected soon to
fall in with the island where we had been die rected to make our astronomical observation, the inhabitants of which would probably adınit us without opposition, as they were already ac. quainted with our strength, and might also procure us a ready and peaceable reception among the neighbouring people, if we should desire it."
To these islands we gave the name of The Groups.
On the 7th, about half an hour after six in the morning, being just at day-break, we discovered another isand to the northward, which we judged to be about four miles in circumference. The land lay very low, and there was a piece of water in the middle of it; there seemed to be some wood upon it, and it looked green and pleasant; but we saw neither cocoa trees nor inhabitants : it abounded however with birds, and we therefore gaye it the name of BiRD-ISLAND.
It lies in latitude 17° 48' S. and longitude 143° 35' W. at the distance of ten leagues, in the direction W. N. from the west end of the Groups. The variation here was 6° 32' E.
On the 8th, about two o'clock in the after. noon, we saw land to the northward, and about sun-set came abreast of it, at about the distance of two leagues. It appeared to be a double range of low woody islands joined together by reefs, so as to form one island, in the form of an ellipsis or oval, with a lake in the middle of it. The