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1764: the ship tailed on shore against a steep gravelly beach.
The anchoring ground indeed as far as we had yet sounded was bad, being very hard; so that, in this situation, if the wind blows fresh, there is always the greatest reason to fear that the anchor shouldcome home before the ship can be brought up. While we were on shore it began to blow very hard, and the tide running like a sluice, it was with the utmost difficulty that we could carry an anchor out to heave us off ; however, after about four hours hard labour, this was effected, and the ship floated in the stream. As there was only about six or seven feet of the after part of her that touched the ground, there was reason to hope that she had suffered no damage ; however, I determined to unhang the sudder, that it might be examined. : During all this night and the next morning the wind blew with great violence; we had let go our beit bower anchor when we were near the shore, in hopes it would have brought us up, and had not yet been able to weigh it. We now rode in a very disagreeable situation with our small bower, and that unfortunately came home again: we therefore got a hawser out of the Tamar, who lay in the stream, and after weighing the small bower, we got out by her assistance, and then dropped it again, most ardently wishing for fair weather,
that we might get the ship properly noored. Friday 22,
The next day we founded the harbour higher up, and found the ground softer, and the water not so deep; yet the wind continued to blow so hard that we could not venture to change our station. We had found a small spring of water about half a mile inland, upon the north side of the bay, but it had a brackish taste; I had also made another excursion of several miles into the country, which I found barren and desolate, in every direction, as far as the eye could reach. We had seen many guanicoes at a distance, but wecould not get near enough to have shot at them; we tracked beasts of several kinds in the soil, near a pond of salt water, and among them a very large tyger : we found also a nest of ostriches eggs, which we eat, and thought very good. It is probable that all the animals, which had left marks of their feet near the salt pond, drank the water, and indeed we saw no fresh water for them.
and for of the kinds not perfect
Night me there be
The spring that we had found, which was not perfect- 1764.,
Novemb. ly fresh, was the only one of the kind that we had been able to discover ; and for that we had been obliged to dig, there being no appearance of it except a slight moisture of the ground.
On the 24th, upon slack water, we carried both the Saf. 24. ships higher up and moored them: the extreme points of the harbour's mouth at low water bore from E. by S. I S. to E. and the Steeple rock S. E. – E. We had here, at low water, but six fathom ; but at spring tides the water rises no less than four fathom and an half, which is seven and twenty feet. The tide indeed in this place is such as perhaps it is not in any other. It happened by some accident that one of our men fell overboard; the boats were all along-side, and the man was an exceeding good swimmer, yet before any assistance could be sent after him, the rapidity of the stream had hurried him almost out of sight; we had however at last the good fortune to save him. This day I was again on shore, and walked six or seven miles up the country : I saw several hares as large as a fawn : I shot one of them, which weighed more than six and twenty pounds, and if I had a good greyhound, I dare say the ship's company might have lived upon hare two days in the week. In the mean time the people on board were busy in getting up all the cables upon deck, and clearing the hold, that a proper quantity of ballast might be taken in, and the guns lowered into it, except a few which it might be thought necessary to keep above.
On the 25th, I went a good way up the harbour in Sund. 25. the boat, and having landed on the north side, we soon after found an old oar of a very singular make, and the barrel of a musquet, with the King's broad arrow upon it. The musquet barrel had suffered so much from the weather, that it might be crumbled into dust between the fingers : I imagined it had been left there by the Wager's people, or perhaps by Sir John Narborough. Hitherto we had found no kind of vegetables except a species of wild peas; but though we had seen no inhabitants, we saw places where they had made their fires, which however did not appear to be recent. While we were on shore we shot some wild
1764., ducks and a hare; the hare ran two miles after he was Novemb.
wounded, though it appeared when he was taken up, that a ball had passed quite through his body. I went this day many miles up the country, and had a long chace after one of the guanicoes, which was the largest we had seen : he frequently stopped to look at us, when he had left us at a good distance behind, and made a noise that resembled the neighing of a horse ; but when we came pretty near him he set out again, and at last, my dog being so tired that he could not run him any longer, he got quite away from us, and we saw him no more. We shot a hare however, and a little ugly animal which stunk so intolerably that none of us could go near him. The flesh of the hares here is as white as snow, and nothing can be better tasted. A Serjeant of marines, and some others who were on shore at another part of the bay, had better success than fell to our share, for they killed two old guanicoes and a fawn ; they were however obliged to leave them where they fell, not being able to bring them down to the water side, near six miles, without farther assistance, though they were but half the weight of those that are mentioned by Sir John Narborough ; some however I saw which could not weigh less than seven or eight and thirty stone, which is above four hundred pounds. When we returned in the evening it blew very hard, and the deck being so full of lumber that we could not hoist the boats in, we moored them aftern. About midnight, the storm continuing, our six oared cutter filled with water and broke adrift; the boat keeper, by whose neglect this accident happened, being on board her, very narrowly escaped drowning by catching hold of the stern ladder. As it was tide of food when she went from the ship, we knew that she must drive up the harbour ; yet as the loss of her would be an irremediable misfortune, I suffered much anxiety till I could send after her in the morning, and it was then some hours before she was brought back, having driven many miles with the stream. In the mean time, I sent another party to fetch the guanicoes which our people had shot the night before ; but they found nothing left except the bones, the tygers having eaten the Aesh, and even cracked the bones of the limbs to come at the marrow. Several
of our people had been fifteen miles up the country in 1764. search of fresh water, but could not find the least rill: No we had sunk several wells to a considerable depth where the ground appeared moist, but upon visiting them I had the mortification to find that, all together, they would not yield more than thirty gallons in twenty-four hours ; this was a discouraging circumstance, especially as our people, among other expedients, had watched the guanicoes, and seen them drink at the salt ponds. I therefore determined to leave the place as soon as the ship could be got into a little order, and the six-oared cutter repaired, which had been hauled up upon the beech for that purpose.
On the 27th, some of our people, who had been ashore Tuesd. 27. on the north side of the bay to try for more guanicoes, found the skull and bones of a man, which they brought off with them, and one young guanicoe alive, which we all agreed was one of the most beautiful creatures we had ever seen: it soon grew very tame, and would suck our fingers like a calf; but, notwithstanding all our care and contrivances to feed it, it died in a few days. In the afternoon of this day it blew so hard that I was obliged to keep a considerable number of hands continually by the sheet anchor, as there was too much rea- : son to fear that our cables would part, which however did not happen. In the mean time, some of our people that were on shore with the carpenters, who were repairing the cutter on the south side of the bay, found two more springs of tolerable water about two miles from the beach, in a direct line from the ships station, To these springs I sent twenty hands early in the morn-Wedn. 28. ing with some small casks called Barecas, and in a few turns they brought on board a tun of water, of which we began to be in great want. In the mean time I went myself about twelve miles up the river in my boat, and the weather then growing bad, I went on shore : the river, as far as I could see, was very broad; there were in it a number of, islands, some of which were very large, and I make no doubt but that it penetrates the country for some hundreds of miles. It was upon one of the islands that I went on shore, and I found there such a number of birds, that when they rose they literally darkened the sky, and we could not walk a'step
1764. without treading upon their eggs. As they kept hover: :
ing over our heads at a little distance, the men knocked down many of them with stones and sticks, and carried off several hundreds of their eggs. After some time, I left the island and landed upon the main, where our men dressed and eat their eggs, though there were young birds in most of them. I saw no traces of inhabitants on either side of the river, but great numbers of guanicoes, in herds of fixty or seventy together : they would not however suffer us to approach them, but stood and gazed at us from the hills. In this excursion the Surgeon, who was of my party, shot a tyger-cat, a small but very fierce animal; for though it was much wounded, it maintained a very sharp contest with my dog for
a considerable time before it was killed. Thursd. 29. On the 29th, we completed our ballait, which the
strength of the tide, and the constant gales of wind rendered a very difficult and laborious task : we alsogot
on board another tun of water. On the morning of the riday 30. 30th, the weather was so bad that we could not send a
boat on shore ; but employed all hands on board in setting up the rigging. It grew more moderate however about noon, and I then sent a boat to procure more water: the two men who first came up to the well found there a large tyger lying upon the ground; having gazed at each other some time, the men who had no fire arms, seeing the beast treat them with as much contemptuous neglect as the lion did the knight of LaMancha, began to throw stones at him : of this insult however he did not deign to take the least notice, but continued stretched upon the ground in great tranquility till the rest of the party came up, and then he very
leisurely rose and walked away December. On the first of December, our cutter being thoSaturd. I. roughly repaired, we took her on board, but the wea
ther was so bad that we could not get off any water : the next day we struck the tents which had been set up at the watering-place, and got all ready for sea. The two wells from which we got our water hear about S. S. E. of the steeple rock, from which they are diftant about two miles and an half; but I fixed a mark near them, that they might be still more easily found than by their bearings. During our stay in this harbour,