Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

1765. June.

the pearls, which the oysters at this place contained, were overlooked by the natives, and it is more than probable that if we could have continued here a few weeks, we might have obtained some of great value in exchange for nails, hatchets, and bill-hooks, upon which the natives, with more reason, fet a much higher value. We observed, that in the lake, or lagoon, there were two or three very large vessels, one of which had two mafts, and some cordage aloft to sup

port them.

To these two islands, I gave the name of KING King George's ISLANDS, in honour of his Majesty. Thanks That which we last visited, lies in latitude 14° 41' S. longitude 149° 15' W. the variation of the compass here was 5o E.

[ocr errors]

The Run from King George's Islands to the Islands of

Saypan, Tinian, and liguigan, with an Account several Ifands that were discovered in that Track.

of

W Ꮃ

.

E pursued our course to the westward the Thurfl.13.

same day, and the next, about three o'clock in the afternoon, we saw land again, bearing S. S. W. diftant about fix leagues. We immediately stood for it, and found it to be a low and very narrow island, lying east and west: we ran along the south side of it, which had a green and pleasant appearance, but a dreadful surf breaks upon every part of it, with foul ground at some distance, and many rocks and small islands scattered at about three leagues from the shore. We found it about twenty leagues in length, and it appeared to abound with inhabitants, though we could get only a transient glance of them as we passed along. To this place I gave the name of PRINCE OF Prince of WALES’s ISLAND. It lies in latitude 150 S. and the Wales's westermoft end of it in longitude 151° 53' W. It is diftant from King George's Iflands about eight and forty leagues, in the dire&tion of S. 80 W. the variation here was 50 30' E.

From the western extremity of this island, we Heered N, 82 W. and at noon on the 16th, were in

latitude

[ocr errors]

Inand.

1765. latitude 14° 28' $. longitude 156° 23' W; the variajune.

tion being 7° 40' E. The wind was now easterly, and Sunday 16. we had again the same mountainous swell from the

southward that we had before we made the Islands of Dire&ion, and which, from that time to this day we had lost: when we lost that swell, and for some days before, we saw vaft flocks of birds, which we observed always took their flight to the southward when evening was coming on. These appearances persuaded me that there was land in the same direction, and I am of opinion, that if the winds had not failed me in the higher latitudes, I should have fallen in with it': I would indeed at this time have hauled away to the southward, and attempted the discovery, if our people had been healthy; for having observed that all the islands we had seen were full of inhabitants, I was still more confirmed in my opinion; as I could account for their being peopled only by supposing a chain of islands reaching to a continent ; but the sickness of the crews, in both ships, was an insuperable impedi

ment. Monday 17°

The next day, we again faw many birds of various sorts about the thip, and therefore supposed that some other island was not far diftant, for the swell continuing, I concluded that the land was not of very great extent: I proceeded, however, with caution; for the islands in this part of the ocean render the navigation very dangerous, they begin so low that a ship may be

close in with them before they are seen. We saw Tuesd. 18. nothing, however, on the 18th, the 19th, nor the Wednes 19. 20th, during which we continued to steer the fame Thursd. 20. course, though the birds still continued about the vessel

in great numbers. Our latitude was now 12° 33' S. longitude 1670 47' W. The Prince of Wales's Island

was distant three hundred and thirteen leagues, and the Friday 23.

variation of the needle was 9° 15' E. The next morning, about seven o'clock, we discovered a most dangerous reef of breakers, bearing S. S. W. and not farther diftant than a single league. In about half an hour afterwards, land was seen from the mast-head, bearing W. N. W. and distant about eight leagues : it had the appearance of three islands, with rocks and broken ground between them. The south-east side of

these

1765. June.

these islands lies N. E. by N. and S. W. by S. and is about three leagues in length between the extreme points, from both which a reef runs out, upon which the sea breaks to a tremendous height. We failed round the north end, and upon the north-west and west side, faw innumerable rocks and shoals, which stretched near two leagues into the sea, and were extremely dangerous. The islands themselves had a more fertile and beautiful appearance than any we had feen before, and, like the rest, swarmed with people, whose habitations we saw standing in clusters all along the coast. We saw also a large vessel under fail, at a little distance from the shore; but to our unspeakable regret we were obliged to leave the place without farther examination, for it was surrounded in every direction by rocks and breakers, which rendered the hazard more than equivalent to every advantage we might procure.

At this time, I took these for part of the islands called Solomon's Islands, and was in hopes that I should fall in with others of them, in some of which we might find an harbour.

The reef of rocks which we first saw as we approached these islands, lies in latitude 10° 15' S. longitude 169° 28' W. and it bears from the Prince of Wales's Island N. 76° 48' W. diftant 352 leagues. The islands bear from the reef W.N. W. distant nine leagues : I called them the ISLANDS OF DANGER, and steered from them N. W. by W. allowing for the variation.

After having seen the breakers soon after it was light in the morning, I told my officers that I apprehended we should have frequent alarms in the night; at night, therefore, every body was upon the watch, which a very hard squall of wind, with rain, rendered the more necessary. About nine o'clock, having just gone down into my cabin, I heard a great noise above, and when I enquired what was the matter, I was told that the Tamar, who was a-head, had fired a gün, and that our people saw breakers to leeward: I ran instantly upon deck, and soon perceived that what had been taken for breakers was nothing more than the undulating reflection of the moon, which was going down, and shone faintly from behind a cloud in the horizon;

we

2765. we therefore bore away after the Tamar, but did not June.

get fight of her till an hour afterwards. Monday 24.

Nothing worthy of notice happened till Monday, the 24th, when, about ten o'clock in the morning, we discovered another illand, bearing S. S. W distant about seven or eight leagues : we seered for it, and found it to be low, but covered with wood, among which were cocoa-put trees in great abundance. It had a pleasant appearance, and a large lake in the middle, like King George's Island: it is near thirty miles in circumference, a dreadful sea breaks upon almoit every part of the coast, and a great deal of foul ground lies about it. We failed quite round it, and when we were on the lee-fide, sent out boats to found, in hopes of finding anchorage : no soundings, however, were to be got near the shore, but I sent the boats out a second time, with orders to land, if it were poflible, and procure some refreshment for the fick : they landed with great difficulty, and brought off about two hundred cocoa-nuts, which, to persons in our circumstances, were an inestimable treasure. The people who were on fhore reported, hat there were no signs of its having ever been inhabited, but that they found thousands of sea fowl fitting upon their nests, which were built in high trees : these birds were so tame that they suffered themselves to be knocked down without leaving their nests : the ground was covered with land crabs, but our people saw no other animal. At first I was inclined to believe that this island was the same that in the Neptune François is called Maluita, and laid down about a degree to the eastward of the great Island of Saint Elizabeth, which is the principal of the Solomon's Islands ; but being

afterwards convinced of the contrary, I called it the Duke of DUKE of York's ISLAND, in honour of his late

Royal Highness, and I am of opinion that we were the first human beings who ever saw it. There is indeed great reason to believe that there is no good authority for laying down Solomon's Islands in the situation that is assigned to them by the French: the only person who has pretended to have seen them is Quiros, and I doubt whether he left behind him any account of them by which they might be found by future navigators

.

We

Vork's

1

We continued our course till the 29th, in the track 1765.

June. of these islands, and being then ten degrees to the westward of their situation in the chart, without hav- Saturd. 29. ing seen any thing of them, I hauled to the northward, in order to cross the equinoxial, and afterwards thape my course for the Ladrone Illands, which, though a long run, I hoped to accomplish before I should be distressed for water, notwithstanding it now began to fall short. Our latitude, this day, was 8° 13' S. longitude 176° 20' E. and the variation was 10° 10' E.

On Tuesday the ad of July, we again saw many July. birds about the ship, and at four o'clock in the after. Tuesday 2. 4 noon, discovered an illand bearing north, and distant about six leagues : we stood for it till sun-let, when it was distant about four leagues, and then kept off and on for the night. In the morning, we found it a low Wednes. 3. flat ifland, of a most delightful appearance and full of wood, among which the cocoa-nut tree was very conspicuous: we saw, however, to our great regret, much foul ground about it, upon which the sea broke with a dreadful surf. We steered along the south-west side of it, which we judged to be about four leagues in length, and soon perceived not only that it was inhabited, but very populous ; for presently after the ship came in sight, we saw at least a thousand of the natives assembled upon the beach, and in a very short time more than sixty canoes, or rather proas, put off from the shore, and made towards us. We lay by to receive them, and they were very soon ranged in a circle round us. These vessels were very neatly made, and so clean that they appeared to be quite new : none of them had fewer than three persons on board, nor any of them more than fix. After these Indians had gazed at us some time, one of them suddenly jumped out of his proa, swam to the ship, and ran up the side like a cat: as soon as he had stepped over the gunwale, he sat down upon it, and burst into a violent fit of laughter, then started up, and ran all over the ship attempting to steal whatever he could lay his hands upon, but without success, for being stark naked, it was impoffible to conceal his booty for a moment. Our seamen put on him a jacket and trowsers, which produced great merriment, for he had all the gestures of a

monkey

« ZurückWeiter »