Abbildungen der Seite

'169- eighty fathom long; this they haul in shoal smooth water, and its own weight keeps it so close to tha ground that scarcely a single fish can escape.

In every expedient, indeed, for taking fish, they are exceedingly ingenious; they make harpoons of cane, and point them with hard wood, which in their hands strike fish more effectually, than those which are headed with iron can do in ours, setting aside the advantage of ours being fastened to a line, so that the fish is secured if the hook takes place, tho' it does not mortally wound him.

Of fish-hooks they have two sorts, admirably adapted in their construction, as well to the purpose they are to answer, as to the materials of which they are made. One of these, which they call Wittee Wittee, is used for towing. The shank is made of mother-ofpearl, the most glossy that can be got; the inside, which is naturally the brightest, is put behind. To these hooks a tuft of white dogs or hogs hair is fixed, so as somewhat to resemble the tail of a fish; these implements, therefore, are both hook and bait, and are used with a rod of bamboo, and line of Erowa. The fisher, to secure his success, watches the flight of the birds, which constantly attend the bonetas when they swim in shoals, by which he directs, his canoe, and when he has the advantage of these guides, he seldom. returns without a prize.

The other kind of hook is also made of mother-ofpearl, or some other hard shell; they cannot make them bearded, like our hooks, but, to effect the fame purpose, they make the point turn inwards. These are made of all sizes, and used to catch various kinds of fish with great success. The manner of making them is very simple, and every fisherman is his own artificer; the shell is first cut into square pieces, by the edge of another shell, and wrought into a form corresponding with the outline of the hook by pieces of coral, which are sufficiently rough to perform the office {of a file; a hole is then bored in the middle, the drill being no other than the first stone they pick up that has a sharp corner; this they fix into the end of a piece ot bamboo, and turn it between the hands like a chocolate-mill; when the shell is perforated, and the whole sufficiently wide, a small file of coral is introduced, by the application of which the hook is in a short time completed, few costing the artificer more time tTian a quarter of an hour. /Of their masonry, carving, and architecture, the . reader has already formed some idea, from the account that has been given of the Morais, or repositories of the dead: the other most important article of building and carving is their boats; and, perhaps, to fabricate one of their principal vessels with their tools, is as great a work as to build a British man of war with ours.

They have an adze of stone; a chissel or gouge of bone, generally that of a man's arm, between the wrist and elbow; a rasp of coral; and the skin of a stingray, with coral sand, as a file or polisher.

This is a complete catalogue of their tools, and with these they build houses, construct canoes, hew stone, and fell, cleave, carve, and polish timber.

The stone which makes the blade of their adzes is a kind of Basaltes, of a blackish or grey colour, not very hard, but of considerable toughness; they are formed of different sizes, some, that are intended for felling, weigh from six to eight pounds; others, that are used for carving, not more than so many ounces; but it is necessary to sharpen both almost every minute, for which purpose a stone and a cocoa-nut shell full o% ■water are always at hand.

Their greatest exploit, to which these tools are less equal than to any other, is felling a tree; this requires many hands, and the constant labour of several days. When it is down, they split it, with the grain, into planks from three to four inches thick, the whole length and breadth of the tree, many of which are eight feet in the girt, and forty to the branches, and nearly of the" fame thickness throughout. The tree generally used is in their language called Avie, the stem of which is tall and straight; though some of the* smaller boats are made of the bread-fruit tree, which is a light spongy wood, and easily wrought. They smooth the plank very expeditioufly and dexterously with their adzes, and can take off a thin coat from a Vol. II. F whole


'169- whole plank without missing a stroke. As they have 1 not the art of warping a plank, every part of the canoe, whether hollow or flat, is sliaped by hand.

The canoes, or boats, which are used by the inhabitants of this and the neighbouring islands, may be divided into two general classes, one of which they call Ivahahs, the other Pahies.

The Ivahah is used for short excursions to sea, and is wall-fided and flat-bottomed; the Pahie for longer voyages, and is bow-fided and sharp-bottomed. Tne Ivahahs are all of the fame figure, but of different sizes, and used for different purposes; their length is from seventy-two feet to ten, but the breadth is by no means in proportion, for those of ten feet are about a foot wide, and those of more than seventy are scarcely two. There is the fighting Ivahah, the fishing Ivahah, and the travelling Ivahah; for some of these go from one island to another. The fighting Ivahah is by far the longest, and the head and stern are considerably raised above the body, in a semicircular form, particularly the stern, which is sometimes seventeen or eighteen feet high, though the boat itself is scarcely three. These never go to sea single, but are fastened together, side by side, at the distance of about three feet, by strong poles of wood, which are laid across them and lashed to the gunwales. Upon these, in the fore-part, a stage or platform is raised, about ten or twelve feet long, and somewhat wider than the boats, which is supported by pillars about six feet high; upon this stage stand the fighting men, whose missile weapons are slings and spears; lor, among other singularities in the manners of these people, their bows and arrows are used only for diversion, as we throw quoits: below these stages sit the rowers, who receive from them those that are wounded, and furnish fresh men to ascend in their room. Some of these have a platform of bamboos, or other light wood, through their whole length, and considerably broader, by means of which they will carry a great number of men; but we saw only one fitted in this manner.

The fishing Ivahahs vary in length from about forty feet to the smallest size, which is about ten; all that are of the length of twenty-five leet and upwards, of

whatever whatever sort, occasionally carry sail. The travelling Ivahah is always double, and furnished with a small neat house about five or six feet broad, and six or seven feet long, which is fastened upon the fore-part for the convenience of the principal people, who sit in them by day, and sleep in them at night. The fishing Ivahahs are sometimes joined together, and have a house on board; but this is not common.

Those which are shorter than five and twenty seer, seldom or never carry sail; and, though the stern rises about four or five feet, have a flat head, and a board that projects forward about four feet.

The Pahie is also os different sizes, from sixty to thirty feet long, but, like the Ivahah, is very narrow. One that I measured was fifty-one feet long, and only one foot and a half wide at the top. In the widest part it was about three feet, and this is the general proportion. It does not, however, widen by a gradual swell, but, the sides being straight, and parallel, for a little way below the gunwale, it swells abruptly, and draws to a ridge at the bottom; so that a transverse section of it has somewhat the appearance of the mark upon cards, called a Spade, the whple being much wider in proportion to its length. These, like the largest Ivahahs are used for fighting, but principally for long voyages. The fighting Pahie, which is the largest, is fitted with the stage or platform, which is proportionably larger than those of the Ivahah, as their form enables them to sustain a much greater weight. Those that are used for sailing are generally double; and the middle size are said to be the best sea-boats. They are sometimes out a month together, going from island to island; and sometimes, as we were credibly informed, they are a fortnight or twenty days at sea, and could keep it longer if they had more stowage for provisions, and conveniences to hold fresh water.

When any of these boats carry fail single, they make use of a log of wood, which is fastened to the end of two poles that lie across the vessel, and project from six to ten feet, according to the size of the vessel, beyond its side, somewhat like what is used by the flying Proa of the Ladrone Islands, and called, in Fa the


1759- the Account of Lord Anson's Voyage, an Outrigger. To. this outrigger the shrouds are fastened, artd it is essentially necessary in trimming the boat when it blows fresh.

Some of them have one mast, and some two; they are made of a single stick, and when the length of the canoe is thirty feet, that of the mast is somewhat less than five and twenty; it is fixed to a frame that is above the canoe, and receives a fail of matting about one third longer than itself; the sail is pointed at the top, square at the-bottom, and curved at the side, somewhat resembling what we call a shoulder of mutton sail, and use for boats belonging to men of war; it is placed in a frame of wood, which surrounds it on every fide, and has no contrivance either for reefing or furling; so that, if either should becbme necessary, it must be cut away, which, however, in these equal climates can seldom happen. At the top of the mast are fastened ornaments of feathers, which are placed inclining obliquely forwards; the shape and position of which wiH be conceived at once, from the figure in one of the cuts.

The oars or paddles that are used with these boats, have a long handle and a flat blade, not unlike a baker's peel. Of these every person in the boat has one, except those that sit under the awning; and they push her forward with them at a good rate. These boats, however, admit so much water at the (earns, that one person, at least, is continually employed in throwing it out. The only thing in which they excel is landing, and putting off from the shore in a surf; by their great length and high sterns they land dry, when our boats could scarcely land at all; and have the same advantages in putting off, by the height of the head.

The Ivahahs are the only boats that are used by the inhabitants of Otaheite; but we saw several Pahies that came from other islands. Of one of these I shall give the exact dimensions from a careful admeasurement, and then particularly describe the mannar in which they are built.


« ZurückWeiter »