A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 03 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 652 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels Volume 03.

Being altogether unacquainted with the voyage, and seeing nothing but sky and water for so many days, the people began to mutter among themselves, as thinking their situation desperate, and anxiously looked out for signs of land, no one having ever been so far out at sea as they then were.  On Wednesday 19th September, a sea gull came on board the admiral, and others appeared in the evening; which raised their hopes of land, believing these birds did not fly far out to sea.  Throwing the lead with a line of 200 fathoms, no ground was found, but the current was found setting to the S.W.  On Thursday the 20th two more gulls were seen; some time after they took a black bird, having a white spot on its crown and feet like a duck; they killed a small fish, and sailed over large quantities of weeds.  From all which tokens the people began to pluck up fresh courage.  Next morning, three small land birds settled on the rigging of the admiral, where they continued singing till the sun rose, when they flew away.  This strengthened their hopes of land; as, though the other birds might venture out to sea, those small birds could not as they thought, go far from land.  Some time after, a gull was seen flying from W.N.W. next afternoon a water-wagtail and another gull, and more weeds to the northwards, which encouraged them in the belief that they came from some land not far off.  Yet these very weeds troubled them, as they were sometimes in such thick spots as to impede the way of the ships, and they therefore avoided them as much as possible.  Next day they saw a whale, and on the 22d September some birds.  During three days the winds were from the S.W. which, though contrary, the admiral said were a good sign, because the ships having hitherto sailed always before the wind, the men believed they would never have a fair wind to return with.  Notwithstanding every encouragement that the admiral could devise, the men grew mutinous and slighted him, railing against the king for sending them on such a voyage; while he sometimes endeavoured to sooth them with hopes, and at other times threatened them with the punishment they might look for from the king, for their cowardice and disobedience.  On the 23d, the wind sprung up at W. N.W. with a rough sea, which pleased every one; at nine in the morning a turtle-dove flew athwart the admiral; in the afternoon a gull and other white birds, and grasshoppers were seen among the weeds.  Next day another gull was seen, and turtle-doves came from the westwards; some small fishes also were seen, which were killed with harpoons, as they would not take bait.

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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 03 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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