A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 10 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 762 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 10.
of 13 deg.  N. which is that of Guam, and then to bear away before the wind in that parallel.  This resolution was formed on the 2d February, all which day and most of the ensuing night we had fine calm weather, and caught abundance of yellow-tails, which swam about the vessel.  This fish is about four feet long, having twenty fins on its back; a middling one behind the head, a large one on the middle of the back, and eighteen small ones between that and the tail.  It has a large fin on each side near the gills, and thirteen under the belly, viz. a middling one under the gills, a large one near the middle of the belly, which goes in with a dent, and eleven small ones between that and the tail, which is yellow and half-mooned.  This fish has a very great head, with large eyes, and is good eating, having no bones except the back-bone.  It is all white, except the tips of the fins and the tail, which, are yellow.  These fish were very acceptable to us, as we fed upon them for three days, saving our other provisions.  On the 3d February, five or six turtles came near our bark, two of which we caught, which also served to save our scanty store of provisions, which otherwise had not sufficed to keep us from starving.

On the evening of the 3d February, having a brisk gale from the land at N.E. we took our departure from Mount St Miguel in the Gulf of Amapalla, steering S.W. and S.S.W. till we were in the lat. of 10 deg.  N. when falling in with the tradewind, we set our course W.N.W. we then made studding-sails to our main and main-top sails, which we hoisted every morning at day-break, and hauling down at sun-set, as it commonly blew so fresh in the night that we had usually to furl our top-sail; but the wind commonly abated at sun-rise.  During our whole voyage we steadily adhered to the rule of diet we had laid down, the slenderness of which may be judged of by the following particulars.

From the 3d of February to the end of that month, we fed entirely on plantains, making two meals a day, and allowing two plantains to each man for a meal.  We had then recourse to our flour, of which half a pound was allowed daily to each man, and two ounces every other day of salt beef or pork; but the meat had been so long in salt, that it shrunk one half when boiled, wherefore we concluded it was better to eat it raw, which we did as long as it lasted.  By the beginning of April that began to fail, so that we were reduced to flour alone, which was sore spoiled, being full of maggots, spiders, and other vermin, so that nothing but the extremity of want could have induced us to eat it.  It was surprising to behold this strange alteration in the flour, which only a few days before was white and fine, and was now in a manner all alive, the maggots tumbling over each other in prodigious numbers.  On strict enquiry, these maggots seemed to proceed from the eggs of spiders deposited among the flour, out of which the maggots were bred, and then fed voraciously on the flour. 

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