“We were accosted with caresses by old and young, by men and women. They hugged us very heartily, and frequently kissed our hands, laying them on their breast, with the most expressive looks of affection that can be imagined.”—G.F.
The Arrival of the Ships at Amsterdam; a Description of a Place of Worship; and an Account of the Incidents which happened while we remained at that Island.
As soon as I was on board, we made sail down to Amsterdam. The people of this isle were so little afraid of us, that some met us in three canoes about midway between the two isles. They used their utmost efforts to get on board, but without effect, as we did not shorten sail for them, and the rope which we gave them broke. They then attempted to board the Adventure, and met with the same disappointment. We ran along the S.W. coast of Amsterdam at half a mile from shore, on which the sea broke in a great surf. We had an opportunity, by the help of our glasses, to view the face of the island, every part of which seemed to be laid out in plantations. We observed the natives running along the shore, displaying small white flags, which we took for ensigns of peace, and answered them by hoisting a St George’s ensign. Three men belonging to Middleburg, who, by some means or other, had been left on board the Adventure, now quitted her, and swam to the shore; not knowing that we intended to stop at this isle, and having no inclination, as may be supposed, to go away with us.
As soon as we opened the west side of the isle, we were met by several canoes, each conducted by three or four men. They came boldly alongside, presented us with some Eava root, and then came on board without farther ceremony, inviting us, by all the friendly signs they could make, to go to their island, and pointing to the place where we should anchor; at least we so understood them. After a few boards, we anchored in Van Diemen’s Road, in eighteen fathoms water, little more than a cable’s length from the breakers, which line the coast. We carried out the coasting-anchor and cable to seaward, to keep the ship from tailing on the rocks, in case of a shift of wind or a calm. This last anchor lay in forty-seven fathoms water; so steep was the bank on which we anchored. By this time we were crowded with people; some came off in canoes, and others swam; but, like those of the other isle, brought nothing with them but cloth, matting, &c., for which the seamen only bartered away their clothes. As it was probable they would soon feel the effects of this kind of traffic, with a view to put a stop to it, and to obtain the necessary refreshments, I gave orders that no sort of curiosities should be purchased by any person whatever.