Sequel of the Passage from New Zealand to Easter Island, and Transactions there, with an Account of an Expedition to discover the Inland Part of the Country, and a Description of some of the surprising gigantic Statues found in the Island.
At eight o’clock in the morning, on the 11th, land was seen, from the mast-head, bearing west, and at noon from the deck, extending from W. 3/4 N. to W. by S., about twelve leagues distant. I made no doubt that this was Davis’s Land, or Easter Island; as its appearance from this situation, corresponded very well with Wafer’s account; and we expected to have seen the low sandy isle that Davis fell in with, which would have been a confirmation; but in this we were disappointed. At seven o’clock in the evening, the island bore from north 62 deg. W., to north 87 deg. W., about five leagues distant; in which situation, we sounded without finding ground with a line of an hundred and forty fathoms. Here we spent the night, having alternately light airs and calms, till ten o’clock the next morning, when a breeze sprung up at W.S.W. With this we stretched in for the land; and by the help of our glass, discovered people, and some of those Colossean statues or idols mentioned in the account of Roggewein’s voyage. At four o’clock p.m. we were half a league S.S.E. and N.N.W. of the N.E. point of the island; and, on sounding, found thirty-five fathoms, a dark sandy bottom. I now tacked, and endeavoured to get into what appeared to be a bay, on the west side of the point or S.E. side of the island; but before this could be accomplished, night came upon us, and we stood on and off, under the land, till the next morning; having sounding from seventy-five to an hundred and ten fathoms, the same bottom as before.
On the 13th, about eight o’clock in the morning, the wind, which had been variable most part of the night, fixed at S.E., and blew in squalls, accompanied with rain; but it was not long before the weather became fair. As the wind now blew right to the S.E. shore, which does not afford that shelter I at first thought, I resolved to look for anchorage on the west and N.W. sides of the island. With this view I bore up round the south point, off which lie two small islets, the one nearest the point high and peaked, and the other low and flattish. After getting round the point, and coming before a sandy beach, we found soundings thirty and forty fathoms, sandy ground, and about one mile from the shore. Here a canoe, conducted by two men, came off to us. They brought with them a bunch of plantains, which they sent into the ship by a rope, and then they returned ashore. This gave us a good opinion of the islanders, and inspired us with hopes of getting some refreshments, which we were in great want of.