A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 14 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 822 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 14.
we came before an opening that had the appearance of a good channel, through which we might go in for the land.  I wanted to get at it, not only to visit it, but also to have an opportunity to observe an eclipse of the sun which was soon to happen.  With this view we brought-to, hoisted out two armed boats, and sent them to sound the channel; ten or twelve large sailing canoes being then near us.  We had observed them coming off from the shore, all the morning, from different parts; and some were lying on the reef, fishing, as we supposed.  As soon as they all got together, they came down to us in a body, and were pretty near when we were hoisting out our boats, which probably gave them some alarm; for, without stopping, they hauled in for the reef, and our boats followed them.  We now saw that what we had taken for openings in the coast was low land, and that it was all connected, except the western extremity, which was an island known by the name of Balabea, as we afterwards learnt.

The boats having made a signal for a channel, and one of them being placed on the point of the reef on the weather side of it, we stood in with the ship, and took up the other boat in our way, when the officer informed me, that where we were to pass, was sixteen and fourteen fathoms water, a fine sandy bottom, and that having put alongside two canoes, he found the people very obliging and civil.[2] They gave him some fish; and, in return, he presented them with medals, &c.  In one was a stout robust young man, whom, they understood to be a chief.  After getting within the reef, we hauled up S. 1/2 E., for a small low sandy isle that we observed lying under the shore, being followed by all the canoes.  Our sounding in standing in, was from fifteen to twelve fathoms (a pretty even fine sandy bottom,) for about two miles; then we had six, five, and four fathoms.  This was on the tail of a shoal which lies a little without the small isle to the N.E.  Being over it, we found seven and eight fathoms water, which shallowed gradually as we approached the shore, to three fathoms, when we tacked and stood off a little, and then anchored in five fathoms, the bottom a fine sand mixed with mud.  The little sandy isle bore E. by S., three-quarters of a mile distant; and we were one mile from the shore of the main, which extended from S.E. by E., round to the south, to W.N.W.  The island of Balabea bore N.W. by N., and the channel, through which we came, north, four miles distant.  In this situation we were extremely well sheltered from the reigning winds, by the sandy isle and its shoals, and by the shoal without them.

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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 14 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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