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 stretched to W.S.W., and next day at noon were in the latitude of 28 deg. 25’, longitude 170 deg. 26’ E. In the evening, Mr Cooper haying struck a porpoise with a harpoon, it was necessary to bring-to, and have two boats out, before we could kill it, and get it on board.  It was six feet long; a female of that kind, which naturalists call dolphin of the ancients, and which differs from the other kind of porpoise in the head and jaw, having them long and pointed.  This had eighty-eight teeth in each jaw.  The haslet and lean flesh were to us a feast.  The latter was a little liverish, but had not the least fishy taste.  It was eaten roasted, broiled, and fried, first soaking it in warm water.  Indeed, little art was wanting to make any thing fresh, palatable to those who had been living so long on salt meat.[1]

We continued to stretch to W.S.W. till the 10th, when at day-break we discovered land, bearing S.W., which on a nearer approach we found to be an island of good height, and five leagues in circuit.  I named it Norfolk Isle, in honour of the noble family of Howard.  It is situated in the latitude of 29 deg. 2’ 30” S. and longitude 168 deg. 16’ E. The latter was determined by lunar observations made on this, the preceding, and following days; and the former by a good observation at noon, when we were about three miles from the isle.  Soon after we discovered the isle, we sounded in twenty-two fathoms on a bank of coral sand; after this we continued to sound, and found not less than twenty-two; or more than twenty-four fathoms (except near the shore), and the same bottom mixed with broken shells.  After dinner a party of us embarked in two boats, and landed on the island, without any difficulty, behind some large rocks, which lined part of the coast on the N.E. side.

We found it uninhabited, and were undoubtedly the first that ever set foot on it.  We observed many trees and plants common at New Zealand; and, in particular, the flax-plant, which is rather more luxuriant here than in any part of that country; but the chief produce is a sort of spruce-pine, which grows in great abundance, and to a large size, many of the trees being as thick, breast high, as two men could fathom, and exceedingly straight and tall.  This pine is a sort between that which grows in New Zealand, and that in New Caledonia; the foliage differing something from both, and the wood not so heavy as the former, nor so light and close-grained as the latter.  It is a good deal like the Quebec pine.  For about two hundred yards from the shore, the ground is covered so thick with shrubs and plants, as hardly to be penetrated farther inland.  The woods were perfectly clear and free from underwood, and the soil seemed rich and deep.

We found the same kind of pigeons, parrots, and parroquets as in New Zealand, rails, and some small birds.  The sea-fowl are, white boobies, gulls, tern, &c. which breed undisturbed on the shores, and in the cliffs of the rocks.

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