A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 12 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 659 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels Volume 12.

On the 27th, some of our people, who had been ashore on the north side of the bay to try for more guanicoes, found the skull and bones of a man, which they brought off with them, and one young guanicoe alive, which we all agreed was one of the most beautiful creatures we had ever seen:  It soon grew very tame, and would suck our fingers like a calf; but, notwithstanding all our care and contrivances to feed it, it died in a few days.  In the afternoon of this day it blew so hard that I was obliged to keep a considerable number of hands continually by the sheet-anchor, as there was too much reason to fear that our cables would part, which however did not happen.  In the mean time, some of our people that were on shore with the carpenters, who were repairing the cutter on the south side of the bay, found two more springs of tolerable water about two miles from the beach, in a direct line from the ship’s station.  To these springs I sent twenty hands early in the morning with some small casks, called barecas, and in a few turns they brought on board a tun of water, of which we began to be in great want.  In the mean time, I went myself about twelve miles up the river in my boat, and the weather then growing bad, I went on shore:  The river, as far as I could see, was very broad; there were in it a number of islands, some of which were very large, and I make no doubt but that it penetrates the country for some hundreds of miles.  It was upon one of the islands that I went on shore, and I found there such a number of birds, that when they rose they literally darkened the sky, and we could not walk a step without treading upon their eggs.  As they kept hovering over our heads at a little distance, the men knocked down many of them with stones and sticks, and carried off several hundreds of their eggs.  After some time I left the island and landed upon the main, where our men dressed and eat their eggs, though there were young birds in most of them.  I saw no traces of inhabitants on either side of the river, but great numbers of guanicoes, in herds of sixty or seventy together:  They would not however suffer us to approach them, but stood and gazed at us from the hills, in this excursion the surgeon, who was of my party, shot a tyger cat, a small but very fierce animal; for, though it was much wounded, it maintained a very sharp contest with my dog for a considerable time before it was killed.[14]

[Footnote 14:  “On the south shore the rocks are not so numerous as on the north side; and there are more hills and deep vallies; but they are covered only by high grass and a few small shrubs.  Hence this is but a bad place to touch at, by any ship that is under the necessity of wooding and watering.  Our commodore, in order to clear the ground of the overgrown grass, which grew in some places in great quantities, and also to improve the soil, which appeared to be of a barren sandy nature, gave orders for the grass to be set on fire in different places, which was no sooner done, than the flames ran so fast, that in less than half an hour they spread several miles round.”]

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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 12 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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