The inhabitants of Egmont island, whose persons have been described already, are extremely nimble, vigorous, and active, and seem to be almost as well qualified to live in the water as upon the land, for they were in and out of their canoes almost every minute. The canoes that came out against us from the west end of the island, were all like that which our people brought on board, and might probably, upon occasion, carry about a dozen men, though three or four manage them with amazing dexterity: We saw, however, others of a large size upon the beach, with awnings or shades over them.
We got two of their bows, and a bundle of their arrows, from the canoe that was taken with the wounded man; and with these weapons they do execution at an incredible distance. One of them went through the boat’s washboard, and dangerously wounded a midshipman in the thigh. Their arrows were pointed with flint, and we saw among them no appearance of any metal. The country in general is woody and mountainous, with many vallies intermixed; several small rivers flow from the interior part of the country into the sea, and there are many harbours upon the coast. The variation here was about 11 deg. 15’ E.
Departure from Egmont Island, and Passage to Nova Britannia; with a Description of several other Islands, and their Inhabitants.
We made sail from this island in the evening of Tuesday the 18th of August, with a fresh trade-wind from the eastward, and a few squalls at times. Al first we only hauled up W.N.W. for I was not without hope of falling in with some other islands, where we might be more fortunate than we had been at those we left, before we got the length of Nova Britannia.
On the 20th, we discovered a small, flat, low island, and got up with it in the evening. It lies in latitude 7 deg. 56’ S. longitude 138 deg. 56’ E. and I gave it the name of Gower’s Island. To our great mortification we found no anchorage here, and could procure only a few cocoa-nuts from the inhabitants, (who were much the same kind of people that we had seen at Isle Egmont,) in exchange for nails, and such trifles as we had; they promised, by signs, to bring us more the next day, and we kept off and on all night. The night was extremely dark; and the next morning at day-break, we found that a current had set us considerably to the southward of the island, and brought us within sight of two more. They were situated nearly