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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 28th, we saw a great number of birds about the ship, which continued till the 30th, when about two o’clock in the afternoon we saw land, bearing W.1\2 N. which proved to be the islands Saypan, Tinian, and Aiguigan.  At sun-set, the extremes of them bore from N.W.1/2 N. westward to S.W.; and the three islands had the appearance of one.  At seven, we hauled the wind, and stood off and on all night; and at six the next morning, the extremes of the islands, which still made in one, bore from N.W. by N. to S.W. by S. distant five leagues.  The east side of these islands lies N.E. by N. and S.W. by S. Saypan is the northermost; and from the north-east point of that island to the south-west point of Aiguigan, the distance is about seventeen leagues.  These three islands are between two and three leagues distant from each other; Saypan is the largest, and Aguigan, which is high and round, the smallest.  We steered along the east side of them, and at noon hauled round the south point of Tinian, between that island and Aiguigan, and anchored at the south-west end of it, in sixteen fathom water, with a bottom of hard sand and coral rock, opposite to a white sandy bay, about a mile and a quarter from the shore, and about three quarters of a mile from a reef of rocks that lies at a good distance from the shore, in the very spot where Lord Anson lay in the Centurion.  The water at this place is so very clear that the bottom is plainly to be seen at the depth of four-and-twenty fathom, which is no less than one hundred and forty-four feet.

As soon as the ship was secured, I went on shore, to fix upon a place where tents might be erected for the sick, which were now very numerous; not a single man being wholly free from the scurvy, and many in the last stage of it.  We found several huts which had been left by the Spaniards and Indians the year before; for this year none of them had as yet been at the place, nor was it probable that they should come for some months, the sun being now almost vertical, and the rainy season set in.  After I had fixed upon a spot for the tents, six or seven of us endeavoured to push through the woods, that we might come at the beautiful lawns and meadows of which there is so luxuriant a description in the Account of Lord Anson’s Voyage, and if possible kill some cattle.  The trees stood so thick, and the place was so overgrown with underwood, that we could not see three yards before us, we therefore were obliged to keep continually hallooing to each other, to prevent our being separately lost in this trackless wilderness.  As the weather was intolerably hot, we had nothing on besides our shoes, except our shirts and trowsers, and these were in a very short time torn all to rags by the bushes and brambles; at last however, with incredible difficulty and labour, we got through; but, to our great surprise and disappointment, we found the country very different from the account, we had read of it:  The lands were entirely overgrown with a stubborn kind of reed

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