[Footnote 46: The Prasil, or Pracels, is a congeries of rocks and small islands, about sixty miles eastward of the coast of Cochin China, and reckoned very dangerous to navigators, on account of breakers and counter currents.—E.]
At seven o’clock the next morning, we saw the island of Timoan, bearing S.W. by W. distant about twelve leagues. As Dampier has mentioned Pulo Timoan as a place where some refreshments are to be procured, I endeavoured to touch there, having lived upon salt provisions, which were now become bad, ever since we were at Tinian; but light airs, calms, and a southerly current, prevented our coming to an anchor till late in the evening of the 5th. We had sixteen fathom at about the distance of two miles from the shore, on a bay on the east side of the island.
The next day I landed to see what was to be got, and found the inhabitants, who are Malays, a surly insolent set of people. As soon as they saw us approaching the shore, they came down to the beach in great numbers, having a long knife in one hand, a spear headed with iron in the other, and a cressit or dagger by their side. We went on shore, however, notwithstanding these hostile appearances, and a treaty soon commenced between us; but all we could procure, was about a dozen of fowls, and a goat and kid. We had offered them knives, hatchets, bill-hooks, and other things of the same kind; but these they refused with great contempt, and demanded rupees: As we had no rupees, we were at first much at a loss how to pay for our purchase; but at last we bethought ourselves of some pocket-handkerchiefs, and these they vouchsafed to accept, though they would take only the best.
These people were of a small stature; but extremely well made, and of a dark copper-colour. We saw among them one old man who was dressed somewhat in the manner of the Persians; but all the rest were naked, except a handkerchief, which they wore as a kind of turban upon their heads, and some pieces of cloth which were fastened with a silver plate or clasp round their middles. We saw none of their women, and probably some care was taken to keep them out of our sight. The habitations are very neatly built of slit bamboo, and are raised upon posts about eight feet from the ground. Their boats are also well made, and we saw some of a large size, in which we supposed that they carried on a trade to Malacca.
The island is mountainous and woody, but we found it pleasant when we were ashore; it produces the cabbage and cocoa-nut tree in great plenty, but the natives did not chuse to let us have any of the fruit. We saw also some rice grounds, but what other vegetable productions Nature has favoured them with, we had no opportunity to learn, as we stayed here but two nights and one day. In the bay where the ship rode, there is excellent fishing, though the surf runs very high: We hauled our seine with great success, but could easily perceive that it gave umbrage