A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 13 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 794 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 13.

At four o’clock in the morning of the 5th of December, we weighed, with a light breeze, but it being variable, with frequent calms, we made little way.  We kept turning out of the bay till the afternoon, and about ten o’clock we were suddenly becalmed, so that the ship would neither wear nor stay, and the tide or current setting strong, she drove towards land so fast, that before any measures could be taken for her security she was within a cable’s length of the breakers:  We had thirteen fathom water, but the ground was so foul that we did not dare to drop our anchor; the pinnace therefore was immediately hoisted out to take the ship in tow, and the men, sensible of their danger, exerting themselves to the utmost, and a faint breeze springing up off the land, we perceived with unspeakable joy that she made head-way, after having been so near the shore that Tupia, who was not sensible of our hair’s breadth escape, was at this very time conversing with the people upon the beach, whose voices were distinctly heard, notwithstanding the roar of the breakers.  We now thought all danger was over, but about an hour afterwards, just as the man in the chains had cried “Seventeen fathom,” the ship struck.  The shock threw us all into the utmost consternation; Mr Banks, who had undressed himself, and was stepping into bed, ran hastily up to the deck, and the man in the chains called out “Five fathom;” by this time, the rock on which we had struck being to windward, the ship went off without having received the least damage, and the water very soon deepened to twenty fathom.

This rock lies half a mile W.N.W. of the northermost or outermost island on the south-east side of the bay.  We had light airs from the land, with calms, till nine o’clock the next morning, when we got out of the bay, and a breeze springing up at N.N.W. we stood out to sea.

This bay, as I have before observed, lies on the west side of Cape Bret, and I named it the Bay of Islands, from the great number of islands which line its shores, and from several harbours equally safe and commodious, where there is room and depth for any number of shipping.  That in which we lay is on the south-west side of the south-westermost island, called Maturaro, on the south-east side of the bay.  I have made no accurate survey of this bay, being discouraged by the time it would cost me; I thought also that it was sufficient to be able to affirm that it afforded us good anchorage, and refreshment of every kind.  It was not the season for roots, but we had plenty of fish, most of which, however, we purchased of the natives, for we could catch very little ourselves either with net or line.  When we shewed the natives our seine, which is such as the king’s ships are generally furnished with, they laughed at it, and in triumph produced their own, which was indeed of an enormous size, and made of a kind of grass, which is very strong:  It was five fathom deep, and by the room it took up, it could not be less than

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