The Passage from Batavia to the Cape of Good Hope. Some Account of Prince’s Island and its Inhabitants. Our Arrival at the Cape of Good Hope. Some Remarks on the Run from Java Head to that Place, and to Saint Helena. The Return of the Ship to England.
[Footnote 164: The original contains some remarks on the language of Prince’s Island, and a comparative view of it with the Malay and Javanese. These have been omitted, because another opportunity will present of treating the subject more fully than could be done here, without anticipating information which belongs to another place. Much additional light has been thrown on this interesting topic since the date of this navigation.—E.]
On Thursday the 27th of December, at six o’clock in the morning, we weighed again and stood out to sea. After much delay by contrary winds, we weathered Pulo Pare on the 29th, and stood in for the main: Soon after, we fetched a small island under the main, in the midway between Batavia and Bantam, called Maneater’s Island. The next day, we weathered first Wapping Island, and then Pulo Babi. On the 31st, we stood over to the Sumatra shore; and on the morning of new-year’s-day, 1771, we stood over for the Java shore.
We continued our course as the wind permitted us till three o’clock in the afternoon of the 5th, when we anchored under the south-east side of Prince’s Island in eighteen fathom, in order to recruit our wood and water, and procure refreshments for the sick, many of whom were now become much worse than they were when we left Batavia. As soon as the ship was secured, I went ashore, accompanied by Mr Banks and Dr Solander, and we were met upon the beach by some Indians, who carried us immediately to a man, who, they said, was their king. After we had exchanged a few compliments with his majesty, we proceeded to business; but in settling the price of turtle we could not agree: This however did not discourage us, as we made no doubt but that we should buy them at our own price in the morning. As soon as we parted, the Indians dispersed, and we proceeded along the shore in search of a watering-place. In this we were more successful; we found water very conveniently situated, and, if a little care was taken in filling it, we had reason to believe that it would prove good. Just as we were going off, some Indians, who remained with a canoe upon the beach, sold us three turtle, but exacted a promise of us that we should not tell the king.
The next morning, while a party was employed in filling water, we renewed our traffic for turtle: At first, the Indians dropped their demands slowly, but about noon they agreed to take the price that we offered, so that before night we had turtle in plenty: The three that we had purchased the evening before, were in the mean time served to the ship’s company, who, till the day before, had not once been served with salt provisions from the time of our arrival at Savu, which was now near four months. In the evening, Mr Banks went to pay his respects to the king, at his palace, in the middle of a rice field, and though his majesty was busily employed in dressing his own supper, he received the stranger very graciously.