With a gentle breeze at E. we got up with it before ten o’clock in the morning, and I immediately dispatched Mr Gore, with two boats, to endeavour to land, and get some food for our cattle. As there seemed to be no inhabitants here to obstruct our taking away whatever we might think proper, I was confident of his being able to make amends for our late disappointment, if the landing could be effected. There was a reef here surrounding the land as at Wateeoo, and a considerable surf breaking against the rocks. Notwithstanding which, our boats no sooner reached the lee, or west side of the island, but they ventured in, and Mr Gore and his party got safe on shore. I could, from the ship, see that they had succeeded so far, and I immediately sent a small boat to know what farther assistance was wanting. She did not return till three o’clock in the afternoon, having waited to take in a lading of what useful produce the island afforded. As soon as she was cleared, she was sent again for another cargo; the jolly boat was also dispatched, and Mr Gore was ordered to be on board, with all the boats, before night, which was complied with.
The supply obtained here consisted of about a hundred cocoa nuts for each ship; and, besides this refreshment for ourselves, we got for our cattle some grass, and a quantity of the leaves and branches of young cocoa-trees, and of the wharra-tree, as it is called at Otaheite, the pandanus of the East Indies. This latter being of a soft, spungy, juicy nature, the cattle eat it very well when cut into small pieces; so that it might be said, without any deviation from truth, that we fed them upon billet wood.
This island lies in the latitude of 19 deg. 51’ S. and the longitude of 201 deg. 37’ E, about three or four leagues from Wateeoo, the inhabitants of which called it Otakootaia; and sometimes they spoke of it under the appellation of Wenooa-ette, which signifies little island. Mr Anderson, who was on shore with our party, and walked round it, guessed that it could not be much more than three miles in circuit. From him I also learned the following particulars: The beach, within the reef, is composed of a white coral sand, above which the land within does not rise above six or seven feet, and is covered with a light reddish soil, but is entirely destitute of water.
The only common trees found there were cocoa-palms, of which there were several clusters, and vast numbers of the wharra. There was likewise the callophyllum, suriana, guettarda, a species of tournefortia, and tabernae montanae, with a few other shrubs, and some of the etoa tree seen at Wateeoo. A sort of bind-weed over-ran the vacant spaces, except in some places, where was found a considerable quantity of treacle-mustard, a species of spurge, with a few other small plants, and the morinda citrifolia, the fruit of which is eaten by the natives of Otaheite in times of scarcity. Omai, who had landed with the party, dressed some of it for their dinner, but it proved very indifferent.