After leaving Palmerston’s Island, I steered W., with a view to make the best of my way to Annamooka. We still continued to have variable winds, frequently between the N. and W., with squalls, some thunder, and much rain. During these showers, which were generally very copious, we saved a considerable quantity of water; and finding that we could get a greater supply by the rain in one hour than we could get by distillation in a month, I laid aside the still as a thing attended with more trouble than profit.
The heat, which had been great for about a month, became now much more disagreeable in this close rainy weather; and, from the moisture attending it, threatened soon to be noxious, as the ships could not be kept dry, nor the skuttles open, for the sea. However, it is remarkable enough, that though the only refreshment we had received since leaving the Cape of Good Hope was that at New Zealand, there was not as yet a single person on board sick from the constant use of salt food, or vicissitude of climate.
In the night between the 24th and 25th we passed Savage Island, which I had discovered in 1774; and on the 28th, at ten o’clock in the morning, we got sight of the islands which lie to the eastward of Annamooka, bearing N. by W. about four or five leagues distant. I steered to the S. of these islands, and then hauled up for Annamooka, which, at four in the afternoon, bore N.W. by N., Fallafajeea S.W. by S., and Komango N. by W., distant about five miles. The weather being squally, with rain, I anchored, at the approach of night, in fifteen fathoms deep water, over a bottom of coral-sand and shells, Komango bearing N.W. about two leagues distant.
Intercourse with the Natives of Komango, and other Islands.—Arrival at Annamooka.—Transactions there.—Feenou, a principal Chief, from Tongataboo, comes on a Visit.—The Manner of his Reception in the Island, and on board.—Instances of the pilfering Disposition of the Natives.—Some Account of Annamooka.—The Passage from it to Hapaee.
Soon after we had anchored, (April 28) two canoes, the one with four, and the other with three men, paddled toward us, and came alongside without the least hesitation. They brought some cocoa-nuts, bread-fruit, plantains, and sugar-cane, which they bartered with us for nails. One of the men came on board; and when these canoes had left us, another visited us; but did not stay long, as night was approaching. Komango, the island nearest to us, was, at least, five miles off; which shews the hazard these people would run, in order to possess a few of our most trifling articles. Besides this supply from the shore, we caught, this evening, with hooks and lines, a considerable quantity of fish.
Next morning, at four o’clock, I sent Lieutenant King, with two boats, to Komango, to procure refreshments; and, at five, made the signal to weigh, in order to ply up to Annamooka, the wind being unfavourable at N.W.