On the 25th, two boats, which I had sent to look for a channel, by which we might, most commodiously, get to sea, returned. The masters, who commanded them, reported, that the channel to the north, by which we came in, was highly dangerous, being full of coral rocks from one side to the other; but that, to the eastward, there was a very good channel, which, however, was very much contracted in one place by the small islands, so that a leading wind would be requisite to get through it; that is, a westerly wind, which, we had found, did not often blow here. We had now recruited the ships with wood and water, we had finished the repairs of our sails, and had little more to expect from the inhabitants of the produce of their island. However, as an eclipse of the sun was to happen upon the 5th of next month, I resolved to defer sailing till that time had elapsed, in order to have a chance of observing it.
Having, therefore, some days of leisure before me, a party of us, accompanied by Poulaho, set out, early next morning, in a boat for Mooa, the village where he and the other great men usually reside. As we rowed up the inlet, we met with fourteen canoes fishing in company, in one of which was Poulaho’s son. In each canoe was a triangular net, extended between two poles; at the lower end of which was a cod to receive and secure the fish. They had already caught some fine mullets, and they put about a dozen into our boat. I desired to see their method of fishing, which they readily complied with. A shoal of fish was supposed to be upon one of the banks, which they instantly inclosed in a long net like a seine, or set-net. This the fishers, one getting into the water out of each boat, surrounded with the triangular nets in their hands, with which they scooped the fish out of the seine, or caught them as they attempted to leap over it. They shewed us the whole process of this operation, (which seemed to be a sure one,) by throwing in some of the fish they had already caught; for, at this time, there happened to be none upon the bank that was inclosed.
Leaving the prince and his fishing party, we proceeded to the bottom of the bay, and landed where we had done before, on our fruitless errand to see Mareewagee. As soon as we got on shore, the king desired Omai to tell me, that I need be under no apprehensions about the boat, or any thing in her, for not a single article would be touched by any one; and we afterward found this to be the case. We were immediately conducted to one of Poulaho’s houses not far off, and near the public one, or malaee, in which we had been, when we first visited Mooa. This, though pretty large, seemed to be his private habitation, and was situated within a plantation. The king took his seat at one end of the house, and the people who came to visit him, sat down, as they arrived, in a semicircle at the other end. The first thing done, was to prepare a bowl of kava, and to order some yams to be baked for us. While these