A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 15 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 762 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 15.

We were detained in the Sound by contrary winds four days after this melancholy affair happened, during which time we saw none of the inhabitants.  What is very remarkable, I had been several times up in the same cove with Captain Cook, and never saw the least sign of an inhabitant, except some deserted towns, which appeared as if they had not been occupied for several years; and yet, when Mr Burney entered the cove, he was of opinion there could not be less than fifteen hundred or two thousand people.  I doubt not, had they been apprized of his coming, they would have attacked him.  From these considerations, I thought it imprudent to send a boat up again; as we were convinced there was not the least probability of any of our people being alive.

On the 23d, we weighed and made sail out of the Sound, and stood to the eastward to get clear of the straits; which we accomplished the same evening, but were baffled for two or three days with light winds, before we could clear the coast.  We then stood to the S.S.E. till we got into the latitude of 56 deg. south, without any thing remarkable happening, having a great swell from the southward.  At this time the wind began to blow strong from the S.W., and the weather to be very cold; and as the ship was low and deep laden, the sea made a continual breach over her, which kept us always wet; and by her straining, very few of the people were dry in bed or on deck, having no shelter to keep the sea from them.

The birds were the only companions we had in this vast ocean, except, now and then, we saw a whale or porpoise; and sometimes a seal or two, and a few penguins.  In the latitude of 58 deg.  S., longitude 213 deg.[16] east, we fell in with some ice, and, every day, saw more or less, we then standing to the east.  We found a very strong current setting to the eastward; for by the time we were abreast of Cape Horn, being in the latitude of 61 deg.  S., the ship was a-head of our account eight degrees.  We were very little more than a month from Cape Palliser in New Zealand to Cape Horn, which is an hundred and twenty-one degrees of longitude, and had continual westerly winds from S.W. to N.W., with a great sea following.

[Footnote 16:  About 147 west longitude, as I reckon.]

On opening some casks of pease and flour, that had been stowed on the coals, we found them very much damaged, and not eatable; so thought it most prudent to make for the Cape of Good Hope, but first to stand into the latitude and longitude of Cape Circumcision.  After being to the eastward of Cape Horn, we found the winds did not blow so strong from the westward as usual, but came more from the north, which brought on thick foggy weather; so that for several days together we could not be able to get an observation, or see the least sign of the sun.  This weather lasted above a month, being then among a great many islands of ice, which kept us constantly on the look-out, for fear of running foul of them, and, being a single ship, made us more attentive.  By this time our people began to complain of colds and pains in their limbs, which obliged me to haul to the northward to the latitude of 54 deg.  S.; but we still continued to have the same sort of weather, though we had oftener an opportunity of obtaining observations for the latitude.

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