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.

In the morning of the 28th I made the island; and the same evening anchored in Cross Bay on the N.W. side, in ten fathoms water, the bottom a fine sand, and half a mile from the shore.  The Cross Hill, so called on account of a cross, or flag-staff erected upon it, bore by compass S. 38 deg.  E.; and the two extreme points of the bay extended from N.E. to S.W.  We remained here till the evening of the 31st, and notwithstanding we had several parties out every night, we got but twenty-four turtle, it being rather too late in the season; however, as they weighed between four or five hundred pounds each, we thought ourselves not ill off.  We might have had a plentiful supply of fish in general, especially of that sort called Old Wives, of which I have no where seen such abundance.  There were also cavalies, conger eels, and various other sorts; but the catching of any of these was not attended to, the object being turtle.  There are abundance of goats, and aquatic birds, such as men-of-war and tropic birds, boobies, &c.

The island of Ascension is about ten miles in length, in the direction of N.W. and S.E., and about five or six in breadth.  It shews a surface composed of barren hills and vallies, on the most of which not a shrub or plant is to be seen for several miles, and where we found nothing but stones and sand, or rather flags and ashes; an indubitable sign that the isle, at some remote time, has been destroyed by a volcano, which has thrown up vast heaps of stones, and even hills.  Between these heaps of stones we found a smooth even surface, composed of ashes and sand, and very good travelling upon it; but one may as easily walk over broken glass bottles as over the stones.  If the foot deceives you, you are sure to be cut or lamed, which happened to some of our people.  A high mountain at the S.E. end of the isle seems to be left in its original state, and to have escaped the general destruction.  Its soil is a kind of white marl, which yet retains its vegetative qualities, and produceth a kind of purslain, spurge, and one or two grasses.  On these the goats subsist, and it is at this part of the isle where they are to be found, as also land-crabs, which are said to be very good.

I was told, that about this part of the isle is some very good land on which might be raised many necessary articles; and some have been at the trouble of sowing turnips and other useful vegetables.  I was also told there is a fine spring in a valley which disjoins two hills on the top of the mountain above-mentioned; besides great quantities of fresh water in holes in the rocks, which the person who gave me this information, believed was collected from rains.  But these supplies of water can only be of use to the traveller; or to those who may be so unfortunate as to be shipwrecked on the island; which seems to have been the fate of some not long ago, as appeared by the remains of a wreck we found on the N.E. side.  By what we could judge, she seemed to have been a vessel of about one hundred and fifty tons burthen.

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