A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 17 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 661 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 17.
last remains of the wreck, her bottom.  Here our pains were repaid with the great good fortune of hooking up three casks of beef, which were brought safe to shore.  This providential supply could not have happened at a more seasonable time than now, when we were afflicted with the greatest dearth we had ever experienced, and the little strength we had remaining was to be exerted in our endeavours to leave the island.  Accordingly we soon found a remedy for our sickness, which was nothing but the effects of famine, and were greatly restored by food.  The provision was equally distributed among us all, and served us for the remainder of our stay here.

We began to grow extremely impatient to leave the island, as the days were now nearly at their longest, and about Midsummer in these parts; but as to the weather, there seems to be little difference in a difference of seasons.  Accordingly, on the 15th of December, the day being tolerable, we told Captain Cheap we thought it a fine opportunity to run across the bay.  But he first desired two or three of us to accompany him to our place of observation, the top of Mount Misery, when, looking through his perspective, he observed to us that the sea ran very high without.  However, this had no weight with the people, who were desirous, at all events, to be gone.  I should here observe, that Captain Cheap’s plan was, if possible, to get to the island of Chiloe, and if we found any vessel there, to board her immediately and cut her out.  This he might certainly have done with ease, had it been his good fortune to get round with the boats.

We now launched both boats, and got every thing on board of them as quick as possible.  Captain Cheap, the surgeon, and myself, were in the barge with nine men, and, Lieutenant Hamilton and Mr Campbell in the yawl with six.  I steered the barge, and Mr Campbell the yawl; but we had not been two hours at sea before the wind shifted more to the westward and began to blow very hard, and the sea ran extremely high, so that we could no longer keep our heads towards the cape or headland we had designed for.  This cape we had had a view of, in one of the intervals of fair weather during our abode on the island, from Mount Misery; and it seemed to be distant between twenty and thirty leagues from us.  We were now obliged to bear away right before the wind.  Though the yawl was not far from us, we could see nothing of her, except now and then upon the top of a mountainous sea.  In both the boats the men were obliged to sit as close as possible, to receive the seas on their backs, to prevent their filling us, which was what we every moment expected.  We were obliged to throw every thing overboard to lighten the boats, all our beef, and even the grapnel, to prevent sinking.  Night was coming on, and we were running on a lee-shore fast, where the sea broke in a frightful manner.  Not one amongst us imagined it possible for boats to live in such a sea.  In this situation, as we neared the shore, expecting to be beat to pieces by the first breaker, we perceived a small opening between the rocks, which we stood for, and found a very narrow passage between them, which brought us into a harbour for the boats, as calm and smooth as a mill-pond.  The yawl had got in before us, and our joy was great at meeting again after so unexpected a deliverance.  Here we secured the boats, and ascended a rock.

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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 17 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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