A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 16 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 768 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 16.

As we drew nearer the coast, we perceived the appearance of two inlets; one in the N.W., and the other in the N.E. corner of the bay.  As I could not fetch the former, I bore up for the latter; and passed some breakers, or sunken rocks, that lay a league or more from the shore.  We had nineteen and twenty fathoms water half a league without them; but as soon as we had passed them, the depth increased to thirty, forty, and fifty fathoms, with a sandy bottom; and farther in we found no ground with the greatest length of line.  Notwithstanding appearances, we were not yet sure that there were any inlets; but as we were in a deep bay, I had resolved to anchor, with a view to endeavour to get some water, of which, by this time, we were in great want.  At length, as we advanced, the existence of the inlet was no longer doubtful.  At five o’clock we reached the west point of it, where we were becalmed for some time.  While in this situation, I ordered all the boats to be hoisted out to tow the ships in.  But this was hardly done, before a fresh breeze sprung up again at N.W. with which we were enabled to stretch up into an arm of the inlet, that was observed by us to run into the N.E.  There we were again becalmed, and obliged to anchor in eighty-five fathoms water, and so near the shore as to reach it with a hawser.  The wind failed the Discovery before she got within the arm, where she anchored, and found only seventy fathoms.

We no sooner drew near the inlet than we found the coast to be inhabited; and at the place where we were first becalmed, three canoes came off to the ship.  In one of these were two men, in another six, and in the third ten.  Having come pretty near us, a person in one of the two last stood up, and made a long harangue, inviting us to land, as we guessed, by his gestures.  At the same time he kept strewing handfuls of feathers towards us;[6] and some of his companions threw handfuls of a red dust or powder in the same manner.  The person who played the orator, wore the skin of some animal, and held in each hand something which rattled as he kept shaking it.  After tiring himself with his repeated exhortations, of which we did not understand a word, he was quiet; and then others took it, by turns, to say something, though they acted their part neither so long, nor with so much vehemence, as the other.  We observed, that two or three had their hair quite strewed over with small white feathers; and others had large ones stuck into different parts of the head.  After the tumultuous noise had ceased, they lay at a little distance from the ship, and conversed with each other in a very easy manner; nor did they seem to shew the least surprise or distrust.  Some of them, now and then, got up, and said something after the manner of their first harangues; and one sung a very agreeable air, with a degree of softness and melody which we could not have expected; the word haela being often repeated as the burden of the song.  The

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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 16 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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