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.

While we lay here, several of the natives came off to us, each in a canoe, and bartered a few fishing implements for tobacco.  One of them, a young man, overset his canoe, while along-side of one of our boats.  Our people caught hold of him, but the canoe went adrift, and, being picked up by another, was carried ashore.  The youth, by this accident, was obliged to come into the ship; and he went down into my cabin, upon the first invitation, without expressing the least reluctance or uneasiness.  His dress was an upper garment, like a shirt, made of the large gut of some sea-animal, probably the whale, and an under garment of the same shape, made of the skins of birds, dressed with the feathers on, and neatly sewed together, the feathered side being wore next his skin.  It was mended or patched with pieces of silk-stuff, and his cap was ornamented with two or three sorts of glass beads.  His own clothes being wet, I gave him others, in which he dressed himself with as much ease as I could have done.  From his behaviour, and that of some others, we were convinced that these people were no strangers to Europeans, and to some of their customs.  But there was something in our ships that greatly excited their curiosity; for such as could not come off in canoes, assembled on the neighbouring hills to look at them.[8]

[Footnote 8:  Of Oonalashka, Unalashka, or Aghunalaska, for it is known by these three names, Mr Coxe has presented several interesting enough notices.  The Russians were no strangers to it previous to this voyage.—­E.]

At low water, having weighed and towed the ship into the harbour, we anchored there in nine fathoms water, over a bottom of sand and mud.  The Discovery got in soon after.  A launch was now sent for water, and a boat to draw the seine, but we caught only four trout, and a few other small fish.

Soon after we anchored, a native of the island brought on board such another note as had been given to Captain Clerke.  He presented it to me, but it was written in the Russian language, which, as already observed, none of us could read.  As it could be of no use to me, and might be of consequence to others, I returned it to the bearer, and dismissed him with a few presents, for which he expressed his thanks, by making several low bows as he retired.

In walking, next day, along the shore, I met with a group of natives of both sexes, seated on the grass, at a repast, consisting of raw fish, which they seemed to eat with as much relish as we should a turbot, served up with the richest sauce.  By the evening, we had completed our water, and made such observations as the time and weather would permit.  I have taken notice of the rapidity of the tide without the harbour, but it was inconsiderable within.  It was low water at noon, and high water at half-past six in the evening, and the water rose, upon a perpendicular, three feet four inches, but there were marks of its sometimes rising a foot higher.

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