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.

Discoveries after leaving Norton Sound.—­Stuart’s Island.—­Cape Stephens.—­Point Shallow-Water.—­Shoals on the American Coast.—­Clerke’s Island.—­Gore’s Island.—­Pinnacle Island.—­Arrival at Oonalashka.—­Intercourse with the Natives and Russian Traders.—­Charts of the Russian Discoveries, communicated by Mr Ismyloff.—­Their Errors pointed out.—­Situation of the Islands visited by the Russians.—­Account of their Settlement at Oonalashka.—­Of the Natives of the Island.—­Their Persons.—­Dress.—­Ornaments.—­Food.—­Houses and domestic Utensils.—­Manufactures.—­Manner of producing Fire.—­Canoes.—­Fishing and Hunting Implements.—­Fishes, and Sea Animals.—­Sea and Water Fowls, and Land Birds.—­Land Animals and Vegetables.—­Manner of burying the Dead.—­Resemblance of the Natives on this Side of America to the Greenlanders and Esquimaux.—­Tides.—­Observations for determining the Longitude of Oonalashka.

Having weighed, on the 17th in the morning, with a light breeze at east, we steered to the southward, and attempted to pass within Besborough Island; but though it lies six or seven miles from the continent, were prevented by meeting with shoal water.  As we had but little wind all the day, it was dark before we passed the island; and the night was spent under an easy sail.

We resumed our course, at day-break on the 18th, along the coast.  At noon, we had no more than five fathoms water.  At this time the latitude was 63 deg. 37’.  Besborough, Island now bore N., 42 deg.  E.; the southernmost land in sight, which proved also to be an island, S., 66 deg.  W.; the passage between it and the main S., 40 deg.  W.; and the nearest land about two miles distant.  I continued to steer for this passage, until the boats, which were ahead, made the signal for having no more than three fathoms water.  On this we hauled without the island; and made the signal for the Resolution’s boat to keep between the ships and the shore.

This island, which obtained the name of Stuart’s Island, lies in the latitude of 63 deg. 35’, and seventeen leagues from.  Cape Denbigh, in the direction of S., 27 deg.  W. It is six or seven leagues in circuit.  Some parts of it are of a middling height; but, in general, it is low; with some rocks lying off the western part.  The coast of the continent is, for the most part, low land; but we saw high land up the country.  It forms a point, opposite the island, which was named Cape Stephens, and lies in latitude 63 deg. 33’, and in longitude 197 deg. 41’.  Some drift wood was seen upon the shores, both of the island and of the continent; but not a tree was perceived growing upon either.  One might anchor, upon occasion, between the N.E. side of this island and the continent, in a depth of five fathoms, sheltered from westerly, southerly, and easterly winds.  But this station would be wholly exposed to the northerly winds, the land, in that direction, being at too great distance to afford any security.  Before we reached Stuart’s Island, we passed two small islands, lying between us and the main; and as we ranged along the coast, several people appeared upon the shore, and, by signs, seemed to invite us to approach them.

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