Arrival at Eimeo.—Two Harbours there, and an Account of them.—Visit from Maheine, Chief of the Island.—His Person described.—A Goat stolen, and sent back with the Thief.—Another Goat stolen, and secreted.—Measures taken on the Occasion.—Expedition cross the Island.—Houses and Canoes burnt.—The Goat delivered up, and Peace restored. Some Account of the Island, &c.
As I did not give up my design of touching at Eimeo, at day-break, in the morning of the 30th, after leaving Otaheite, I stood for the north end of the island; the harbour which I wished to examine being at that part of it. Omai, in his canoe, having arrived there long before us, had taken some necessary measures to shew us the place. However, we were not without pilots, having several men of Otaheite on board, and not a few women. Not caring to trust entirely to these guides, I sent two boats to examine the harbour; and, on their making the signal for safe anchorage, we stood in with the ships, and anchored close up to the head of the inlet, in ten fathoms water, over a bottom of soft mud, and moored with a hawser fast to the shore.
This harbour, which is called Taloo, is situated upon the north side of the island, in the district of Oboonohoo, or Poonohoo. It runs in south, or south by east, between the hills, above two miles. For security and goodness of its bottom, it is not inferior to any harbour that I have met with at any of the islands in this ocean; and it has this advantage over most of them, that a ship can sail in and out, with the reigning trade wind; so that the access and recess are equally easy. There are several rivulets that fall into it. The one, at the head, is so considerable as to admit boats to go a quarter of a mile up, where we found the water perfectly fresh. Its banks are covered with the pooroo tree, as it is called by the natives, which makes good firing, and which they set no value upon; so that wood and water are to be got here with great facility.