Thus was this unhappy vessel bandied about within a few leagues of her intended harbour, whilst the neighbourhood of that place, and of those circumstances which could alone put an end to the calamities they laboured under, served only to aggravate their distress by torturing them with a view of the relief it was not in their power to reach.
THE GLOUCESTER COMES TO ANCHOR.
But she was at last delivered from this dreadful situation, at a time when we least expected it, for, after having lost sight of her for several days, we were pleasingly surprised, on the morning of the 23rd of July, to see her open the north-west point of the bay with a flowing sail; when we immediately despatched what boats we had to her assistance, and in an hour’s time from our first perceiving her she anchored safe within us in the bay.
During the interval of the Gloucester’s frequent and ineffectual attempts to reach the island, our employment was cleansing our ship and filling our water. The first of these measures was indispensably necessary to our future health, as the numbers of sick and the unavoidable negligence arising from our deplorable situation at sea, had rendered the decks most intolerably loathsome; and the filling of our water was a caution that appeared not less essential to our future security, as we had reason to apprehend that accidents might oblige us to quit the island at a very short warning. For some appearances, which we had discovered on shore upon our first landing, gave us grounds to believe that there were Spanish cruisers in these seas, which had left the island but a short time before our arrival, and might possibly return there again in search of us; for we knew that this island was the likeliest place, in their own opinion, to meet with us. The circumstances which gave rise to these reflections were our finding on shore several pieces of earthen jars, made use of in those seas for water and other liquids, which appeared to be fresh broken. We saw, too, many heaps of ashes, and near them fish-bones and pieces of fish, besides whole fish scattered here and there, which plainly appeared to have been but a short time out