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Voyages in the Southern Hemisphere, Vol. IVoyaging Accounts
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Discovery of Otaheite


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CHAP. V. An Account of the Discovery of King George the Third's Island, or Otaheite, and of several Incidents which happenned both on board the Ship, and on Shore.

AT two o’clock, the same day, we bore away, and in about half an hour, discovered very high land in the W.S.W. At seven in the evening, Osnaburgh Island bore E.N.E. and the new discovered land, from W.N.W. to W. by S. As the weather was thick and squally, we brought to for the night, or at least till the fog should break away. At two in the morning, it being very clear, we made sail again; at day-break we saw the land, at about five leagues distance, and steered directly for it; but at eight o’clock, when we were close under it, the fog obliged us again to lie to, and when it cleared away, we were much surprised to find ourselves surrounded by some hundreds of canoes. They were of different sizes, and had on board different numbers, from one to ten, so that in all of them together, there could not be less than eight hundred people. When they came within pistol shot of the ship, they lay by, gazing at us with great astonishment, and by turns conferring with each other. In the mean time we shewed them trinkets of various kinds, and invited them on board. Soon after, they drew together, and held a kind of council, to determine what should be done: then they all paddled round the ship, making signs of friendship, and one of them holding up a branch of the plantain tree, made a speech that lasted near a quarter of an

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© Derived from Volume I of the London 1773 Edition: National Library of Australia call no. FERG 7243, page 433, 2004
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