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Voyages in the Southern Hemisphere, Vol. IVoyaging Accounts
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Cape Pillar to Masasuero


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Cape Pillar to Masasuero (continued)

There is plenty of wood and water all round the island, but they are not to be procured without much difficulty, a great quantity of stones, and large fragments of the rock have fallen from the high land all round the island, and upon these there breaks such a surf that a boat cannot safely come within a cable's length of the shore; there is therefore no landing here but by swimming from the boat, and then mooring her without the rocks, nor is there any method of getting off the wood and water but by hauling them to the boat with ropes: there are however many places where it would be very easy to make a commodious landing by building a wharf, which it would be worth while even for a single ship to do if she was to continue any time at the island.

This part of Masafuero is a very good place for refreshment, especially in the summer season: the goats have been mentioned already, and there is all round the island such plenty of fish, that a boat may, with three hooks and lines, catch as much as will serve an hundred people: among others we caught excellent coal fish, cavallies, cod, hallibut, and crayfish. We took a king-fisher that weighed eighty-seven pounds, and was five feet and an half long, and the sharks were so ravenous, that when we were sounding one of them swallowed the lead, by which we hauled him above water, but as he then disgorged it, we lost him. The seals were so numerous, that I verily think if many thousands of them were killed in a night, they would not be missed in the morning: we were obliged to kill great numbers of them, as, when we walked the shore, they were continually running against us, making at the same time a most horrible noise. These animals yield excellent train oil, and their hearts and plucks are very good eating, being in taste something like those of a hog, and their skins are covered with the finest fur I ever saw of the kind. There are many birds here, and among others some very large hawks. Of the pintado birds, our people, as I have before observed, caught no less than seven hundred in one night. We had not much opportunity to examine the place for vegetable productions, but we saw several leaves of the mountain cabbage, which is a proof that the tree grows here.

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© Derived from Volume I of the London 1773 Edition: National Library of Australia call no. FERG 7243, pages 555 - 556, 2004
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