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Voyages in the Southern Hemisphere, Vol. IVoyaging Accounts
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From Egmont Island to Nova Britannia


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CHAP. V. Departure from Egmont Island, and Passage to Nova Britannia; with a Description of several other Islands, and their Inhabitants.

WE made sail from this island in the evening of Tuesday the 18th of August, with a fresh trade-wind from the eastward, and a few squalls at times. At first we only hauled up W.N.W. for I was not without hope of falling in with some other islands, where we might be more fortunate than we had been at those we left, before we got the length of Nova Britannia.

On the 20th, we discovered a small, flat, low island, and got up with it in the evening: it lies in latitude 7° 56 S., longitude 158° 56 E. and I gave it the name of GOWER S ISLAND. To our great mortification we found no anchorage here, and could procure only a few cocoa-nuts from the inhabitants, who were much the same kind of people that we had seen at Isle Egmont, in exchange for nails, and such trifles as we had; they promised, by signs, to bring us more the next day, and we kept off and on all night: the night was extremely dark, and the next morning, at day-break, we found that a current had set us considerably to the southward of the island, and brought us within sight of two more. They were situated nearly east and west of each other, and were distant about two miles. That to the eastward is much the smallest, and this we called SIMPSON S ISLAND: to the other, which is lofty, and has a stately appearance, We gave the name of CARTERET S ISLAND. The east end of it bears about south from Gowers Island, and the distance between them is about ten or eleven leagues. Carterets Island lies in about the latitude 8° 30 S., longitude 159° 14 E. and its length from east to west is about six leagues: we found the variation here 8° 30 E. Both these islands were right to windward of us, and we bore down to Gowers Island. It is about two leagues and a half long on the western side, which makes in bays: the whole is well wooded, and many of the trees are cocoa-nut. We found here a considerable number of the Indians, with two boats or canoes, which we supposed. to belong to Carterets Island, and to have brought the people hither only to fish. We sent the boat on shore, which the natives endeavoured to cut off, and hostilities being thus commenced, we seized their canoe, in which we found about an hundred cocoa-nuts, which were very acceptable; we saw some turtle near the beach, but were not fortunate enough to take any of them. The canoe, or boat, was large enough to carry eight or ten men, and was very neatly built, with planks well jointed: it was adorned with shell-work, and figures rudely painted, and the seams were covered with a substance somewhat like our black putty, but it appeared to me to be of a better consistence. The people were armed with bows, arrows, and spears; the spears and arrows were pointed with flint. By some signs which they made, pointing to our muskets, we imagined they were not wholly unacquainted with fire-arms. They are much the same kind of people as we had seen at Egmont Island, and like them, were quite naked; but their canoes were of a very different structure, and a much larger size, though we did not discover that any of them had sails. The cocoa-nuts which we got here, and at Egmont Island, were of infinite advantage to the sick.

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© Derived from Volume I of the London 1773 Edition: National Library of Australia call no. FERG 7243, pages 584 - 585, 2004
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