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Voyages in the Southern Hemisphere, Vol. IVoyaging Accounts
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The Coast of Mindanao


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CHAP. VIII. Some Account of the Coast of Mindanao, and the Islands near it, in which several Mistakes of Dampier are corrected.

On the 26th, we discovered land again, but not being able to make an observation, we could ascertain our latitude and longitude only by our dead reckoning; the next day, however, was more favourable, and I then found the, effect of the current had been so great, that I was obliged to add to the log S.W. by S. no less than 64 miles for the last two days. We now knew that the land we had seen was the north east part of the island of Mindanao: as I had many sick people on board, and was in the most pressing need of refreshments, I determined to try what could be procured in a bay which Dampier has described as lying on the south east part of the island, and which, he says, furnished him with great plenty of deer from a savannah. I therefore coasted that side of the island, and that I might be sure not to miss the bay, I sent out the Lieutenant with the boat and a proper number of hands, to keep in shore ahead of the ship. No such bay however was to be found, but at the very southermost extremity of the island they opened a little nook at the bottom of which was a town, and a fort. As soon as our boat was discovered by the people on shore, they fired a great gun, and sent off three boats or canoes full of people. As the Lieutenant had not a sufficient force to oppose them, he immediately made towards the ship, and the canoes chaced him till they came within fight of her, and being then over-matched in their turn, they thought fit to go back. Being thus disappointed in my search of Dampiers Bay and Savannah, I would have anchored off this town, notwithstanding these hostile appearances, if it had not been necessary first to get up some guns from the hold, and make a few necessary repairs in the rigging; this however being the case, I ran a little to the eastward, where, on the 2d of November, I came to an anchor in a little bay, having a bottom of soft mud, and seven fathom of water, at the distance of a cables length from the shore; the westermost point of the bay bore W.S.W. distant about three miles; the eastermost point E. by S. distant about one mile; a river, which empties itself into the bay, about N.W. and the peak of an island, called Hummock Island, S. 7 E. distant about five leagues. Before it was dark the same day, our two boats went to the river, and brought off their loads of water: they saw no signs of inhabitants where they were on shore, but we observed a canoe come round the westermost point of the bay, which we supposed had been dispatched from the town, to learn what we were, or at least to see what we were doing. As soon as I discovered this canoe, I hoisted English colours, and was not without hope that she would come on board, but after viewing us some time, she returned. As we had seen no inhabitants, nor any signs of inhabitants, where we got our water, I intended to procure a further supply the next day from the fame place, and endeavour also to recruit our wood; but about nine o'clock at night, we were suddenly surprised by a loud noise on that part of the shore which was abreast of the ship: it was made by a great number of human voices, and very much resembled the war-whoop of the American Savages, a hideous shout which they give at the moment of their attack, and in which all who have heard it agree there is something inexpressibly terrifying and horrid.

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© Derived from Volume I of the London 1773 Edition: National Library of Australia call no. FERG 7243, pages 611 - 613, 2004
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