CHAPTER VI. OCCURRENCES FROM PORT JACKSON TO NEW ZEALAND.
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176 DISCOVERY OF THE
OCCURRENCES FROM PORT JACKSON TO NEW ZEALAND.
4th June 1827. --FIRST part of the day light airs and calms: latter part, winds strong from the northward. At 9 A. M. weighed and stood to sea. At 11 A. M. the pilot left us. Latitude obs. at noon 34 deg. 50' S. when the point of South-head bore W. 4 miles. Thermometer in the shade 70 deg.
Not knowing whether fresh water could be procured at Tucopia, and dreading the disposition of the Mannicolese, where, if I should succeed in finding anchorage, and require water, it would be exposing my men to too great hazard to land them among hundreds of savages armed with poisoned arrows, I determined to take in water at the nearest known watering-place to Mannicolo, and thus, by having a sufficient supply of this indispensable article of consumption, I could set the natives at defiance, until an opportunity offered of establishing a friendly intercourse with them, as I understood them to be very hostile to Europeans since the wreck of the two French vessels upon their coast. I therefore determined to sail for the Friendly Islands, to which place I expected a
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short passage, it being the middle of winter in these southern latitudes, at which time the wind mostly prevails from the west. Having arrived there, I could water and resume the voyage without delay,
13th. ---Nothing worthy of notice having occurred for the last nine days, I pass them over as uninteresting.
I have crossed this part of the Pacific Ocean at least twenty times, and have uniformly had short passages till now.
For the first two days after quitting Port Jackson, the winds prevailed from the westward; from that period the wind blew from S. E. to N. E. At 1 o'clock this morning it blew a violent gale, accompanied by heavy falls of rain. The main-topsail was split, and we were obliged to heave-to for the remainder of the day.
14th -- At 8 A. M. the gale abated: the wind shifted from N. E. to N. N. W., when we swayed up the top-gallant mast and yards, which were housed during the gale. Set all sail, and stood to the eastward. Latitude at noon 34 deg. 22' S.; Longitude 164 deg. 40' 30" E.
17th -- We have had for the last three days the winds mostly from the eastward. Latitude at noon 34 deg. 24' S.; longitude 167 deg. 23' E.
Being on a voyage fraught with danger, not only from the seas, but from surprise while at
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anchor in the ports, on shores which are inhabited by barbarians relentless and treacherous, or by cannibals, who besides their naturally savage disposition, are further impelled to seek our destruction by their horrible propensity to devour us, --I deemed it more imperatively necessary that the officer on watch should at all times and in all places be on the alert.
To prevent the recurrence of a most disgraceful instance of criminal neglect which took place this morning, I caused the following remark to be placed on the log-board, for the information of the officers keeping watch:--
"Received information that one of the officers has been in the habit of sleeping on deck in his watch: found it to be the case. Looked over the offence this time, although such conduct is in direct violation of the articles of agreement, and contrary to the rules and regulations of the service. It endangers the life of every individual on board, as also the property of the Hon. East-India Company. I am determined, should such an occurrence take place again, to disrate the officer and send him off the quarter-deck. An officer who sleeps on his watch, exposes himself to the sarcasms of the common sailors, and can never command with authority, having placed himself in the power of his inferiors."
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Latitude by observation to-day, 34 deg. 24' S. Longitude by lunar observation, 167 deg. 29' 30" E.
23d. --Having met with so much bad weather and foul winds on this passage, I gave up the idea of proceeding to the Friendly Islands, and thought of proceeding to Tanna, one of the New Hebrides, to complete my water and re-stow the ship, which duty had not been performed since leaving Calcutta; and there but very indifferently, through the unseamanlike conduct and want of skill in the former chief officer. On the 20th instant, the second officer had informed me that he found seventeen water-casks empty in the hold, besides those which had been emptied for the ship's use.
Before determining to bear away, I deemed it prudent to ascertain the exact complement of water on board, and to my utter astonishment found only twenty-seven casks, being little more than one cask to every three individuals in the ship.
From this circumstance it would appear that my late chief officer did not cause more than half of the casks to be filled at the Derwent, although he wrote to me stating that all the water-casks in the ship were filled by a person on shore, with the exception of three, which he stated would be immediately filled by the crew. I had therefore now no alternative but
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to proceed for New Zealand, and there complete my water, notwithstanding such a proceeding was likely to cause some delay.
At 5 1/2 P. M. the boatswain caught a very large shark of the brown species, an occurrence highly gratifying to "his excellency" Morgan McMarragh, inasmuch as it promised a feast of no ordinary delicacy. He declared that the mogow (their name of the shark) was most delicious food, and proceeded to exemplify his taste by scoring off a piece for his supper. But, notwithstanding his argument was thus ably supported by example, the sailors did not seem to pay much attention to either, and were about to toss the remaining part of the monster overboard, when, vexed to the heart to see so much excellent fish thrown away, he commenced an earnest expostulation with them on the subject, advising them to preserve it for the ladies at the Bay of Islands (at which place they would soon arrive), who sing, he said, most melodiously, sweeter by far than the nautch girls of Calcutta: giving them reason to hope that they might, on their arrival in the bay, expect numerous visits from those Eastern Catalanis.
25th. --Fresh breezes, and cloudy throughout the day: winds from N. N. E. Shortly after daylight observed that the sea assumed a light
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colour, an indication that we were not far from the coast of New Zealand. Our latitude by observation at noon was 34 deg. 53' S., longitude 172 deg. 2' E. Thermometer in the shade 63 deg. At half past one P. M. land in sight bearing N. N. E. per compass, distance ten leagues, which proved to be the Three Kings, off the north coast of New Zealand.
The wind blowing directly from the shore, we could not approach it. Carried as much sail during the night as the ship could conveniently bear, beating to windward.
26th -- First and middle part of the day strong breezes from the north. At 1 P. M. hard squall with rain: at 2 P. M. it fell nearly calm with variable airs. At 5 P. M. a light breeze sprung up from the south-west, accompanied with fine clear weather. At noon the latitude observation was 34 deg. 31' S.; thermometer in the shade on deck 64 deg. At 6 A. M. the Three Kings hove in sight, and at 8 they bore N. E. by N. 1/2 N. six leagues. We had all sail set working to windward, as it blew directly from the shore. At 4 P. M. the centre of the Three Kings bore N. E. by N. six or seven leagues. We had all sail set steering to the northward, with a view of passing on that side of them, not wishing to be caught in this un-
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settled weather between the islands and Cape Maria Van Diemen.
27th. --The first part of the day, light variable airs from the south-west; the latter part perfect calm. At daylight this morning we had the Three Kings in sight, bearing E. by S., distance about ten leagues. Latitude by observation at noon 34 deg. 7' S.; thermometer on deck 63 deg. in the shade. At sunset the centre of the Kings bore E. 1/2 S. per compass, eight or nine leagues.
28th--Unsteady breezes throughout these twenty-four hours, from N. E. to N. by W. with occasional showers of rain. Carried as much sail as possible, working the ship to windward. At noon the Kings bore E. 1/2 N. per compass ten leagues. The thermometer on deck at the same time stood at 6l deg.
29th -- The first and middle part of these twenty-four hours strong breezes and cloudy, thick weather with rain; winds from N. to N. W. Latter part light breezes with clear weather; winds from W. N. W. to W.
Being on the starboard tack standing to the westward till 4 A. M., tacked about and stood to the eastward. At 10 A. M. the Kings were in sight. At noon the centre of them bore E. by S. distance nine miles. The wind being free, stood to the eastward under a heavy press of
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sail, and happily succeeded in passing them at 3 P. M., this being the fifth day the ship was in sight of them. This was rather an extraordinary occurrence at this season of the year, as the wind generally blows strong from the westward, enabling ships from Sydney to make a passage to the Kings in eight or ten days at most; but, unfortunately for our expedition, the ship had been now twenty-seven days on the passage.