Schulers Books Online

books - games - software - wallpaper - everything

Bride.Ru

Books Menu

Home
Author Catalog
Title Catalog
Sectioned Catalog

 

- The Malay Archipelago - 40/54 -


easily do so, having two good choppers, with which in a day they could male a small outrigger raft on which they could safely cross the two miles of smooth sea with the wind right aft, if they started from the east end of the island, so as to allow for the current. I could only hope they would be sensible enough to make the attempt, and determined to stay as long as I could to give them the chance.

We passed an anxious night, fearful of again breaking our anchor or rattan cable. In the morning (23d), finding all secure, I waded on shore with my two men, leaving the old steersman and the cook on board, with a loaded musketto recall us if needed. We first walked along the beach, till stopped by the vertical cliffs at the east end of the island, finding a place where meat had been smoked, a turtle-shell still greasy, and some cut wood, the leaves of which were still green, showing that some boat had been here very recently. We then entered the jungle, cutting our way up to the top of the hill, but when we got there could see nothing, owing to the thickness of the forest. Returning, we cut some bamboos, and sharpened them to dig for water in a low spot where some sago -trees were growing; when, just as we were going to begin, Hoi, the Wahai man, called out to say he had found water. It was a deep hole among the Sago trees, in stiff black clay, full of water, which was fresh, but smelt horribly from the quantity of dead leaves and sago refuse that had fallen in. Hastily concluding that it was a spring, or that the water had filtered in, we baled it all out as well as a dozen or twenty buckets of mud and rubbish, hoping by night to have a good supply of clean water. I then went on board to breakfast, leaving my two men to make a bamboo raft to carry us on shore and back without wading. I had scarcely finished when our cable broke, and we bumped against the rocks. Luckily it was smooth and calm, and no damage was done. We searched for and got up our anchor, and found teat the cable had been cut by grating all night upon the coral. Had it given way in the night, we might have drifted out to sea without our anchor, or been seriously damaged. In the evening we went to fetch water from the well, when, greatly to our dismay, we found nothing but a little liquid mud at the bottom, and it then became evident that the hole was one which had been made to collect rain water, and would never fill again as long as the present drought continued. As we did not know what we might suffer for want of water, we filled our jar with this muddy stuff so that it might settle. In the afternoon I crossed over to the other side of the island, and made a large fire, in order that our men might see we were still there.

The next day (24th) I determined to have another search for water; and when the tide was out rounded a rocky point and went to the extremity of the island without finding any sign of the smallest stream. On our way back, noticing a very small dry bed of a watercourse, I went up it to explore, although everything was so dry that my men loudly declared it was useless to expect water there; but a little way up I was rewarded by finding a few pints in a small pool. We searched higher up in every hole and channel where water marks appeared, but could find not a drop more. Sending one of my men for a large jar and teacup, we searched along the beach till we found signs of another dry watercourse, and on ascending this were so fortunate as to discover two deep sheltered rock-holes containing several gallons of water, enough to fill all our jars. When the cup came we enjoyed a good drink of the cool pure water, and before we left had carried away, I believe, every drop on the island.

In the evening a good-sized prau appeared in sight, making apparently for the island where our men were left, and we had some hopes they might be seen and picked up, but it passed along mid-channel, and did not notice the signals we tried to make. I was now, however, pretty easy as to the fate of the men. There was plenty of sago on our rocky island, and there world probably be some on the fiat one they were left on. They had choppers, and could cut down a tree and make sago, and would most likely find sufficient water by digging. Shell-fish were abundant, and they would be able to manage very well till some boat should touch there, or till I could send and fetch them. The next day we devoted to cutting wood, filling up our jars with all the water we could find, and making ready to sail in the evening. I shot a small lory closely resembling a common species at Ternate, and a glossy starling which differed from the allied birds of Ceram and Matabello. Large wood-pigeons and crows were the only other birds I saw, but I did not obtain specimens.

About eight in the evening of June 25th we started, and found that with all hands at work we could just haul up our mainsail. We had a fair wind during the night and sailed north-east, finding ourselves in the morning about twenty miles west of the extremity of Waigiou with a number of islands intervening. About ten o'clock we ran full on to a coral reef, which alarmed us a good deal, but luckily got safe off again. About two in the afternoon we reached an extensive coral reef, and were sailing close alongside of it, when the wind suddenly dropped, and we drifted on to it before we could get in our heavy mainsail, which we were obliged to let run down and fall partly overboard. We had much difficulty in getting off, but at last got into deep water again, though with reefs and islands all around us. At night we did not know what to do, as no one on board could tell where we were or what dangers might surround us, the only one of our crew who was acquainted with the coast of Waigiou having been. left on the island. We therefore took in all sail and allowed ourselves to drift, as we were some miles from the nearest land. A light breeze, however, sprang up, and about midnight we found ourselves again bumping over a coral reef. As it was very dark, and we knew nothing of our position, we could only guess how to get off again, and had there been a little more wind we might have been knocked to pieces. However, in about half an hour we did get off, and then thought it best to anchor on the edge of the reef till morning. Soon after daylight on the 7th, finding our prau had received no damage, we sailed on with uncertain winds and squalls, threading our way among islands and reefs, and guided only by a small map, which was very incorrect and quite useless, and by a general notion of the direction we ought to take. In the afternoon we found a tolerable anchorage under a small island and stayed for the night, and I shot a large fruit-pigeon new to me, which I have since named Carpophaga tumida. I also saw and shot at the rare white-headed kingfisher (Halcyon saurophaga), but did not kill it. The next morning we sailed on, and having a fair wind reached the shores of the large island of Waigiou. On rounding a point we again ran full on to a coral reef with our mainsail up, but luckily the wind had almost died away, and with a good deal of exertion we managed get safely off.

We now had to search for the narrow channel among islands, which we knew was somewhere hereabouts, and which leads to the villages on the south side ofWaigiou. Entering a deep bay which looked promising, we got to the end of it, but it was then dusk, so we anchored for the night, and having just finished all our water could cook no rice for supper. Next morning early (29th) we went on shore among the mangroves, and a little way inland found some water, which relieved our anxiety considerably, and left us free to go along the coast in search of the opening, or of some one who could direct us to it. During the three days we had now been among the reefs and islands, we had only seen a single small canoe, which had approached pretty near to us, and then, notwithstanding our signals, went off in another direction. The shores seemed all desert; not a house, or boat, or human being, or a puff of smoke was to be seen; and as we could only go on the course that the ever-changing wind would allow us (our hands being too few to row any distance), our prospects of getting to our destination seemed rather remote and precarious. Having gone to the eastward extremity of the deep bay we had entered, without finding any sign of an opening, we turned westward; and towards evening were so fortunate as to find a small village of seven miserable houses built on piles in the water. Luckily the Orang- kaya, or head man, could speak a little. Malay, and informed us that the entrance to the strait was really in the bay we had examined, but that it was not to be seen except when- close inshore. He said the strait was often very narrow, and wound among lakes and rocks and islands, and that it would take two days to reach the large village of Muka, and three more to get to Waigiou. I succeeded in hiring two men to go with us to Muka, bringing a small boat in which to return; but we had to wait a day for our guides, so I took my gun and made a little excursion info the forest. The day was wet and drizzly, and I only succeeded in shooting two small birds, but I saw the great black cockatoo, and had a glimpse of one or two Birds of Paradise, whose loud screams we had heard on first approaching the coast. Leaving the village the next morning (July 1st) with a light wind, it took us all day to reach the entrance to the channel, which resembled a small river, and was concealed by a projecting point, so that it was no wonder we did not discover it amid the dense forest vegetation which everywhere covers these islands to the water's edge. A little way inside it becomes bounded by precipitous rocks, after winding among which for about two miles, we emerged into what seemed a lake, but which was in fact a deep gulf having a narrow entrance on the south coast. This gulf was studded along its shores with numbers of rocky islets, mostly mushroom shaped, from the `eater having worn away the lower part of the soluble coralline limestone, leaving them overhanging from ten to twenty feet. Every islet was covered will strange-looping shrubs and trees, and was generally crowned by lofty and elegant palms, which also studded the ridges of the mountainous shores, forming one of the most singular and picturesque landscapes I have ever seen. The current which had brought us through the narrow strait now ceased, and we were obliged to row, which with our short and heavy prau was slow work. I went on shore several times, but the rocks were so precipitous, sharp, and honeycombed, that Ifound it impossible to get through the tangled thicket with which they were everywhere clothed. It took us three days to get to the entrance of the gulf, and then the wind was such as to prevent our going any further, and we might have had to wait for days or weeps, when, much to my surprise and gratification, a boat arrived from Muka with one of the head men, who had in some mysterious manner heard I was on my way, and had come to my assistance, bringing a present of cocoa-nuts and vegetables. Being thoroughly acquainted with the coast, and having several extra men to assist us, he managed to get the prau along by rowing, poling, or sailing, and by night had brought us safely into harbour, a great relief after our tedious and unhappy voyage. We had been already eight days among the reefs and islands of Waigiou, coming a distance of about fifty miles, and it was just forty days since we had sailed from Goram.

Immediately on our arrival at Muka, I engaged a small boat and three natives to go in search of my lost men, and sent one of my own men with them to make sure of their going to the right island. In ten days they returned, but to my great regret and disappointment, without the men. The weather had been very bad, and though they had reached an island within sight of that in which the men were, they could get no further. They had waited there six days for better weather, and then, having no more provisions, and the man I had sent with them being very ill and


The Malay Archipelago - 40/54

Previous Page     Next Page

  1   10   20   30   35   36   37   38   39   40   41   42   43   44   45   50   54 

Schulers Books Home



 Games Menu

Home
Balls
Battleship
Buzzy
Dice Poker
Memory
Mine
Peg
Poker
Tetris
Tic Tac Toe

Google
 
Web schulers.com
 

Schulers Books Online

books - games - software - wallpaper - everything