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feet high,) towards the city. It is 1965 feet above the sea, and distant from it about one mile and eight-tenths.
Nothing can well exceed the beauty of the gardens aud quintas of Madeira, abounding as they do in trees, shrubs, and flowers, and so many varieties of delicious fruits and vegetables common to the tropics and to Europe. The markets of Funchal are, in consequence, well supplied with these good things, and all necessary refreshments; and there is an ample supply of excellent water. It should be added, that a depôt of coal, for steam vessels, has been established here, and that it is situated near the beach, a short distance from the custom-house. *
No part of Madeira affords a sheltered harbour; and the word · Porto,' which is attached to several places on the chart, must be taken as the designation given by the islanders to those little coves, or landing-places, where they haul up their fishing-boats, and those of larger construction, employed in the transport of their wines to Funchal, or on other coasting business of the island.
It may be stated generally, that the south coast has a gradual slope from the mountains in the interior to the sea; and that the north and west coasts, on the contrary, are, with few exceptions, high and bold, and descend precipitously.
The cultivation of the island, on its south side, seldom extends more than from 2 to 2 miles inland; and, on its north side, not half that distance; and it may be asserted generally, that no cultivation is at present attempted at elevations exceeding 3000 feet. The whole of the mountains above that height, and which constitute so large a portion of the island, are left wild and uninhabited.
The defences of Funchal on the sea-board are-first, a battery at the outlet of the Ribeira of Gonsalvo Ayres, named Loires; second, the Fort of Santiago, at the eastern end of the city; third, Forte Novo, about 750 yards to the west of Santiago; fourth, a battery, called Pelhorinho, at the outlet of the Ribeiras of Isao Gomez and Santa Luzia; fifth, another battery at the custom-house; sixth the castle of San Lourenço; seventh, a battery at the outlet of San Paul Ribeira, called Das Fontes; eight, a battery at St. Lazarus; ninth, the battery on the Loo Rock, or Ilheo, as it is most usually called by the Portuguese; tenth, the little fort of San Jose at the outer end of the Pontinha; eleventh, a battery at Penha da França in the little bay, west of the Pontinha; and, lastly the citadel of Pico on a rocky hill half a mile north of the Loo Rock.
* An account of this will be found in our volume for 1845, p. 600, with the planof the best anchorage for coaling from, communicated by Capt. Hope, of H.MS. Firebrand.-ED.
H.M. S. ALECTO AGROUND IN THE PARANA.-By Commander
J. L. M Kinnon, R.N.
Tue following circumstances attending the grounding of H.M.S. Alecto, in the river Parana, serve to illustrate the enormous quantity of matter held in solution, by the turgid waters of that river, and afford a proof of the sudden manner in which banks, and islands are formed in it. Had not the Alecto been extracted from her perilous position, when her rescue took place, her detention for at least eight months was certain. It hardly admits of a doubt that, if this delay had taken place; the vessels hull would have formed the nucleus of an island. The following year therefore, (in all human probability) when the waters again arose, the channel would have been completely altered, and the poor Alecto remained embedded in a sandy prison. Nature's revenge for the audacious invasion of steam! But to our subject.
The Alecto, with one engine disabled, had been for several days struggling up the Parana, towards the Town of Gaya. At noon we came in sight of the Convoys mast-heads lying there, and began to congratulate ourselves on speedily arriving at the anchorage, after our difficult and tedious navigation. At two o'clock when within four miles of our destination, and all hands anticipating a speedy arrival, an ominous grate or grind, (never to be mistaken or forgotten by a sailor) excited general attention on board. The engine was immediately stopped, and an attempt made to reverse it: but alas! the ship had lost her way, the current was too powerful; nature took art at a disadvantage, and the vessel hung amidships. The Alecto was worse than powerless, her engines nought, but dead weight. The exasperated current, wroth at the triumph of steam hitherto, now laid an enormous pressure on the starboard bow, and drove it round with great force, broadside on to a sand-bank, six inches of water at the least, less than Alecto drew. She immediately commenced bumping violently, and heeled over several degrees.
As, at first sight, the circumstance appeared to be similar to a previous mishap, we attempted to extricate her in the same manner, by laying out a cable to a tree astern, on the banks of the river. On this (stream cable) a very heavy strain was hove without success; but, on multiplying the power with deck tackles, the cable parted in the nip, pulling down by the jerk, at same moment, the tree to which it was attached.
This disaster put a stop to any more work for the night; and as the men were quite worn out, from the constant work since daylight, under a nearly vertical sun, they were all sent below for rest and refreshment.
On the following morning, a kedge was laid out to windward, to enable us to warp out our large boa", containing a bower anchor. Whilst we were performing this operation, the depth of water was carefully watched, and, to our surprise and annoyance, we found, that it had decreased under the lee, from eleven to seven feet. It became, therefore, manifest, that the current was forming a bank under shelter of the vessel's
hull, still increasing and growing towards the surface. To put a climax to our annoyance, a message come down from Gaya, to inform us that, the river had commenced the most rapid period of its fall.
At length the bower anchor was laid out, and the hemp cable hove taut; but great was our mortification on finding the anchor gradually yield to our efforts, and come home. This aggravated the work enormously, as we had all the extra labour of heaving so cumbrous a plough on board through the sand. On this day a strong northerly breeze was blowing, which materially assisted the river's fall.
Having succeeded with much labour in dragging our anchor to the bows, we determined again to alter the direction of the cables, right astern. Several large trees were now selected, and the cables firmly attached to them. A powerful purchase was now applied to the cable, composed of a hawser rove through both cat blocks; a luff tackle was attached to the hawser, and its falls brought to the windlass. Even with this powerful purchase, we only succeeded in drawing the vessel five feet astern, in as many hours. This plan was given over as useless towards night.
In the evening, whilst the men were reposing, we discovered that several small water snakes were twisting and twining about the blades of the lee paddle-wheel. These reptiles, the native pilots declare, were extremely poisonous. All bathing was therefore stopped, although, up to this period, it had been commonly practised, and found a great relief after the heat of the day.
During the night, the impetuous current, as it rushed along the keel and bottom, hollowed out the sandy foundation on which they were resting. When a certain portion had thus been abstracted, the poor Alecto would suddenly slip down the excavation thus formed, and grind her bottom, and jerk her keel, shooting thrills of annoyance through our hearts, at the poor ship's agony; these unpleasant throes continuing for a few minutes, until the vessel had worked a bed for herself; all was then quiet, until the current had again washed away the foundation.
Every time this happened, she forged broadside on, several feet, bodily down stream; and, as the water shallowed every yard, it became necessary to get her afloat, or remain eight hundred miles from the sea, passively occupied in the novel duty (to an English man-of-war) of forming an island! The river fell, during the night, four inches.
On Tusday, April 20th, all hands felt our critical position, and the greatest exertion was made to lay out, up stream, both bower anchors with chains, instead of hemp, as heretofore. The labour was excessive, as not only where these anchors to be laid out in the teeth of a current like a mill-dam, but our clumsy Correntino boat had to be warped up stream with this immense weight. At 11h. P.M., after thirteen hours harrassing work, our scanty crew succeeded in getting all the geer in position; all hands completely done up.
The next morning, about two hours before daylight, both chains were hove taut, with the most powerful purchases we could produce. Several of the officers, anxious to try the depth of the water, were for
ward on the port bow. To the inexpressible surprise of all, the lead appeared to Aoat!—“Why, what on earth can this mean?” was the general exclamation. “ Send a man down; let's know the worst at once.”
A man was instantly slung, and lowered down; suddenly the rope slacked—he was standing on firm ground—the bank had grown up to the surface! This was a dreadful damper to all our spirits. All hands were now evidently under the influence of deep anxiety for the events of the forthcoming daylight. At length the day broke with its accustomed beauty, in a dead calm. The attention of the officers was suddenly moused by a quarter-master saying, “ Why, Sir, that 'ere sandbank is not half so big this morning as it was yesterday; that dead tree was twenty feet from the water. It is now close."
We were now assured that our former good luck was invincible. The river was rapidly rising, without any apparent cause!
“ Hurrah! for the Grimy Nigger!” and, amidst loud cheers, the chain cables were hove as taut as harp strings. This sudden rise was as extraordinary as unexpected, and still continued much faster than it had
At noon the sand-bank was completely covered, the river had risen ten inches! Just as the hands were turned up after dinner, a light air sprung up from W.S.W.; her head lying due W. The head-yards were immediately braced sharp up, on starboard tack, and all sail made. At 3 o'clock the breeze had freshened considerably, and came on in heavy squalls. This was a very powerful assistance to the crew, who, with might and main, were increasing the tremendous strain on the cables, in hopes of moving her bow up the stream.
At length, in a heavy squall, her bow moved slightly up; this movement, slight as it was, caused greatly increased energy amongst the crew. The very elements were in our favour; the breeze, as if sympathising with our loud cheers, appeared to concentrate all its strength in one good hearty puff. This combination of the wind, with the strength of our crew, was too powerful even for the mighty current. Six links of the chain unwillingly struggled into the hawse-holes. The victory was gained. The current overcome. To use a nautical phrase, “she had watered her hole." The current was now a forced auxiliary to our success, and rushed up with great violence under the forefoot, rising in a mound, two feet high on the opposite side. In an hour's time the Alecto was warped into deep water.
As soon as the ship's hull was removed, and the water had a clear run at the bank, it boiled up like a race, rising with great violence above the level of the surrounding water. Two hours after our extrication, I proceeded, by sounding, to examine the depth of water. To my great surprise, the bank was entirely swept away; leaving the muddy stream eleven feet deep!
So much for the formation of banks and islands in the Parana. Immediately the Alecto was liberated, the wind died away and the river fell! Can any one assert that all these extraordinary coincidences were mere chance?
DESCRIPTION OF KARANG BOLLONG, JAVA, AND of the Birds' Nests
Rocks THERE.* The district of Korang Bollong is situated in the residency of Bagelen, division Ambal, on the southerly sea coast between the rivers Chinchinggolong and Djetis, both of which have their embouchure in the sea.
The first is crossed at the post named Sowook, and this is often attended with danger; because, when the sea is rough, it runs in a bay in the river, which capsizes small boats, (getek ), and occasions the loss of life from time to time. Having crossed we arrive at the foot of the hill Bollong, and from this we are carried further in chairs. On the top of this hill, which is about 250 to 300 feet above the level of the sea, we have a most beautiful view over the south promontories, the ocean, and to the west over a fortification. Descending thence we coine to the village of Karang Bollong where the residence of the overseer is situated.
The house is built of stone, and covered with allang-allang. It has a verandah in front and behind, and is provided with six rooms, besides a stone godown covered with tiles to keep the birds' nests, and having convenient out offices of bambus. From the front verandah we have a view of the south promontory, Karang, called Kilda, on the east mount Klotto, on the north the mountain Pangerangan, and on the west the mountain Koboroubo. On the summit of the mountain Kalibelet lies in the form of a triangle the fortification named Karang Bollong, which is furnished with two 6-pounders, and has a garrison of one serjeant, five Europeans and thirty native soldiers.
Before the house of the overseer on a knoll there is a bamboo cupola, from which we have a view to the east, through a cleft, of the ocean; while the view to the westward embraces the village of Karang Bollong.
At Djeldrie situated in the vicinity of Karang Bollong there are ponds into which the flow of the sea brings fishes. These fish ponds, however, are dependent on the more or less favorable state of the weather, because it has happened that the fish have escaped from the overflow of the water. Once or twice in the year the fish are sold to the population of the district of Karang Bollong, and from the proceeds the sluices of masonry and cleansing of the ponds are provided for. The surplus is divided between the people of the villages of Sowook and Djeladrie who keep the watch.
Generally speaking the place may be considered healthful. The thermometer (Fahrenheit) is found, as a mean, in the morning at six o'clock from 70° to 74°, at noon from 82° to 85°, and in the evening at six o'clock from 77° to 79o.
The population of the district Karang Bollong consists of one thousand able-bodied men, who are free from all state-service and contributions, excepting the maintenance of the roads. They find their livelihood by
* Translated from the “Tijdschrift voor Neerlands Indie.”