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fortable situation with a norther brewing: the bar having been sounded we found our own way in, and as the battery on the river point only rated two dismounted 9-pounders, our passage was effected without much damage. The river is a very fine one and abounds with fish, it is at least three-fourths of a mile broad in most places. There is a species of river porpoise very numerous here, said never to be found beyond the mouth of the river. The principal difference between it and the common sea porpoise, appears to be in the form of the snout and dorsal fin. As we pulled up the river we started numbers of duck, trail, several beautiful species of cranes, fish, hawks, plover, &c.

On turning the angle of the bank that conceals the town the view is rather pleasing. The placid river, studded with large vessels, the verdure of the trees, and surrounding country, evidently denoting its distance from the sea, give a picturesque appearance to the town as it looks down on the busy scene from the elevation on which it stands, British merchants were doing very little, some said nothing, although the fair had just closed, and they were only then removing the booths from the square. We took the schooner up to the town, to the no small merriment of the inhabitants, who had no idea that so small a vessel could with safety navigate so far up the river. It is certainly a splendid country and deserves to be in better hands, the market was well supplied with everything. I here learned that we had been mistaken for a Texian privateer the day before; and if the guns had been ready should certainly have been saluted. The soldiers are here in much better order than at Vera Cruz, and administer the " quantum suff” of annoyance to the inhabitants, by their constant bugling, drumming, and fifing. It is asserted as a fact here, that there is an officer to every soldier in the Mexican army ; these are paid very high wages; the cfficers are white, the soldiers Indian. I heard several stories as to the lightness of heel displayed by the former, when the latter shewing a hard front, despised the pusillanimity of their superiors, and in Peru and Chili I have always heard the Indians extolled for their bravery and endurance of fatigue and privation. The officers are well paid, to prevent them it is said from paying themselves. Another creation of twelve generals, at an expence of 1,0001. each per annum was about to take place, but with regard to the respectability, the following wicked story is current here. An English merchant, at Mexico, was waited upon by his quondam boot-polisher, in captain's uniform, for the balance of his wages; his blushing honours and commission had suddenly been obtained in some three days boulevard business, in which he had taken a prominent cut-throat position !

The best, and I may say, only good institution at Tampico, is that for public education. The house is neatly built, cleanly, and every. thing seems to be done in superior style. The scholars on Sundays form themselves into a band, and acquit themselves exceedingly well, although their music embraces no more than marches, waltzes, &c.

There has been an attempt made to build by subscription a church, of which the steeple and bells, (the indispensables in a Spanish town,) are all as yet accomplished; the funds as fast as they accumulate, having been seized by the different governors for the necessities of the state, their own pockets and the state being no doubt synonymous,

PORT ESSINGTON AND PASSAGE TO TIMOR AND SWAN RIVER. 533

There being plenty of wild ducks, and also a great quantity exposed for sale, I was surprised to find no marks of shot upon them, On inquiry, I found that the Mexicans do not eat them when they have been shot, but adopt the following extraordinary mode of catching them for their table. A person provides himself with a tarpaulin or leathern dress, and enveloped in this, seats himself at the bottom of the lake or marsh which they frequent; a tube leading to the surface gives him air, and his hands and arms are free. Thus prepared, he watches his opportunity as a duck approaches, and catching him by the legs he gently hauls the astonished biped under water, without disturbing his companions, and quietly despatches him. They say it is a far less expensive and more expeditious method of obtaining them than the gun, but it certainly requires as plentiful a supply of the bird as is found in the winter season at Tampico.

Port EssinGTON AND THE Passage to TIMOR AND Swan River.-From

the Remarks of Com. Owen Stanley, H.M.S. Britomart.*

We sailed from Port Essington for Coepang on the 22nd of October, 1839, and arrived on the 31st. During the passage the wind was very light and variable from south-east and north-east. A current setting to the westward, from 0.4 to 0.7 of a mile per hour was experienced during the whole passage. The bark Maria bound also to Coepang from Port Essington, passed to the northward of Timor, and was set upwards of three miles an hour to the westward after rounding the east end of the island, but had very light winds indeed.

After passing through the Straits of Semao we anchored with the flag-staff in Port Concordia bearing S.S.E. half-a-mile, in seventeen fathoms, and found the holding ground very good, though it is said to be better a little more to the eastward, abreast of the Chinese temple, which may be easily known by its being situated on a low cliff at the end of the sandy beach which fronts the town, and has two large trees before it. The landing place situated close under Port Concordia at the mouth of a sinall fresh water stream, is bad at low water when there is any breeze, as the surf rolls in heavily.

The whalers many of whom frequent the neighbourhood of Timor, sometimes anchor in the bay during the westerly monsoon; but must always be in readiness to weigh, if the wind comes in strong from north or north-west. On the opposite side of the Straits of Semao, there is a very good anchorage during the westerly monsoon close to the island ; the distance from Coepang is about five miles, but in consequence of the difficulty of landing, the communication must be uncertain. At the period of our visit supplies were not easily obtained, with the exception of vegetables: owing to the want of rain during the last wet seasons even the rice crops had failed. The water is good and easily procured. The bay abounds with fish, which the people are too lazy to procure;

* Mr. Jackson's directions for Port Essington will be found in our volume for 1810.

and from all appearances the settlement has not improved since Captains Flinders and King visited it.

In returning to Port Essington we had to beat through the Straits of Semao, which appear to be quite free from dangers, except the long spit which runs out from the south-west point of Timor; upon which the sea was breaking heavily. The water is very clear so that a lookout from the masthead would always show any shoal in time.

On our passage back to Port Essington we experienced the same set to the westward, while to the northward of latitude 10' 45'. After which the current seemed to be entirely influenced by the southerly winds which prevailed near the coasts of Australia.

Near Victoria Trepang Bay upon examination proves to be very shoal, and on that account a good place for procuring the slug from which it derives its name. From Trepang Bay to Cape Don the coast is fronted by a coral reef, extending from one to tivo and a half miles from the shore.

At Raffles Bay considerable remains of the old settlement are still standing. Barkers Bay can bardly be called a bay, having only three feet water at half tide: there is a low sandy point about a mile north of it, which is nearly steep to.

All around the Coburg Peninsula and Crokers Island, the water is very muddy, so that no reliance whatever can be placed upon a lookout from aloft. Off Point Smith the sea is constantly breaking on the end of the reef, which may be rounded in five fathoms, but the fronter shoal, and also the shoal off Vashon Head, cannot be seen at all even when actually on them. In Sunday Straits the tides run very strong, and in several places there are considerable overfalls and ripplings.

Sunday, December 241h.--A little after sunset, a most tremendous thunder storm came on without any previous warning and lasted till near midnight. The lightning and thunder was not confined to any particular part of the heavens; rain came down in torrents, but little wind was felt.

Monday 25th.A strong breeze set in from the south-east with drizzling rain, but as the barometer remained at 29.90, its usual point, and similar weather had been experienced at the change of the monsoon in 1838, nothing was apprehended, more particularly as the wind moderated (as had been expected) at sunset. Between seven and eight o'clock the wind drew round to the southward, and the barometer began to fall rapidly: at ten it blew furiously from the same quarter, and the barometer was as low as 29.10; many of the the trees were blown down at this time. At midnight the wind drew round to the eastward, and blew a perfect hurricane, before which nearly everything gave way; the trees came down in every part of the settlement, the inarines' houses were all blown dowo, the church only finished a week shared the same fate :-- the barometer fell to 23:52

About two A.M. the wind shifted suddenly to the northward, from which point, for about half-an-hour, its fury was tremendous, the government-house, built on stone piers was blown away from them to a distance of nine feet; the sea rose ten feet and a half, by measurement afterwards, above the usual high-water mark; the pier was washed away, as were also the boat-houses, all the stores gaved from the Orontes, and

a considerable quantity of salt pork from underneath the store-houses. H.M.S. Pelorus having parted her cables, was driven on shore, and thrown over on her beam ends, on the north-east point of the settlement, where heeling over 82o her starboard side was buried nine feet in the mud, leaving the keel three feet clear of the ground.

At daylight the barometer rose slowly to 29.90, the gale moderated, and the sea went down so fast, that between seven and eight we were able to send a boat to the assistance of the Pelorus: after eight the breeze continued to blow strong from the northward for two days, with heavy rain.

The occurrence of such a hurricane must be very rare, as the natives were as much astonished as ourselves, and came to beg for shelter: they have no name for it, and no tradition of anything of the sort having happened before : the state in which the very extensive fences at Raffles Bay were in shortly before, must prove that the trees had never been blown down in the way they were on the 25th of November, since that settlement was abandoned in 1829.

I was not able to detect any change in the formation or extent of the shoals in the harbour afterwards, except where the Pelorus was left; there the shoal certainly extended farther than before, as she was quite dry at low-water. The bay, however, from its being so shoal had not been sounded with the same care and attention as the other parts of the harbour.

I am at a loss to account for the manner in which the Pelorus was so bedded in the mud, unless by supposing it to have been deposited upon her after she upset; as there were no symptoms of her having been forced down; the starboard side bore no marks of friction, and the mud showed neither mound nor hollow near her; on the contrary all round her was a dead level.

The extent of the hurricane must have been very limited : at Coepang a strong gale from the south-west was experienced, and also between Java and Timor on the 26th, but the wind did not change : at Swan River nothing of the kind was felt, nor could I learn that the Beagle had met with any very bad weather, though she must have been nearer to Victoria at the time. Eyen eighteen miles north at Vashon Head the change of wind must have been greater though equal in force. There the first trees fell with the wind from W.S.W.; a few fell when the wind was east, and most when the wind was north-west. The Malays have an idea that every fifth year the monsoon is stronger than usual, but can give no reason for thinking so. According to them this monsoon ought to have been a strong one.

Sailed from Port Essington Feb. 12th, 1840, for Sydney, and had to contend alternately with light variable airs, and heavy squalls accompanied by rain from W.N.W. to W.S.W.; the current was also entirely influenced by the wind, but having been informed that it set constantly to the west in both monsoons near Timor, we stood to the northward, and made the east end of the island which is 2,000 feet high, and the mountains are intersected by very deep ravines. No westerly current was found, and the wind was so very light that we were glad to get to the southward again; in one month the distance made good gave an average of a mile an hour. ENLARGED SERIES.No. 9.–VOL. FOR 1841.

4F

March 10th. We passed a reef; the north point of which is in lat. 13° 39', and long. 121° 53' east, considering Port Essington to be in 132° 9' Its extent from east to west is about five miles, from our masthead we could not see the end of it: in the south-east upon the outer edges the sea was breaking heavily within the breakers; the shoal was not dry any where, but did not appear to have more than two or three feet water. Tried for soundings with sixty fathoms within three cables' length without success. Scotts reef was seen some hours afterwards from the masthead apparently quite distinct from the other: Scotts reef extends more to the westward than is laid down in the chart, but I had not daylight enough to ascertain how far exactly, but I should think five miles.

The south-east trade commenced in lat. 19° S., long. 120° E., and carried us into lat. 21° S., long. 104° E.; its general direction was S.S.E., and was very light and variable. A westerly breeze succeeded, but when off Swan river, having been eight weeks from Port Essington, and only fourteen days' provision left, we were obliged to put in for supplies; we passed H.M.S. Beagle off Rottenest, but did not communicate. During her stay the channel between the south end of Rottenest* and the Stragglers was examined, and a good passage with not less than four fathoms and a half, but I had no opportunity of seeing their plan of it.

GEOGRAPHICAL Positions.
Victoria, Port Essington, latitude of Government-house deduced '

from 52 observations with circle . . 11 22 02-5
from 41

" azim. alt. . . 11 22 014

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Longitude from 10 sets of moon culminating stars. 8h. 48m. 3778.

Variation near the pier. . . 1° 0'
Dip by my needle . . . 35 28

Ditto by Capt. Wickham . . 35 18
Port Concordia, Coepang, Timor, difference of longitude from Victoria.

Going to Coepang · · 34m. 19-2s. oh. 34m. 20-2s
Returning from Coepang · 34 21:3

. 10 53' W.
Dip .
Custom-house Delli, Timor, difference of longitude from Victoria.
Going . . .

.
.

26m. 31.4s. Lom o

261 :}0h. 26m. 27.2s. Returuing .

. 26 23:0 ° Reef near Scotts reef, north end, latitude .. . . 13° 39' S.

Difference of longitude from Victoria 41m. 06s.
Long. in space (considering Victoria in 139° 9' 25'' E.) 121° 52' 55" E.

Variation

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Climate of Port Essington. A correspondent who signs himself “ Chisholm," sends us the following further particulars of Port Essington.

The climate of Port Essington is extremely healthy, as we had not a

* Directions for the navigation about Rottenest Island appeared in our last number p. 400.

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