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March \Olh.—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 nbout 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. Scolts reef was seen some hours afterwards from the masthead apparently quite distinct from the other: Scotls 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. 101° 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.
Victoria, Port Essington, latitude of Government-house deduced m ' i> from 52 observations with circle . . 11 22 02-5
from 41 " azim. alt. . . 1122 011
Longitude from 10 sets of moon culminating stars . 8h. 48m. 37-7s.-
Ditto by Capt. Wickhum . . 35 IS
Going to Coepang . . 34m-192s-l0h.34m 202s
Variation . . . . 1" 53' W.
Dip 33 46
Custom-house Delli, Timor, difference of longitude from Victoria.
Difference of longitude from Victoria 41m. OCs.
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.
single case of sickness brought on by it during our stay there, although nearly all the people slept on deck. The natives are apparently a finer set of men than those of the southern coast; their arras are spears of different sorts, some stone-headed, but most of them are headed with ■wood, barbed, and about two feet in length, which is fitted into a bamboo handle of about eight or ten feet in length, with gum and small cord made from the bark of a tree. They also have large clubs made of the same sort of wood as the spear heads, and are used with both hands. They have no idea of the bow and arrow, as they could not use them when shewn how, nor could they use the bomerang of the southern coast. The only defensive weapon is a small shield, about two and a half feet in length, by one in breadth, on which they receive the spears thrown at them with wonderful dexterity. The larger sort of spear is thrown with a wamara or throwing stick, which is about three feet in length, and three or four inches in breadth, with a small hook at the end, into which the end of a spear is fixed, which gives a great lever power, and enables them to throw it to a distance of more than forty yards with beautiful precision. The small sort of spear is thrown without the wamara, and is only used for birds. I have seen them hit a bird on the wing with one.
They have no dress whatever for either sex, except a belt round the waist, armlets, bracelets, and anclets, be called dress. It has been said that they have no religion, but to judge from circumstances, one would think differently. They raise mounds over their dead, and in describing a man as having been killed; they laid down as if dead, and then pointed upwards, as much as to say, that the deceased is gone there. Their only musical instrument is a piece of bamboo scraped very thin from the inside, with which they make a noise something between a base horn and a tromboon, but much softer than either; it is about four feet long in general. Their digara-wamba or dances are several; in some they imitate fighting, but others are rather indecent. The different dances have different tunes, and the men and women do not dance together.
When I left in the Alligator, there was a wharf run out for a considerable distance, built of stone. Each marine had a house and garden, for himself; besides which, there was a government-house, barracks, hospital, storehouse, and a mess-house for the officers living on shore; there were also several private houses belonging to the officers. A good number of pigs, which were increasing fast; some guinea-fowls, and common cocks and hens also on the increase.
The party which traversed the Peninsula, a short time before we left, saw numerous traces of buffaloes quite fresh; but only saw a few of the animals themselves, which ran away on their approach.
Stranding Of H.M.S. Pelorus At Port Essington.
The following extract from the Sydney Herald, 12th June, gives an account of the stranding of the Pelorus which vessel has since been got afloat.
"The Pelorus went on shore during the hurricane at Minto Head, Port Essington. She was driven on shore about midnight, nearly drifting foul of H.M.S. Britomart, firing guns of distress, which, from the violence of the wind were not heard. She struck very heavily, gave two or three lurches to starboard and port, and fell oveT on her starboard broadside; the crew held on by the weather rigging, the sea making a clear breach over her. All her boats were smashed, and her yards were sticking in the mud. At daylight a raft was constructed of some of their spars, and by means of a rope previously taken on shore by one of the seamen, they were enabled to transport the sick to the shore. One man was drowned in attempting to gain the shore. The Britomart sent a whale boat to the assistance of the crew. This was the only boat, besides a gig, left out of twenty belonging to the vesselsof-war and the colony. By means of this boat and the. raft, the ship's company were safely landed. After erecting huts for the comfort of the men, and providing for the sick in hospital, the attention of the officers and crew was directed to the clearing the vessel preparatory to trying to heave her off. At low water spring tide, the Pelorus was high and dry for upwards of twenty yards beyond her. The sea had risen during the hurricane to about ten or twelve feet above the common level of the highest springs, and consequently she was thrown up as far as her draft of water (fifteen feet,) would allow.
"She was found, at low water,some few days after the hurricane, to have imbedded herself ten feet in the sand, part of her main and false keel gone, and the forefoot merely held on by a couple of copper bolts. It was found advisable to divest her of her false feel altogether, to lessen the draft of water, in hopes of floating her off at a high spring tide. The men were employed in digging for the guns, but it was found impracticable to continue the work. Captain Kuper then ordered a dam to be built to enclose the guns, and by dint of great exertion on his part, and that of the officers and men, in conjunction with the crew of the Britomart, and Capt. McArthur's party at the colony, the guns were dug out, and the mud entirely cleared. Six pumps were continually at work to keep the dam dry; until about half-tide it was found safer to clear away for the water, to prevent it sweeping the dam in altogether; during each neap tide, nothing could be done to lighten her. The guns having been got out with all the stores, and a great number of casks and tanks lashed to her by means of spars, &c, by bearing on purchases, on January the 18th she rose a little; and from tliio lime probably she came up every tide.
"Latterly, one pump kept her free. The shores under her side having given way on one night at the falling tide, the vessel fell over and sprung her mainmast, February the 3rd.—The Britomart hauled to within a cable's length of her, and for two or three tides, at high water, hove in on heavy purchases, without being able to do more than turn her a little round, and, it was supposed had carried her ahead a few feet. The purchases were all carried away. Captain Kuper, it wa» understood, when the Britomart left, intended to dig her way out, by building dams, but it would be a work of considerable time. The highest water under her stern was ten feet, and it was supposed she drew twelve feet when supported by casks. A raft weighing upwards o( twelve tons, was lashed to her mast beads, at low water, to keep her 011 her broadside, to float h«r out iu that position, but as the tide rose, so rose the vessel, raft, and all nearly upright. This weight appeared to have little or no effect upon her. Captain Kuper was so sanguine of getting her afloat, by the next new moon, that he needed no longer the assistance of the Britomart, and she was, consequently, despatched to Sydney for provisions. Great doubts, however, are entertained whether she will ever get afloat again."*
Santa Christina, Resolution Bay, Marquesas Islands.—From the Remarks of H.M.S. Samarang, Capt. J. Scott.
In hauling up to the southward, after passing through the channel between Dominica and Santa Christina, Resolution Bay+ is easily recognized by the extraordinary high land over its southern extremity, running up into two points, the western sharp, but well defined, the eastern of an irregular form higher, and appears as if rock were piled upon rock, in every fantastic form. On opening the Bay, the houses of the inhabitants are distinguished among the cocoa-nut and bread fruit trees; a point of land juts into the sea, at the bottom of the Bay dividing them so as to give the appearance of two villages. As the wind generally blows down in strong eddies from the high land that surrounds it, it is necessary to be on your guard in working into the anchorage, the shore is steep close to on both sides. It is not above 1,200 yards deep, and about 13 or 1400 yards wide at the entrance.
Good water is procured in abundance close to the sea, from a small stream at tbe southern part of the northern beach, we rafted it off, but with a Hearle's pump and a hose, the boat might be filled by lying close to the rocks that form a break in the sandy beach between the two villages before mentioned.
Latitude of Resolution Bay . 9° 56' 0" S.
Longitude of ditto by chronometer 139 13 5 W.
Conception Bay, and Chili . 66 0 5 W.
Longitude by luiiurs, thirteen sights 139 16 2 VV.
Is a low island covered with stunted bushes, and a few cocoa-nut and palm trees here and there, large lagoons were seen from the masthead in the centre of the island, like other islands of the same coral formation. From the south-east to the south-west point of the island the line of coast runs N.W.b.W. f W. 25-8 miles. A deep bay, however, runs to the northward from a point of land about thirteen miles and a half from the south-east point, near which are two conspicuous
* The Pelorua has since been floated, and stated to have sailed from Port Essington.—Ed.
f In our February number for 1838, will be found some remarks by the Actoeon on Resolution Bay, but a considerable difference appears in the longitude. See p. 74.—Eo.
cocoa-nut trees, bearing about N.E.b.E. true, when in one with the point. The south-west point bears from the latter N.W.b.W. | W. Close to the south-west point are two or three groves of cocoa-nut trees, (which from the sea appear as one,) planted by Capt. Cook on its discovery. From the south-west point the land trends north-east true, four miles and a quarter, forming a small bay, in the north-east part of which is the anchorage half or three-quarters of a mile from the shore, sand and coral, nine, eight, seven, and six fathoms. No turtle were seen, although Capt. Cook on his visit found a superabundance. From the north-east point of this bay the land appears to run away east into a deep bight, and then trends away again to the W.N.W. in a narrow slip, terminating in the north-west point, which bears nearly north seven miles from the south-west point. Its situation is as follows:—
South-east point meridian distance from
Resolution Bay, Marquesas . 18°
Making the longitude . 157
Latitude of south-east point . 1
South-west point, longitude . 157
Ditto latitude . . I
North-west point, longitude . 157
Ditto latitude . . 1
Unknown Islands And Reefs, named by Capt. Scott, Samarasg
September \Sth, 1840.—Discovered several islets and a reef of breakers, the position of which are as follows:—
Meridian distance from north-west point of
Christmas Island to eastern breakers
Lastcm islet, longitude
North-west breakers, longitude
These islets are a group of about a fourteen or sixteen, forming a bell round an apparently shallow lagoon; are covered with flourishing cocoa-nut and palm trees to the waters' edge. In the centre of the eastern reef is a small dry sand bank, the reef itself extends from the eastern islet nearly east, about two miles, over which the sea breaks heavily; another reef runs out from the western islet about a mile to the westward, what distance they run in that direction 1 did not ascertain; but at three miles from the breakers on the western reef, I sounded in nine, eight, and seven fathoms, at which time the north-west breakers were discovered from the fore-yard. By the angles that were taken, they stretch out full nine or ten miles to the north-west from the Western islet: the northern edge of the north-west reef appeared from the masthead to run away about fci.E.b.E. till it joined the eastern one;