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chiefs and people have, however, different feelings, and call them impudent and greedy fellows, saying they breed a famine wherever
Lieutenant Carr also took with him, as a messenger or ambassador from Tanoa, an Ambau chief of some note, called Corodowdow. He was a true savage, well formed, and of extraordinary size, being six feet three inches in height; his features were finely formed, and his countenance of the European cast; his colour a deep black; his hair was frizzled; he had a fine eye, and an intelligent expression, and seemed not wanting in quickness of apprehension. He devoured his food at first like a savage, and had a portentous appetite: a fowl was but a small portion of a meal for him. He is said to have improved in his style of feeding, and to have been able to use a knife and fork on his return. Few men showed to more advantage in the Feejee costume; the sala and seavo of the white tapa cloth, set off well his colossal and dark figure.
Both Tubou and Corodowdow had their suites of slaves, who were a great nuisance to both officers and men ; and had I been aware before engaging them, that we must take their attendants also, I am now inclined to think I should have dispensed with their services altogether. Corodowdow fell in love with a French print of a female that belonged to one of the officers, and was hanging up in the tender's cabin, which he would sit admiring for hours together.
Tom Granby was sent in the tender to act as a pilot, and Lieutenant Underwood went also with a boat's crew.
Lieutenant Carr reached Lakemba on the morning of the 17th. He was immediately visited by the Reverend Mr. Calvert, the resident missionary, who informed him that it was Lieutenant-Commandant Ringgold's intention to return in a few days. The letter and despatches were therefore given to Mr. Calvert; and Tubou and Corodowdow, with their attendants, were sent on shore. They were both dressed out in their best attire, and when they made their appearance the natives all prostrated themselves, uttering, at the same time, a low
For the kindness shown him, Corodowdow presented Mr. Sinclair with his long bone or hair-pricker, as a mark of his friendship, telling him it was made from the thigh-bone of one of his enemies whom he had killed in battle.
Leaving Lakemba, Lieutenant Carr proceeded with the tender to Vanua-vatu, where they began their surveys. The tender's boats were launched, and the island was circumnavigated. It rises gradually, on all sides, to the height of several hundred feet, and is covered with foliage; it is six miles in circumference, and is encircled by a
reef, through which there are two entrances for boats, but neither of them is sufficiently wide for the entrance of a vessel. This island is not inhabited, but the natives resort there for the purpose of fishing.
Lieutenant Carr next surveyed the Tova Reef, which was found about equidistant from Totoia, Moala, and Vanua-vatu. He represents it as one of the most dangerous outlying reefs in the group; it is a mile in diameter, and nearly circular: the two former islands are in sight from it, but the latter, being low, was not seen. At low water this reef is quite dry, and it then forms a snug basin, into which there is a shallow passage for boats. The soundings within the reef were found extremely irregular, varying from two to fourteen feet. At high water the reef is entirely covered, and the sea breaks on it at all times.
The next island that claimed Lieutenant Carr's attention was Totoia. Here he discovered a passage leading through the reef, into which he went with the tender, and anchored in fifteen fathoms, half a mile distant from the shore. They found here a canoe from Vavao, manned by Tongese. Totoia is high and much broken; it resembles the rest of the group in its volcanic formation; it is covered with luxuriant foliage, and has many fertile valleys. On the morning of the 20th, in heaving up the anchor in order to proceed with the survey, it broke at the crown, and the flukes were lost: an incident which does not say much for the goodness of the anchorage on the northern side. Lieutenant Carr thinks that this harbour can be useful only as a temporary refuge. It is filled with broken patches, has very irregular soundings, from three to thirty fathoms, and the passages between these patches are quite narrow and tortuous. The weather setting in bad, they were obliged to forego the examination of a small part of the southern portion of the reef for openings: it is believed, however, that none exist.
Among the whites and natives in the group, the natives of this island have the reputation of being more ferocious and savage than any other; they are said to be constantly at war, and are obliged to reside on the highest and most inaccessible peaks, to prevent surprise and massacre. Water and wood may be obtained here in sufficient abundance, but whoever visits the island should be cautious and continually on their guard.
Matuku was the next island. Of this they began the survey on the southeastern side, whence they passed round the southern shore. On the western side they discovered an opening through the reef, through which they passed, and anchored in one of the best harbours in the group. This I have called Carr's Harbour. Its entrance is, perhaps, VOL. III.
too narrow for a ship to beat in, which the prevalence of easterly winds would generally require to be done; but the channel to it is quite clear of patches, and the passage through the reef is a good one, though long. Within the reef there is a circular basin of large extent, in all parts of which a ship may select her berth with good bottom. On anchoring in the harbour, the natives appeared on the beach, armed with clubs, spears, and muskets, and evidently with no friendly intent. They were very shy at first, but, after some persuasion, were induced to bring off cocoa-nuts, yams, &c. They said they were at war with their neighbours on the mountains. Their village was close by the anchorage, covered and embosomed in trees. There never was but one small vessel in the harbour before, which had traded for tortoise- . shell. Wood and water are to be had here in plenty. The natives resemble those of the other islands, and are considered as possessing skill in the use of their arms.
The face of the island is broken into volcanic peaks, but has many fertile valleys, and it was thought to exceed any of the other islands in beauty. After surveying the harbour, they proceeded with the survey around the island ; and, as they were about finishing it, a native came off to visit them; but all that they could understand from him was, that he professed to be a Christian.
On the eastern side, between the islands, there is a small opening, leading through the reef, but it is full of patches of coral, and offers no facility for vessels.
Moala was next visited. It is a high volcanic island. There is an opening through the reef, on the west side, that leads to an inferior harbour, which the boats surveyed. They found here a white man, calling himself Charley, who was of some use to them in pointing out the localities. Lieutenant Carr sent him, the next morning, with the boats, to examine a supposed harbour, into which, in consequence of the light winds, the tender was unable to enter. The reef on the north side of Moala resembles that of Totoia, being a collection of sunken and detached patches. The reef on the northeast makes off to the distance of two and a half miles. After passing it, there is a deep indentation in the island, with a broad passage through the reef, leading to a safe and very fine harbour, and, what is unusual, the passage is sufficiently wide for a vessel to beat out. This, however, would seldom be necessary, as there are several passages through the reef to the westward, which are safe with a leading wind.
This island affords wood, water, and some provisions, and has about seven hundred inhabitants.
The inprudence and over-confidence of Lieutenant Underwood
was very near involving them in difficulties; and had it not been for the timely caution of Charley, there is little doubt but a disaster would have happened to them. The two boats were under charge of Lieutenant Underwood and Passed Midshipman Sinclair. In the foremost of them was a chief of the island, in the latter was Charley. Lieutenant Underwood approached the shore-reef, with the intention of getting some hogs and yams, which he had sent the natives to seek ; but they would not trade unless the boats landed, and this Lieutenant Carr had expressly ordered Lieutenant Underwood not to do. When the natives discovered they could not be induced to land, they col. lected in great numbers, headed by a chief, became very noisy, and showed signs of hostility. Lieutenant Underwood, notwithstanding the precautionary orders, was unprepared to meet an attack; and the necessity of resorting to their arms was only thought of, when Charley called out, “ You had better stand to your arms, gentlemen; they are after mischief." Upon this the boat was immediately hauled out. When the arms were displayed, the natives took to their heels.
According to Charley, these islanders, not long since, seized a boat belonging to a trader, and, after plundering it, would only liberate the crew on receiving a large ransom. Such appears to have been the over-confidence and carelessness of some of the officers on these boat duties, that they neglected not only the strict orders, to be at all times prepared, but likewise needlessly put in jeopardy the lives of the men entrusted to them. It is now, on looking back, a wonder to me that we escaped accident so long as we did, and certainly not extraordinary that one did at last happen. I am well satisfied, that had full attention been paid to the orders given, and specially impressed upon all, no disaster could have happened.
Lieutenant Carr, finding that his time was almost expired, determined to proceed to Ovolau, by passing close to the Mothea Reef, off the southern point of Nairai. On the 25th, the tender anchored at Levuka. On receiving Lieutenant Carr's report, I immediately despatched him to survey the passage round the western side of Ovolau. The eastern portion, together with the harbour of Levuka, had already been completed by the Vincennes. Lieutenant Carr had, in the performance of this duty, reached the island of Moturiki, when the time allotted for the purpose had expired. He accordingly left the two boats under Lieutenant Underwood, to complete the remaining part of the work, which occupied them two days, during which time, it appears, from Passed Midshipman May's account, they had another narrow escape from disaster, under the following circum
stances. The night the boats left the tender, they imprudently landed on the island of Moturiki, where they unloaded their boats, allowing the natives to help them up, and then removed all the things out of them up to the mbure, although there was reason to apprehend, from their conduct, that mischief was meditated. They deemed it necessary to have sentinels posted, and all the men remained with their arms by their side. The natives before ten o'clock had dispersed, except ten or fifteen, who were seemingly on the watch. These were discovered passing in some clubs, which were secretly laid by a log. Lieutenant Underwood then determined to compel them all to quit the house, which they did, going out in rather a sulky manner. The moment the tide floated the boats, it was thought necessary to load them and shove off. They then anchored, and passed the remainder of the night in them. The next night, for greater safety, they sought shelter from the rain and wet under the rocks, which caused them much difficulty in lighting their fires. This was not overcome until their old native guide took the tinder, and, ascending a tall cocoa-nut tree to the fronds, quickly returned with a blazing torch. Having finished the survey of that part of the Moturiki Passage assigned them, they returned to the ship at Levuka.
The island of Moturiki is almost in contact with that of Ovolau to the south of it. The same reef extends around both of them, and there is no passage between them, except for boats and canoes. A large square castellated rock lies midway between them, called Laudolib, of which there is a tradition, that Ndengei was bringing it to block up the big passage of Moturiki, which, according to the natives, leads to his dominions, but being overtaken by daylight, he dropped it where it now lies.
Moturiki is three miles long, and one broad; it is not so much broken as Ovolau, though it rises in its centre, forming a high ridge. There are two small islands, named Leluvia and Thangala, to the south of it, and between these and Moturiki is the entrance to the bay of Ambau, termed the Moturiki Passage: this is about two miles long, and is a mile in width towards its eastern end; the tide flows strongly through it, and the flood sets to the westward.
On the 28th, I had a visit from Tanoa's youngest son, Rivaletta, who is a fine-looking young man, about eighteen years of age. He was accompanied by a number of young fellows of his own age, but could not be induced to visit the ship, either from fear of detention, or, as Tui Levuka told me, because he had no presents to give in return for those which he should receive, and therefore would not pay a visit