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the performance of the duties with which we were charged, and the remedies that had to be resorted to, in order to prevent the loss of time.
The next day completed my observations and finished the survey of Nemena, or Direction Isle. In the afternoon we got under way, and stood over to the northward for Savu-savu on the island of Vanua-levu. The wind was quite light when we passed out of the reef, on the opposite side to that where we had entered it. I had previously sent two boats to examine the passage, and anchor in the deepest water. We approached the passage with a light air, having all sail set, but had very little headway. The water was perfectly clear, and the rocks, and fish, with the bottom and keel of the ship, were plainly visible. When we got in the passage, the officer in the boat told me that the keel looked as if it was in contact with the coral; the lead, however, gave three fathoms, one and a half feet to spare. It was a little exciting for twenty minutes, but we did not touch. If we had, the ship, in all probability, would have been a wreck; for, as the tide was falling, she would have hung on the coral shelf, and been but partly supported by it. This is the great danger attendant on the navigation of this group, as indeed of all coral islands.
We were becalmed during the whole night; and the next morning, finding the calm still continued, I took to my boat, directing Lieutenant Carr to steer in for the bay when he got a breeze, supposing it would set in at the ordinary time, eleven o'clock. I landed on a small islet, about six miles from the place where I left the ship, and near the mouth of the bay. To reach the islet we pulled in over the reef, which had on it about four feet of water. The islet was composed of scoriaceous lava, much worn, and about twelve feet above the coral shelf. Here I established myself, and was busy securing my observations, when I discovered that my boat was aground, and that the tide was still falling. The islet as well as the reef became dry. It was not long before we observed the shadow of natives projecting from a rock about fifty yards from us, who it now appeared were watching us closely; and not long after not less than fifty shadows were seen in different directions. I at once ordered all the arms and ammunition to be brought up on the top, and made our situation as defensible as possible, for I had little doubt if they saw that we were unprepared they would attack us. The firing of one or two guns, and the show that we were all on our guard, at once caused a change in their intentions towards us, which they manifested by bringing articles of trade.
The natives of this part of the group are considered by the rest as the most savage, and have seldom been visited by the whites. The afternoon came; and the ship not having made much progress, I
made signal for a boat, for my men had nothing to eat, and had exhausted their water. The signal was after some time seen and answered, and a boat sent, but came without any supply. Towards sunset we were relieved from our awkward situation, and shortly after, the tide having risen, I took a reconnaissance of the point of the reef, and went on board. A light breeze springing up, we stood in; but the wind came out ahead, and I was obliged to send three boats to anchor near the danger, in order to be able to enter. I reached a temporary anchorage on the shelf of the coral reef at midnight. This was the only bottom I could find during the night, and we dropped the anchor in fourteen fathoms. Sounding around the ship, we found she had scarcely room to swing with twenty-five fathoms of chain cable; but it was better than beating about among reefs, the position of which I was then almost wholly ignorant of. The next morning proved our position to be far from enviable, but the wind kept us off the reef. Some officers and men were sent to search the reef for shells, others were engaged in surveying, whilst with some others I procured another set of observations on the islet, off Savu-savu Point.
In the afternoon we again got under way, and proceeded farther up the bay, anchoring off Waicama, or the hot springs, in twenty-eight fathoms water. The bay of Savu-savu is a fine sheet of deep water, ten miles in length, east and west, by five miles in breadth, from north to south; it is surrounded by very high and broken land, rising in many places into lofty needle-shaped peaks; it is protected by the extensive reef reaching from Savu-savu Point on the east, to Kombelau on the west, excepting a large opening of about a mile in width, two miles distant from Savu-savu Point. On anchoring I despatched two boats, under Lieutenants Case and Underwood, to join the surveys we had made in the tender, as far as Rativa Island ; they departed the same evening on this duty. The projection of land forming Savu-savu Point is much lower than that on the other sides of the bay.
I visited the hot springs, which are situated opposite a small island, round which a narrow arm of the bay passes, forming a small harbour; a considerable stream of fresh water enters the bay, about a mile above the situation of the springs. On landing, we found the beach absolutely steaming, and warm water oozing through the sand and gravel; in some places it was too hot to be borne by the feet.
The hot springs are five in number; they are situated at some distance from the beach, and are nine feet above the level of high water; they occupy a basin forty feet in diameter, about half-way between the base of the hill and the beach. A small brook of fresh water, three feet wide by two deep, passes so close to the basin, that one
hand may be put into a scalding spring, and the other in water of the temperature of 75°That of the spring stands at 200° to 210°. The waters join below, and the united streams stand at 145°, which diminish in temperature until they enter the sea. In the lower part of the bed of the united stream, excavations have been made, where the natives bathe. The rock in the neighbourhood is compact coral and volcanic breccia, although it is no where to be seen exposed within a third of a mile of the spring. The ground about the spring is a deep brown and black mould, covered with coarse native grass, (a species of Scirpus,) which is thickly matted. There is no smell of sulphur, except when the head is brought as close as possible to the water ; but it has a strong saline taste. No gas appeared to be disengaged. The basin is in a mixture of blue and brown clay, and little grass grows in it.
These springs are used by the natives to boil their food, which is done by putting the taro or yams into the spring, and covering them up with leaves and grass. Although the water scarcely had any appearance of boiling before, rapid ebullition ensues. It gurgles uy
to a height of eight or ten inches, with the same noise as is made by a cauldron when over the fire. Taro, yams, &c., that were put in, were well done in about fifteen minutes. The mouths of the springs are from eighteen inches to two feet in diameter, and have apparently been excavated by the natives for their own purposes.
The account they give of them is, that they have always been in the same state since the spirit first took up his abode there. They are convinced that he still resides there, and the natives say that one spring is kept pure for him, which they do not use. There is one ambati or priest who has communication with the spirit, and there was a small mbure building between the springs and the beach. A chief amused me by say. ing that “the Papalangi had no hot water, and that the natives were much better off, for they could go to sleep, and when they woke up, they always found their water boiling to cook their food in."
From the accounts of the natives, this place was formerly very populous, but constant wars have destroyed or expelled the dwellers. At present there are but few, and none reside nearer than the town of Savu-savu, which is two miles off.
On the hills behind the springs, there has been one of the strongest forts in the Feejee Islands. It has two moats, and in the centre was a high mound, that had evidently cost much labour in its construction. These hills were bare of trees.
On my return I stopped on a coral rock, one-third of a mile from the springs, through which boiling water was issuing in several places. This rock is one hundred and fifty feet from the beach, and is covered at high water, but at low tide rises about three feet above the surface; it is ten feet wide by twenty long. Mixed or embedded in this coral rock is a large quantity of comminuted shells. One hundred and fifty or sixty feet further in the woods there is another boiling spring, from which a large quantity of water is thrown out; indeed the whole area, of half a mile square, seems to be covered with hot springs. The coral rock was so hot that the hand could not be kept upon it. A considerable quantity of the water was procured, and has been analyzed by Dr. Charles T. Jackson, of Boston. It gives the following results.
Sp. gr. 1.0097; Temperature, 570 F.; Barom., 30.89 in.
A quantity of the water, equal in measure to one thousand grains of distilled water, was evaporated to entire dryness, and the weight of the salts amounted to 7.2 grains.
Early in the morning, the launch and first cutter came in. From the officer's report, I found that he had surveyed (since I left him on the 4th of June on Passage Island) the reef between it and Vanua-levu, and part of the distance down to Mbua or Sandalwood Bay. There he had remained waiting for ten or twelve days, until Captain Hudson sent him a fresh supply of provisions, and additional orders to proceed along the south side of Vanua-levu, which he was doing when he joined me. In extenuation of his delay at Sandalwood Bay, he pleaded the literal construction of his orders; they will be found in Appendix VIII. On such a duty, a commanding officer frequently labours under a serious disadvantage, from giving officers credit for a zealous disposition to perform their duties, and is oftentimes less explicit in writing the orders than it behooves him to be; trusting to the zeal of those who are to execute them, in whom he feels every confidence, both as to capacity and willingness.
On the 3d of July, we were engaged in surveying the upper portion of the bay, and in making astronomical observations which were all completed by night.
Towards evening the tender came in and anchored, having succeeded in accomplishing the survey of both the island of Goro and the Horseshoe Reef. The former is considered by the natives one of the most fruitful islands of the group; it is a high island, though not so much broken as the others, and, from appearance, would be susceptible of cultivation to its very top. It is ygali to Ambau, by which it is constantly looked to for supplies. It is surrounded by a reef, which is, for the most part, a shore-reef, and affords no harbour; there is, how. ever, anchorage on the northwest side. The island is nine and a half miles long, by four miles wide. The produce of Goro is oil and tor