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was my intention to circumnavigate the whole group of islands, carrying meridian distances from island to island, and likewise to complete and connect by triangulation all the parts that required further examination. I proposed to return to Muthuata by the north and east side of Vanua-levu.
Having satisfied myself with observations on Lakemba Point, I set out in the tender at eight o'clock P. M., in order to join the boats early the next morning at Anganga Island, about thirty miles from Mbua Bay. The night was beautiful, and with a light air the tender fanned along. Tom was at the masthead, but, towards morning, being somewhat fatigued, he got into a doze, while the man at the helm believed that Tom would take care of the vessel, and was accustomed to run very close to the reef.
All at once the tender brought up on the coral reef, at the north point of Ruke-ruke Bay. This jarred Tom not a little, and waked him up. He protested most strenuously that he had not been asleep, but that “a kind of blur had come over his eyes." Notwithstanding this excuse, I gave the place the name of Sleepy Point, in commemoration of the event. No damage was sustained by the tender. We proceeded on, and at 6 A. M. we anchored near the west end of Anganga Island, where the boats soon after joined us. Finding that Lieutenant Underwood had carried away his mast, I despatched him back to the ship to get a new one, and directed inquiries to be made relative to the provisions that had been served to the boats' crews. Three days' allowance had been put on board each boat, cooked, which the next morning was entirely gone. I could not bring myself to the belief that the quantity which I had ordered had been put on board. But it proved to be the case, and will serve to show what formidable appetites the men acquired during these boat expeditions.
Lieutenant Underwood was directed to join me at Yendua, an island lying to the southward and westward of Mbua Bay. After despatching the other two boats to examine the reef outside of Anganga, I landed at the point and remained on shore during the day, with Passed Midshipman Eld, making observations for time and latitude. Dr. Fox and Mr. Agate were engaged in picking up shells and plants, and the latter also made sketches. Two small and beautiful specimens of cypræas were found here by Dr. Fox. The height of the Ivaca Peak was also measured, and found to be fifteen hundred and sixty-three feet.
At noon I was rejoiced to discover the Porpoise in sight. She had been looked for during some days, and I could not but feel anxious, knowing the dangers with which the service I had sent her on was
surrounded. On her coming up, I ordered signal to be made for her to anchor near us, and in the afternoon we joined company. The brig was then ordered to get under way, and follow our motions.
In standing into Ruke-ruke Bay, in the tender, we stood too near the reef, and the wind heading us off, we missed stays and were übliged to drop anchor to avoid going on shore. With the assistance of the brig we hauled off, ran round Sleepy Point, and it being too late to proceed, anchored for the night. It was my intention to reach Yendua Island that night, but this mishap prevented us.
Anganga Island is high, and very much broken ; it is not inhabited, and offers nothing but turtles in the season.
I now had communication with Lieutenant-Commandant Ringgold, and before going on with the details of the expedition upon which I had set out, will recount those of the operations of the Porpoise, since I left her at Somu-somu, five weeks previously.
Lieutenant-Commandant Ringgold procured as pilot, in place of Tubou Totai, a young Feejee man of Tonga parents, named Aliko, quite intelligent, whom he afterwards found remarkably useful. He was well acquainted with the outlying reefs and islands, having frequently visited them. He was extremely good-looking, and his skin as light as that of the Tongese. On the 14th they left Somu-somu, to continue the surveys, proceeding round the south end of Vuna. Owing to variable and light winds, they made but little progress for the first few days. They then passed Vaturera, Nugatobe, and Ythata. The former is a high, square-topped, rugged island, with an extensive reef, quite desolate, and lying northwest of Chichia.
The Nugatobe Islets are three in number, and small; the two westernmost are enclosed in the same reef.
Ythata is a high island, with a bell-shaped peak, lying north of Vaturera; it is surrounded by an extensive reef. There are two low islets lying east of it, connected by a reef, in which is a small canoepassage at high water. Ythata has extensive cocoa-nut groves along its shores : it is one of the islands that form the southern boundary of the Nanuku Passage. It has about twenty inhabitants. .
Lieutenant-Commandant Ringgold landed on the islets, and found them composed of white sand and coral. Some pandanus trees were
The centre isle is composed of black lava and stones. The reef extends from fifty to one hundred feet, with a break to the north. Here magnetic observations and chronometer sights were obtained.
Kanathia, with its many verdant and fertile hills, is a remarkably pretty island. Its central peak is sharp and lofty, somewhat resem
bling a lookout-house, formed of basaltic columns. It is surrounded by a reef with boat-entrances, and has on the north a break. The reef extends four and a half miles on the northeast side, and to within two miles of that of Vanua-valavo. Kanathia is three miles long from north to south, by two and a half miles from east to west ; it lies five miles west of Vanua-valavo. The passage between them is clear, and the reefs of both islands are visible at the same time. A detached reef lies off the southeast end five miles distant. Kanathia has about three hundred inhabitants.
Malina was next surveyed. It lies north of Kanathia, is low, small, and has little herbage. It has an extensive reef surrounding it.
Lieutenant-Commandant Ringgold next visited the island of Vanuavalavo, which is included among the Exploring Isles, which he had previously visited. He now entered by the western passage, where he found good anchorage, and visited several fine harbours, where wood and water are to be had in abundance, and the natives ere quite friendly. From the top of one of the peaks of Vanua-valavo, called Mount Totten (after the distinguished head of the engineer corps), angles were obtained on all the surrounding islands and reefs. The barometer gave for the height of this peak six hundred and sixtyfour feet. The officers were engaged sounding and surveying the harbours, and examinations were made of the several passages.* The chief of the principal village is a mild, good old man, who afforded ali the facilities in his power, and the natives were glad to communicate and trade their taro, yams, pigs, &c., in exchange for iron and cloth. They are not so swarthy as the other islanders, and some of them are nominally Christians. The island is estimated to contain one thousand inhabitants.
Lieutenant-Commandant Ringgold designated this large and fine anchorage as Port Ridgely, after Commodore Ridgely; and it affords me great pleasure to confirm this compliment to one to whom the Expedition was much indebted on its outfit.
On the 23d, they left this anchorage and proceeded easterly along the reef that surrounds the Exploring Isles, when they discovered a detached reef to the eastward, lying parallel to the side of the main reef. The southern end of this detached reef is two miles distant from the other. It has a small sand-bank on its south side, and trends northnortheast and south-southwest for four miles; there is, also, on it a black block of rock.
On the 25th, they discovered a large bank of coral, on which they
* All these will be particularly noticed in the Hydrographic Memoir.
found eleven fathoms of water. Lieutenant-Commandant Ringgold believes that it extends for several miles. There is plenty of water on most parts of it for any class of ships, though it would be well to avoid it, as there may be some coral knolls that might bring a ship up. A current was found here setting to the north a mile and one-eighth hourly.
The next day the Duff Reef was examined, as well as the sea, for about thirty or forty miles to the east of it, but no other dangers were visible. The Duff Reef has an extensive sand-bank on it, and the island of Vuna is plainly visible from it.
The island of Yalangalala, which lies just to the westward of the Duff Reef, has an extensive reef. It is uninhabited, and forms, with Velerara, the southern side of the Nanuku Passage--the island of Nanuku and its reef forming the northern side. This passage between these islands is ten miles long; the course through is southwest. The islands to the north of this passage are small and low, and surrounded by very large and extensive reefs. The most northern of these are Korotuna and Nukulevu, both of which are low, covered with trees, fertile, and have many inhabitants.
Nukumanu and Nukumbasanga lie to the southward of these; they are almost united by reefs and sunken patches of rock, which extend to the Nanuku Reef, and round to Lauthala and Kambia.
Too much precaution on the part of mariners cannot be used in approaching this part of the group. Several times during the survey the Porpoise was in great danger. The currents and tides are irregular and much governed by the winds, and at times are found running with great velocity through the various and contracted passages.
After making these examinations the Porpoise went to Tasman's Straits, or to those to which I have assigned that name, under the belief that they are those discovered by that navigator. They lie between Vuna and Kambia. This strait was examined, and though contracted, affords a safe passage. Although I was able to identify Tasman's Straits, his Hemskirch I was unable to make out. There is a fine harbour on the Vuna side called after Tubou the pilot, which the brig reached on the afternoon of the 3d of July, having dropped her boats the evening before to pass round Lauthala and Kambia. The boats joined her previous to her entering the straits, having passed the night in a small bight off the island of Kambia.
Tubou Harbour is well protected except from the north winds; it is formed by an extensive reef and sand-bank. The 4th of July was spent here, but not in festivity, for Lieutenant-Commandant Ringgold deemed the weather too fine to lose; so the survey of the straits was
continued, and many of its reefs and sunken patches determined. The next day was similarly employed.
On the 6th, the Porpoise reached Somu-somu, where they found the missionaries all well; but the town was nearly deserted, as the king and chiefs had gone to a distant town to a feast.
The Porpoise experienced here the same gale of wind we had at Mbua Bay, from the 7th until the 11th. On the 10th, it having abated a little, Lieutenant-Commandant Ringgold started for Rambe with the launch in tow, intending to despatch the boats inside the reef, down the north side of Vanua-levu, agreeably to my orders. On reaching the open straits he found that it still blew a gale, and he was obliged to run for shelter under the northwest side of Kea, an island on the Vanua-levu side of the straits. This place they termed Port Safety, having run imminent risk in reaching it. The weather continuing boisterous, the time was usefully employed under the lee of the island, in examining the bay, reef, and island, officers being sent to the different points to determine its height, and connect it with the other stations that were in sight from its top. Dr. Holmes was one of the number who went on a botanical excursion, and after reaching the top with the party, he set out to return alone. An adventure then befell him, which will be better told in his own words, which I extract from his journal.
“I started alone to return, intending to deviate a little from time to time from the direct path, to collect a few botanical specimens. I had walked a short distance only, when I struck off into a fine cocoa-nut grove, and pursued my new path so long, that I was puzzled to retrace my steps. At length I thought I had succeeded, and reached the beach. The form of the island is peculiar; it is narrow, and along its central part runs a long range of hills, whose sides are covered with a thick tall hedge and underbrush, so densely as to make it impossible to cross from one side to the other, except by paths with which I was of course unacquainted. I pursued my course along the beach for an hour or two quite cheerfully, expecting every moment to see the brig; but as I rounded point after point with quick steps and anxious eye, no vessel appeared, and I was fain to push on again for some more distant promontory, promising myself that there my walk was to end. After spending four hours in this manner, my strength began to fail, and I was forced to believe I was on the opposite side of the island to that where the brig was anchored. To retrace my steps was now impossible, and I was completely ignorant how far I should be forced to walk before I should be in safety. I pushed on until I was completely exhausted, and, moreover, found myself stopped by a thicket of man