Journal Volume 5 2006

Log for 1860 (continued/3)

On our arrival at the shore the fishing party landed, there being a Boatswain mate left in the boat to pay out the seine. When it is ready there is one half catches hold of each rope that is attached to the seine and pulls it on shore. I got up to my neck in water in trying to pull it, so I thought my best plan would be to let it go, so I did. I had a new cloth jacket on too, which got all the pockets filled. The first haul we had was a very good one, but it was more for pleasure then anything else that I went for, so I disappeared from amongst the fishermen after the first haul and went exploring. I had been strolling about for a few hours before I seen any one, but at last I spied three or four natives making towards us (I had two more bandsmen with me). There were 4 of them, and all well built men of about 5 ft 10 in height. They had little or no covering - merely a bit of coarse sacking, they also had little ornaments hanging around their waist, some were the feet of fowl, others the teeth of animals sharpened I expect for some purpose. They had tomahawks also (crude ones). They could not speak any English - as we expected, nor we could not make out anything they said, only by their motions we understood they wanted powder to file their horns that hung by their side, (cow’s horns). They also wanted something to eat. When we were tired of talking to them we left them. I forgot to mention what sort of head dresses they wore. Some of them had their hair all meeting around a gutta percha hoop which was about six inches from their head and their hair waxed to make it stick together; it formed something like a crown on their heads; others had it much similar with very little difference.

We came on board about 3 p.m. with very hungry stomachs, although we had plenty of fish we could not cook any for a snack, but I was partly aware of it so I brought a shilling (1s 6d the price) from the steward, box of sardines with me which gratified my hunger a little. The fish was served out among the messes at 6 p.m. - our mess got about half.

On the 28th we sent another fishing party ashore, on the opposite side; but as usual I sallied away again on quest of finding something extraordinary - so I did - because I had not gone far before I saw some more natives, but these had a select spot for themselves for they had maize, dried fish, and Calaraches outside of the place where they were living: living you might call it. It was under a large tree that six of them were sitting with their hands on their knees and very little to cover them: they had an old pot (cracked) boiling in front of three of them - the men. There were 3 men one side and 3 women on the other side of an old mat which was suspended from the tree. They looked poorly to look at, and the mode of living looked fearful. I took an old silk handkerchief off my neck, and having heard previously that they liked exchange I tried to exchange it for something and I did exchange it for a piece of dried fish which was something like ling. I also exchanged an old cotton handkerchief with several holes in it for a hen, but the native made a fearful noise about it when he found the holes in it, but we had shoved by that time so he had to put up with it.

Previous to finding these natives I found a human skull apparently a young lad’s, it was in a sort of wood. I saw plenty of animal’s bones and large ones too; I fancied some of them were belonging to whales. We went aboard after being about two hours ashore.

We sailed away not long after. The next place we arrived at was Turtle Island, so called after the abundance of Turtles found there. The Admiral, Flag, Lieut. & Secretary went ashore in search of them, while we kept tacking about waiting for them. They came off late in the evening with 4 large turtles and a great variety of shells. We drudged a good deal besides on this passage. As soon as they came on board we sailed away again. We had a fair wind all the way as yet.

On the 7th August we arrived at Mozambique. There is a fine old fort there, which is occupied by Portuguese soldiers. Our Third Lieut. bought a fine monkey there. The Bumb boats bought all sorts of monkeys off, and various sorts of shells and red coral rock. Mozambique is in the channel of the same name.


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