Strong breezes and Variable Weather with Squalls of Rain and Lightning. Wind East and SBE and the Thermometer from 80° to 82°. Employed repairing the Main Topsail and other necessary duties. Having got Moannah to sell me a few Bread fruit Trees that were in a dying state, I sent two hands on shore to cut them up. The readyness of Moannah and Tynah to serve me in this particular as the fuel of Wood kind is a very scarce Commodity unless brought from the Mountains, is a strong proof of their wish to oblige me, and I have done them wrong to say I bought it as I have not got it on such literal conditions, but under Ideas of reciprocal presents. As the mode of dressing food in these Islands and among most others throughout this sea is peculiar to themselves, so any thing that will take fire and give a proper degree of heat to their Ovens is sufficient for all their culinary purposes. They are therefore abundantly supplied by the Cocoanut shells and branches, underwood and Herbaceous plants.
The heavy surf which has run on the shore for a few days past has given great amusement to many of the Natives, but is such as one would suppose would drown any European. The general plan of this diversion is for a number of them to advance with their paddles to where the Sea begins to break and placing the broad part under the Belly holding the other and with their arms extended at full length, they turn themselves to the surge and ballancing themselves on the Paddle are carried to the shore with the greatest rapidity. As several seas follow each other they have those to incounter on their return, which they do by diving under them with great ease and cleverness. The delight they take in this amusement is beyond any thing, and is of the most essential good for them, for even in their largest and best cannoes they are so subject to accidents of being overturned that their lives depend on their swimming and habituing themselves to remain long in the water. They also practice with small cannoes in these high surfs, and it is seldom that any of them get overturned or filled.
I saw a blind Boy to day and a Man with flaxen hair and a white skin, but this person was of the same nature and as near sighted as the lucis natura's [albino's] are found to be among the Negroes in the Island of Jamaica.
I find many of the People to have ulcerous legs and arms, and some ot them have those ulcers to such a virulent degree as to eat away their toes and fingers. I saw a woman who had lost half of each foot, yet it had been made a most perfect cure of, and she was free of any other blemish. But my Surgeon seems to consider these sores to be in general venereal, of which I yet know of no proof altho two of my people have caught the infection and are now under cure of a Gonorrhea.
Tynah with his wife Iddeeah returned to me from Oparre and brought with them a very fine Hog and a quantity of fruit as usual. They were exceedingly glad to see me and were particular in their enquiries how I did, and I felt equal pleasure in seeing those kind friends return to me again whose attention and civility will ever deserve my warmest thanks.
As an Eclipse of the sun came on this morning, I was on shore very early, but the weather was so very cloudy with rain I saw it only towards the ending, which from the very small portion of shadow when it was again covered with clouds, to the time of its appearing totally uneclipsed, and the time elapsed being 1′30″ I conclude I may be within 15 seconds of the true time of the end of the Elcipse (The apparent time was 19h43′53″,) when the sun came clear and I saw it uneclipsed.