Remarks in Anamoka Road Friday 24th April 1789
Light Winds and Cloudy Weather. Wind ESE and ENE. Sick List one Venereal and an Invalid from a fall. Thermometer 78° to 80°.
At 2 oClock this afternoon in standing to the Westward we suddenly Saw the bottom on which we had only at one time 4 fathoms. By direction from the lookout aloft we hauled to the Northward and deepened in 2 minutes to no Ground at 20 fathoms. The Bearings on the Shoalist part were Tonamai S36°W 2 leagues, Mango N24½°W Southmost of the Eastermost Isles N71°E.
I kept Steering as near as the Wind would allow me past the West end of Anamoka, giving a birth of five miles to Anamoka Eetee and a Small Key to the westward of it called Three Tree Island, from having three Cocoa nutt Trees on it, & is exactly the same as I saw it in 1777. During this time several Cannoes came off to us from Mango and Tonamai with a few Cocoanutts and Yams, and without any hesitation came on board and bartered with every degree of honesty.
I made many enquiries after our old Friends, but I found myself so unacquainted with the languague that I got not information to be relyed on. Latoomylangee a Cheif of Mango came on board and dined with me, from whom I thought I understood that Paulehow, Feenow and Tubow were alive and at Tongataboo.
I found it only necessary to make one tack before I got into as good anchoring ground on the North side of Anamoka as I could expect, the Night however had closed upon me, and as I could not place the Ship with any certainty to convenience respecting my future proceedings I anchored for the Night in 23 fathoms. The extremes of Anamoka from EBN to S½E and veered a half Cable off Shore 1½ or two miles.
By this time about 20 Cannoes had collected about us of whom I knew nothing of and sold us some yams. No one attempted to come on board but with leave, and that as I did not care to have the Ship crouded happened only to a few.
When I anchored, the Tide or Current run to the Eastward, and at the rate of ½ mile per Hour per Log. It was however Stronger and was obliged to shoot the Ship as in a Strong Tides way.
The Tide or Stream shifted at 11 oClock and run to the Westward and set in that direction untill in the morning when it resumed its former course at ½ past 6 and run to the Eastward.
I now found my situation not sufficiently convenient, I therefore weighed and worked into a proper birth and anchored at ½ past 10 in 25½ fathoms. The East part of the Road N8°E and West point S37¼°W and the Sandy Bay S65½°E 2 miles. Many Cannoes were now off to us, and several large Sailing ones besides some others in sight coming from the different Islands having seen us come in.
It was some time before I found any person to take particular notice of, when an old lame Man called Tepa, who I knew in 1777 came on board, and we had a friendly meeting. He enquired after Captain Cook, Clark and Mr. Gore (in that time first Lieutenant) and Several others. He also confirmed to me the account that Paulehow and Feenow were at Tongataboo, but that they would be here as soon as they heard of my arrival. I now enquired after the Cattle that were left here and had the agreeable news that they were all at Tongataboo, and had bred. I could not however get for a certainty to what numbers, what several accounts agreed in was, that there were five young ones of each kind, and that the old ones were living, such information is therefore not satisfactory, it may nevertheless serve to satisfy us that they have been taken Care of. Two other Cheifs called Newcaboo, and Qunocappo, were along with Tepa and being desirous to see the Ship I took them below and also shewed them the Bread fruit Plants which created some surprize in them. They called them Mai, the Vees they called Avvee, the Ayyahs Faigeega and the Ehee or Chesnut Langakalee, from whence we found tho not known before, that these three last kind were among these Islands.
We had not long anchored when the Bower Buoy was seen to be sinking, and for want of a little exertions in Mr. Elphinstone the Mate in getting into a Boat to get hold of it, it went down, I therefore ordered the anchor to be hove up again and to place a better buoy on it, in the meantime I left the Ship and went on shore with these Cheifs to regulate my watering and wooding.
When I landed I found but few People, not more than two or three hundred many of whom were women and children. I was accompanied by Mr. Nelson, and we were conducted to a large Boat House which Tepa told me I might take for my habitation, as he conceived I should have a party on shore as our Ships formerly had. I now went in search of the water, but could find no better place than where Captain Cook watered, which lies a quarter of a mile inland from the East end of the Beach. I therefore fixed on it & returned. I now went to the west end of the Bay where our Old Trading Post was, with a view to see if any Plants or Seeds remained that had been sown there, and we found about twenty fine Pine Apple Plants in a Plantation close by, but no fruit, being not the Season. They described to us however that they had eat many of them, and were very fine and large; and that great numbers were at Tongataboo.
Being now desired to sit down I received a present of a few bundles of Cocoa nutts only, altho I had given a valuable present to these Cheifs before I left the ship, and now distributed Beads and Trinkets to the children & women about us.
Numerous were the marks of mourning among these People. Bloody temples, their heads deprived of most of the Hair; but what was still worse, almost every one with the loss of some of their fingers. Several fine Boys about 6 years old had lost both their little fingers, and many men both these and the middle finger of the Right hand.
We met frequently both Men and Women with dreadfull sores on their Legs, Arms, and Breasts, and even young infants were not exempt from them. The Infants were remarkably fair, but they were not such pretty engaging children as at Otaheite. In the Circle appeared a woman who had just been delivered of a child, and as the Custom is had all her Skin Stained Yellow as well as her infant. This is a very extraordinary custom and has a very disagreeable appearance.
I now returned to the Ship with the Cheifs to dinner, and as I had opened a Trade for yams, the Natives began to bring them off with a few Plantains and Breadfruit but no Hogs. I therefore considered the Island poor with respect to the latter.
Several large Cannoes were now seen coming from different quarters, and some were alongside. Yams were the principal Article they had, except Curiosities, and that things might go properly on I as usual directed Mr. Peckover to manage the trading business, and forbad any others to purchase any thing, but to let every thing go through his hands.
As nothing could be done either in wooding or watering this day, the necessary preparations were only made for the morning.