Page:A Voyage to Terra Australis Volume 1.djvu/76

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[Prior Discoveries.


The six sailors, losing all hope of finding water, swam back to the boat, wounded and bruised by the blows they had received from the waves and rocks. The anchor was then weighed, and Pelsert continued his course, under easy sail, along the coast; but keeping without side of the shoals. The 15th in the morning, they discovered a cape, off which lay a chain of rocks, running out four miles into the sea; and behind this was another reef, close to the shore. The water being tolerably still between them, Pelsert thought to pass through; but the reefs joined round further on, and obliged him to return. At noon, an opening was seen, where the water was smooth, and they went into it, but with considerable danger; for the depth was no more than two feet, and the bottom stony. On landing, the people dug holes in the sand; but the water which oozed in was salt. At length, fresh rain water was found in the cavities of the rocks, and afforded them great relief; for they had, hitherto, been confined to a pint of water each. They staid on shore that night, and collected full forty gallons. Ashes and the remains of cray fish were found; which shewed that the natives had been there no long time before.

July 16. They sought to collect more water, but were unsuccessful; and none could be expected in the sandy, level country behind the coast. This plain was destitute of both grass and trees, and covered with ant hills so large, that they might have been taken for the houses of Indians. The quantity of flies was such, that the people had great difficulty in keeping them off. Eight savages, with with each a stick (probably a spear) in his hand, were seen at a distance. They came within musket shot; but on the Dutch sailors going towards them they took to flight.

Captain Pelsert, being at length convinced of the impossibility of procuring more water, determined to quit this coast. At noon, he got withoutside of the reef by a second opening more to the north; for, having observed the latitude to be 22° 17', his intention was to

seek for the River of Jacob Remessens (near the North-west Cape);