Page:Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London, Volume 1 (2nd edition).djvu/230

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198 Captain Beeohey's Yo?t?e. It consists o� five large ,islands and several smaller ones, all situated in a lagoon formed by a reef of coral, into which the Blossom effected a passage over a portion of the reef which dipped beneath the water, with five, seven, and eight fathoms, gradually deepening it to twenty-five fathoms. The largest island is about six miles in length, and rises into two peaks elevated 1528 feet above the level of the sea. These peaks, which were called after the Duff, are in form of wedges, and may be seen at a distance of fourteen or fifteen leagues. The island on which they occur Captain Beechey named after the first lieutenant,. Peard Island; and the others in succession, Belcher, Wainfight, Elson, Collie, and Marsh, after the other officers, and the lagoon, in which the ship was anchored, after herself. The islands appear to have been subjected to volcanic action, though not recently; and the account given of their geological structure, as extracted from Mr. Coilie's Journal, gives details exactly similar to those presented by the older plutonic rocks in our own latitudes. The population may be estimated at about 1000; and the account given by Captain Beechey of their appearance, manners, dress, and occupations, of their mode of preserving the dead, and of their instruments of chase, warfares and other utensils, presents many interesting features. The Gambler Islands acquire considerable importance from the fact of their being the only station at present known (Pitcairn Island excepted)in a distance of 4000 miles between Otaheite and the coast of Chili. where a supply of good water can be pro- cured. Two great streams from Mount Duff supplied the boats faster than it could be got off. Captain Beechey observed the old custom of taking possession of this group by hoisting the English ensign on the shore; and sowed several useful seeds, in the hope of their proving advantageous to the natives. At the S.W. extremity of these islands are several small sandy islands,' over which the sea breaks heavily, so that they are lost amidst the foam. They were named the Wolfe Islands, from one of the midshipman of the Blossom. Lord Hood's Island, which Cap?aln Beechey reached o?t the 14th of January, 182�s in latitude 21 �? S. and longitude 156 � W.: and consists of an assemblage of small islets rising from a chain of coral even with, or a little above the water's edge. Upon these grow a'varlety of evergreen-trees thickly set, and presenting an inviting appearance; but the surf forbade all attempts at landing. It appears, however, that the islets. are not now inhabited, as Krusenstern reports them to have been, and as tho appearance of a square stone hut was sufficient to prove. 'This c. oral rock, which was discovered by Mr. Wilson, is the ship Duff, is 11'2 miles in length and 4'7 miles in width, in a north and south Dig,tiz?d by Google