On April 12th, in the latitude of 3 degrees 45 minutes south, and in the longitude of 167 degrees, we found the variation 10 degrees towards the east. That night part of the crew were wakened out of their sleep by an earthquake. They immediately ran upon deck, supposing that the ship had struck. On heaving the lead, however, there was no bottom to be found. We had afterwards several shocks, but none of them so violent as the first. We had then doubled the Struis Hoek, and were at that time in the Bay of Good Hope. On the 14th, in the latitude of 5 degrees 27 minutes south, and in the longitude of 166 degrees 57 minutes, we observed the variation to be 9 degrees 15 minutes to the east. The land lay then north-east, east-north-east, and again south-south-west, so that we imagined there had been a passage between those two points; but we were soon convinced of our mistake, and that it was all one coast, so that we were obliged to double the West Cape and to continue creeping along shore, and were much hindered in our passage by calms. This description agrees very well with that of Schovten and Le Maire, so that probably they had now sight again of the coast of New Guinea.
It is very probable, from the accident that happened to Captain Tasman, and which also happened to others upon that coast, and from the burning mountains that will be hereafter mentioned, that this country is very subject to earthquakes, and if so, without doubt it abounds with metals and minerals, of which we have also another proof from a point in which all these writers agree, viz., that the people they saw had rings on their noses and ears, though none of them tell us of what metal these rings were made, which Le Maire might easily have done, since he carried off a man from one of the islands whose name was Moses, from whom he learned that almost every nation on this coast speaks a different language.
CHAPTER XVI: ARRIVES IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD OF BURNING ISLAND, AND SURVEYS THE WHOLE COAST OF NEW GUINEA.
On the 20th, in the latitude of 5 degrees 4 minutes south, and in the longitude 164 degrees 27 minutes, we found the variation 8 degrees 30 minutes east. We that night drew near the Brandande Yland, i.e., burning island, which William Schovten mentions, and we perceived a great flame issuing, as he says, from the top of a high mountain. When we were between that island and the continent, we saw a vast number of fires along the shore and half-way up the mountain, from whence we concluded that the country must be very populous. We were often detained on this coast by calms, and frequently observed small trees, bamboos, and shrubs, which the rivers on that coast carried into the sea; from which we inferred that this part of the country was extremely well watered, and that the land must be very good. The next morning we passed the burning mountain, and continued a west-north-west course along that coast.
It is remarkable that Schovten had made the same observation with respect to the drift-wood forced by the rivers into the sea. He likewise observed that there was so copious a discharge of fresh water, that it altered the colour and the taste of the sea. He likewise says that the burning island is extremely well peopled, and also well cultivated. He afterwards anchored on the coast of the continent, and endeavoured to trade with the natives, who made him pay very dear for hogs and cocoa-nuts, and likewise showed him some ginger. It appears from Captain Tasman's account that he was now in haste to return to Batavia, and did not give himself so much trouble as at the beginning about discoveries, and to say the truth, there was no great occasion, if, as I observed, his commission was no more than to sail round the new discovered coasts, in order to lay them down with greater certainty in the Dutch charts.
CHAPTER XVII: COMES TO THE ISLANDS OF JAMA AND MOA.
On the 27th, being in the latitude of 2 degrees 10 minutes south, and in the longitude of 146 degrees 57 minutes, we fancied that we had a sight of the island of Moa, but it proved to be that of Jama, which lies a little to the east of Moa. We found here great plenty of cocoa-nuts and other refreshments. The inhabitants were absolutely black, and could easily repeat the words that they heard others speak, which shows their own to be a very copious language. It is, however, exceedingly difficult to pronounce, because they make frequent use of the letter R, and sometimes to such a degree that it occurs twice or thrice in the same word. The next day we anchored on the coast of the island of Moa, where we likewise found abundance of refreshments, and where we were obliged by bad weather to stay till May 9th. We purchased there, by way of exchange, six thousand cocoa-nuts, and a hundred bags of pysanghs or Indian figs. When we first began to trade with these people, one of our seamen was wounded by an arrow that one of the natives let fly, either through malice or inadvertency. We were at that very juncture endeavouring to bring our ships close to the shore, which so terrified these islanders, that they brought of their own accord on board us, the man who had shot the arrow and left him at our mercy. We found them after this accident much more tractable than before in every respect. Our sailors, therefore, pulled off the iron hoops from some of the old water-casks, stuck them into wooden handles, and filing them to an edge, sold these awkward knives to the inhabitants for their fruits.
In all probability they had not forgot what happened to our people on July 16th, 1616, in the days of William Schovten: these people, it seems, treated him very ill; upon which James le Maire brought his ship close to the shore, and fired a broadside through the woods; the bullets, flying through the trees, struck the negroes with such a panic, that they fled in an instant up into the country, and durst not show their heads again till they had made full satisfaction for what was past, and thereby secured their safety for the time to come; and he traded with them afterwards very peaceably, and with mutual satisfaction.