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We have guns, and so ought to be able to get birds or
and if we can only find water, we may get on well.'
The north-east wind, . which assumes almost the character of a trade wind off the Cape, and which blows sometimes for weeks together, continued steadily for the next two days; and the boats during part of the time being able to carry sail, made rapid progress through the water, so that on the morning of the third day all hands were eagerly on the look out for land.
It was about ten o'clock in the morning that Jones, in the second boat, called the lieutenant's attention to what he thought was land about south-west of them. The telescope being used to discover what this was, revealed the fact of land, which was rather low, and was estimated at not more than ten miles' distance. The boat's course having been altered to enable them to make direct for this land or island, as it was known it must be, the lieutenant called to Jones to bring his boat close, in order to tell him what should be now done.
' I'll take the lead, Jones, and we must have a man standing up in each boat to look out for broken water. I think it will be better to go to the leeward of the island, and land there, unless we can see some kind of a bay. Don't you follow too close, for in case we strike a rock, or are swamped, you must be far enough off not to fall in the same way.'
'I've heerd, sir,' replied Jones, 'that these islands are surrounded by long sea-weeds that make boat navigation
rather difficult; but if you know where the channel is, then you are all right, as weeds and rocks don't come near the surface there.'
As the boats neared the island, the lieutenant used his telescope in the endeavour to discover if any ships were there, for he believed it possible that whalers might have made use of this island, as afterwards he found had been the case.
The wind seemed to have blown itself out towards mid-day, and shortly after it fell quite calm, and as the boats neared the island, the sea had considerably diminished.
Upon reaching within about a mile of the shore, the surface of the sea began to be sprinkled with sea-weed in abundance, which was some of it floating, and other portions evidently growing from the rocks beneath. Advancing slowly and cautiously, the lieutenant directed the man who was steering, and thus threading his way through thick masses of weed, approached sufficiently close to the shore to see where the surf was breaking. Having noted a headland jutting out into the sea, the sailor, from his knowledge of the general form of coasts, concluded that behind this he would very probably find a bay, and such proved to be the case. This bay was covered at the water-line with a white sand, up which the waves washed; but there seemed no sign of rocks near this, and thus it appeared in every way suitable for a landing. Steering the boat carefully round the promontory, the lieutenant made for this beach, and watching his opportunity ran the boat up, so that as the sailors
jumped out, and seized her to haul her up, they were high and dry as the waves receded. The second boat, being thus guided, followed the example of the leader, and was also securely beached, the men jumping out, and being rejoiced to stretch their legs once more, after being cramped on board their small boats for so many days.
Seals and Sea-lions.
was large and heavy, and lived in the sea, but could come on shore.
"Yes, seals, and sea lions,' replied the lieutenant.
“Then they come here,' said Hans; 'there is spoor of the creatures on the beach.'
“Then we are safe for food, and that is something : for we shall not starve as long as seals or sea-lions can be captured or shot. As soon as all is made snug here, we'll examine the island.'
In half an hour every item of the stores being safely secured, the lieutenant left three men in charge of the boats and stores, and two others with directions to collect all the dry sea-weed and pieces of wood or reed that they could find. These were to be heaped together to make a fire, for great numbers of birds were seen flying about, this island seeming to be a favourite resort or breedingplace for many sea-birds.
The lieutenant, with Hans and the Zulus, and the remaining men, went in shore to examine all that was to be seen.
The island was rocky and barren, and destitute of vegetation. There seemed no stream or rivulet, or fresh water of any description, and no living creatures except birds. The centre of the island was elevated about three hundred feet, and from the top of this a good view, it was expected, might be obtained all around. Ascending to this plateau, the lieutenant and Hans were both occupied in looking round the horizon for some signs of a vessel, and the latter was therefore startled by hearing one of the Zulus in a loud voice exclaim ‘Amanzi !'
food, so be careful of the biscuit.' Whilst these arrangements were being made, the Zulus had been wandering along the shore, looking at the ground in various directions, and pointing out to each other something which had attracted their attention. Returning to Hans, who alone understood their language, they said, 'Amasondo m'culu kona' (There are large footprints there').
‘Of what?' inquired Hans.
We don't know,' replied the Zulus. The game lives in the water that makes these footmarks.'
Hans, guided by the Zulus, went to the shore where the footprints were visible, and there saw a spoor which to him was quite new. Several footprints of a large animal were to be seen, and near these some circular cuts in the sand, as though an arc of a circle had been traced with an instrument. Though well acquainted with the spoor of all South African animals, yet Hans could not remember any similar to this. The Zulus, however, with a quickness of perception often possessed by semi-wild men, pointed out to Hans that there were only marks of two feet, then that the circular scrapes were marked over these footmarks. One of the Zulus then lay down on the sand, and dragged himself along by his hands only, thus indicating that the creature must progress much in that manner. Still, neither Hans nor the Zulus had ever seen any creature at all like this in South Africa.
Returning to the sailors, Hans asked the lieutenant if he knew of any creature that had only two legs, that