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stalk a herd of these animals is often a futile proceeding; but if, when you have seen them, you keep quite still, and attract their attention by some unusual noise, such as a continued tapping on your gun-barrel, you will generally have them all round you in a very short time.
The effect, on the monkey, of man's appearance, is most interesting. The expression of their emotions is certainly almost human, as they sit and stare at him, coughing and snarling with anger and contempt, drawing back their heads and throwing the hand before the face with a gesture of abhorrence, and other movements indicative of shocked and outraged feelings. But predominant is the expression of absolute horror, which, coming from those we consider our still degraded cousins, is to our superiority very aggravating.
A troop of monkeys travelling through the forest and feeding as they move, is also worth watching. Their presence is plainly indicated, even when some distance off, by the crashing noise made as they leap from tree to tree. Having reached the extremity of one branch, the monkey, with a swing and a flying leap, conveys himself to another, not alighting as a rule on a bough of any size, but generally coming down on all fours amongst the small twigs, a bunch of which is immediately embraced.
In their manner of feeding they show a perpetual craving for change, the most fruitful tree not detaining them for many moments; while for each fruit from which a single bite is taken, half a dozen are plucked and thrown down.
Crabs swarmed nearly everywhere: scarlet hermits, that dragged about their variously - shaped domiciles in which they shut themselves up and lay inert when disturbed ; and the hideous, purplish land-crabs, that scrambled away waving threatening claws at sight of a stranger. So numerous and rapacious were all these, that a week's assiduous trapping for mammals only produced one specimen, since the baits were always immediately discovered and devoured by the unwelcome and valueless crustacean.
Before we left, a number of men from Great Nicobar arrived in a large canoe: they were proceeding to Nankauri on one of the expeditions undertaken by the Nicobarese when they desire to obtain the pottery manufactured only by the women of Chaura.
We weighed anchor at sunrise on March 4th, having added a pitta, an owl, and the Rhinomyias—all new species—to the avifauna of the islands during a most satisfactory visit of seven days.
KONDUL AND GREAT NICOBAR
The Anchorage-The Island Villages-We leave Kondul-Great Nicobar
Anchorage-Collecting-Up the Creek A Bat Camp-Young Bats--
On the same day, we anchored as night fell, close to the island of Kondul, having sailed down the west side of Little Nicobara coast of sand-beaches and steep jungle-covered hills-and crossed the St George's Channel, which divides the latter island from Great Nicobar.
Kondul is 2 miles in length, and half a mile wide, and, while running N.N.E. and S.S.W., lies too far from the larger island to form a harbour, although sheltered water is nearly always to be found on its lee-side.
We dropped anchor in 7 fathoms, opposite a little beach and some coconut palms on the western shore, and next morning rowed to the village on the other side, meeting on the way a strong tide-rip, off the south-east point, that for long kept us from making any progress.
The island is about 400 feet high, and its grey cliffs of slate and sandstone rise steep and bare until they meet the dense jungle with which the upper part is covered. Only on the east is there any flat land, and there, on a stretch of coral soil, are situated the houses and gardens of the natives, who now number some 38 individuals.
We landed behind a projection of the reef which afforded shelter from the swell, and were met by the headman “Dang," who brought with him the shipping register.
Some of the buildings were round, others rectangular in shape, and supported by leaning-posts in addition to the piles ; and here and there were erected a few slightly carved and painted stumps, draped with bunches of palm leaves.
The headman's house contained small figures of a man, woman, and child, and some painted nuts, also a large mirror in a gilt frame-a useless object probably obtained from the Chinese in return for some thousands of coconuts. We learned that there were many Shom Pen on the neighbouring coast, but that they were very nomadic, and badly disposed towards strangers.
Our talk over, we left the house and rambled about, behind the village, in a plantation of coco palms, bananas, and limes growing in rich alluvial soil; and then, proceeding along the shore, crossed a little stream, and making a détour round a mass of broken rocks, reached a further village of three houses. Here the people were rather nervous at first, especially when asked to stand for their photographs, and needed much reassuring before we got on satisfactory terms; but Jangan takot, kita orang baik (Don't be afraid, we are good men), and similar expressions, before long brought about more friendly relations.
After purchasing a supply of coconuts, limes, and as many chickens as could be obtained, we returned to the schooner and sailed for the north coast of Great Nicobar, known to the natives as “Sambelong,” or “Lo-õng.”
With the wind ahead, it was once more evening before we reached the little bay where we had decided to stop. Anchoring, at first temporarily, at the mouth, in 5 fathoms, the dinghy went off to sound, and ascertain whether we might enter. The bottom was sand and coral, and shoaled rapidly, until at the mouth we found a sandbar that almost dried at low tide. Of a village which we expected to see, since it was marked on the chart, there was no trace.