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The style of their garments must be held to excuse the absence of that quality in their rowing, for each man's stroke was a thing to itself, as he painstakingly illustrated the famous maxim of Mr Charles Bouncer, “Dig your oar in deep, and pull it out with a jerk!” Perseverance and a devious course brought them to their goal; but we retired to sleep with dubious opinions as to their safe return.

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CHAPTER XIII

GREAT NICOBAR-WEST COAST

Pulo Kunyi-Area of Great Nicobar-Mountains-Rivers—The Village-The

Shom Pen-Casuarina Bay-An ingenious “Dog-hobble”-In the Jungle -A Shom Pen Village-Men of the Shom Pen-A lazy Morning—The Shom Pen again-Their Similarity to the Nicobarese-Food-Implements -Cooking - vessel—The Dagmar River-Casuarina Bay-Pulo NyurWater-A Boat Expedition–The Alexandra River-Shom Pen VillagesKópenhéat-More Shom Pen-Elephantiasis-Pet Monkeys—Anchorage.

March 17, 1901.-At 6.30 A.M. both junks left, and we followed half an hour later. The breeze was light, the sea smooth, and the Chinese kept ahead all the way: in fact, we only caught up the smaller just abreast of Pulo * Kunyi, our destination on the west coast, where we anchored shortly after the big junk about midday; the other boat did not stop, but sailed on for another village more to the south.

"Great Nicobar is the southernmost and the largest of the islands of the group, having a length of 30 miles north and south, and a breadth of from 7 to 14 miles, while the area is 334 square miles. The highest part of the island is that to the north, where Mount Thuillier attains an altitude of 2105 feet. A continuous range of hills runs down the east side of the island close to the coast, making the surface hilly; and near the centre a range 1333 feet high extends crossways in an E.N.E. direction. On the west side the hills are much more

* Pulo (Malay, island), on the west coast, is probably a mispronunciation of Telok (Malay, bay), for at only one of the small anchorages so designated is there an island at all.

irregular in disposition, and there are broad alluvial plains between their bases and the sea.

“Both in vegetation and geological formation it resembles Little Nicobar, but is the only island of the group that possesses navigable rivers ; for, when their bars are passable, the Dagmar and Alexandra rivers on the west, and the Galathea River in the south, can be ascended some distance towards the interior.

“The coastal population is barely two-thirds what it was computed at in 1886, and now numbers 87 only. In the interior are the Shom Pen, who, liberally estimated, may number from 300 to 400; but, as a few friendly families alone are all with whom communication has been held, it is impossible to arrive at any definite conclusion.

“Great Nicobar is the least known of all the islands; the Government steamer seldom visits it, on account of its few inhabitants, the rough weather frequently met with on its coasts, and the absence of harbours near the populated districts.

“As we sailed along the north-west portion, we perceived it to be low and flat for some distance inland, but towards the south the land rose in irregular forest-clad hills.

"The village of Pulo Kunyi lies along the shore of a small bay, from either end of which two long reefs of coral stretch out seaward to form the harbour. This is further protected by a submerged coral bank which lies across the mouth, leaving only two narrow passages to north and south, of which the former is the more practicable.

“With a man in the cross-trees and a lead from the junk, we got in safely-finding 6 fathoms in the middle of the entranceand brought up in 31 fathoms, in a well-sheltered anchorage where there was plenty of room for several small vessels to lie.

"As soon as all was shipshape on board, we went ashore with our guns. In the village, which consists of five buildings (sheds and houses), we met but two men—women and children had disappeared from fear of the Chinese and ourselves; but there are probably not more than ten inhabitants altogether.

“The Chinese were already at work, busily appropriating all

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