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UP THE GALATHEA RIVER

163

"Once we ran aground on some rocks, and twice had to scramble on fallen tree-trunks spanning the river, and force the boat beneath them. But for such incidents we progressed steadily upwards until eleven o'clock, when we pulled to one of the banks, here only some 15 yards apart, and tying up the boat, proceeded to camp during the heat of midday.

“Then, after breakfast had been disposed of, it was delightful to lie on one's back in the shade of the jungle and watch the waving leaves against the sky; to search with the eyes for graceful ferns and orchids drooping from the branches overhead, and in a dreamy semi-slumber to listen to the calls of the birds, and the faint voices of the men as they rambled about in the forest. Presently, as the sun reached its highest point, all became quiet, and we dozed an hour away, to wake up, and—after boiling the kettle for some tea-start off once more.

“Gradually narrowing, the river maintained the same character, save that the banks became more open. At one fallen tree we had to unload the boat and haul it bodily over; several times we got round or under such obstacles with difficulty; and so, rowing and poling as the stream lessened, we went on, until at about five o'clock, the river, now only 25 feet wide, became so shallow and obstructed by fallen branches that we were forced to cease all attempt at further progress, and so made camp at a spot about 16 miles up-stream, almost in the latitude of Pulo Bábi. In the rainy season it would perhaps be possible to ascend a few miles higher.

“While daylight lasted, the boat was partly unloaded, sticks cut to support the mosquito nets, and supper prepared—heapedup plates of snowy rice, eked out by various tinned commodities. Then after re-charging the dark slides beneath a rug, and covering the baggage with a tarpaulin in case of rain, we turned in.

“It was a glorious moonlight night and the cicadas sang us to sleep from the trees, while the mosquitoes hummed away vainly and viciously outside the net.

on the river, and the calls of one or two birds not elsewhere obtained, were distinguished. Numbers of fish were seen in the shallows, and sometimes a snake swimming from bank to bank was to be observed.

“Now and again, for a time, came the cry of some startled bird and the croaking of the tree-frogs; but when these died away the prevailing silence was broken only by the sound of the dew dripping from the trees, and the occasional fall of dead leaves or rotten branches.”

March 29.-We turned out at daybreak while the river was shrouded in mist, and after chota hazri, started down-stream.

“The water had fallen a foot during the night, and for some distance we could only use the oars to pole with. Presently, however, we were paddling quickly down the river, until we came to the fallen tree, where it was again necessary to unload.

“All the contents were stacked on the bank, and then, while the boat was on the trunk, I walked along the latter to take a snap-shot of the scene from the shore. Just as it was half-way across, our craft stuck fast; all, gathering themselves together, gave a mighty heave, and suddenly it slipped over, taking everyone by surprise. 'Din fell into the water, 'Dul fell into the boat, Mat straddled the tree, and Abbott, by a display of flying, gibbon-like agility, succeeded in landing safely in the stern. It was all very amusing to see from the shore; far too funny, indeed, at the time for me to get my photograph.

"This was the only obstacle, for, thanks to the low tide, we found no difficulty in passing beneath the other fallen trunks. About ten o'clock we were back at the hut and lime-tree, and stopped there for breakfast; then, after gathering a bucketful of fruit, were off again.

"With the sun almost overhead, it now became very hot on the water; but, pushing on, we reached the river-mouth soon after one o'clock and unloaded the boat once more before taking it through the breakers. From inshore they seemed much more formidable than from seaward, whence their height and the curl of falling water were hidden. We lay a short distance from the long, white lines that travelled across the bay, and watched them, backing and pulling to keep our place.

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WE LEAVE THE NICOBARS

165

“A series of breakers fell, then in rolled a monster, and as it broke before us, we dashed in the waiting oars and sped forward at the next. Up went the prow, and we were over and in the hollow before a second; then over that and yet another, and we lay on the gently-heaving surface of the bay.

“Back once more beneath the schooner's awnings, we found a welcome supply of thirst-quenching coconuts, brought freshly from the village.

“The junk, after taking in a supply of water, had left the day before. It is customary for these vessels, after their business on the west coast is over, to sail round the north end of the island when leaving for Acheen, in order to make a slight gain to windward; but this one, having learned that we were going direct, decided to take a similar course."

On March 30 we went ashore for the last time and found a good supply of water at Badói, about 100 yards inside the jungle. The stream dies away before reaching the sea, but above the watering-place it can be followed for some distance by wading up the rocky bed.

We were now full up with wood and water, and having obtained a good supply of fowls and coconuts from the village, were ready to put to sea, so left at ten o'clock in the evening, with a light wind, and a tide running S.W.

"March 31.—At 9 A.M. the point below Mataita-ânla bore W. about 7 miles. Squalls of wind and rain occurred, and a succession of waterspouts travelled across the horizon; betweentimes and for the rest of the day, we experienced a dead calm, and rolled about on the swell. Position at 4.30 P.M., 8 miles east of Campbell Bay."

"April 1.—There has been scarcely any wind, and we drifted N. by E. until Menchal and Kabra hove in sight. A school of sharks visited the schooner, and one about 7 feet long that was hooked, was given his quietus with a revolver bullet when hauled to the surface.

“Our live stock is flourishing. The three sober-looking parrots down in the cabin are becoming tamer day by day,

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