On embarking to return we could perceive no sign of One Tree Island; and as we swept down towards the sea the leafy top of a tree seen in the clear water under the boat was the only evidence of its existence; though a few hours ago it had formed so prominent an object.
At several such places we landed, but always found the ascent to the interior so covered with large loose rocks that it would have been impossible to have disembarked stores or stock on any.
Sunrise offered a very beautiful spectacle; the water was quite unruffled, but the motion communicated by the tides was so great that, although there was not a breath of air stirring, the sea heaved slowly with a grand and majestic motion.
I mention this fact as tending to support what I have often heard stated, namely, that a shark’s sense of smell is so keen that, if men ever bathe in seas where they are found, a shark is almost sure to appear directly afterwards.
Part of my plan was not only to introduce all useful animals that I possibly could into this part of Australia, but also the most valuable plants of every description.
I remarked constantly, just at sunset, in these latitudes, that the eastern horizon was brilliantly illuminated with a kind of mock sunset. This in a short time disappeared, to be soon succeeded by another similar in character, but more faint.
To sleep after sunrise was impossible on account of the number of flies which kept buzzing about the face.
Spanish alone was understood or spoken here; our friend, the countryman, stuck to us most nobly, he understood us not a bit better than the rest but saw that we were in distress and would not desert us.
All the principal people in the town are concerned in the slave trade, and their chief wealth consists in the number of slaves they possess; therefore there is little chance of the trade being, for many years, totally abolished.
In front of us lay a smooth sandy beach, beyond which rose gradually a high wooded country, and behind us was the sea, studded with numerous islands of every variety of form.