Now memorable for having afforded refuge to the mutineers of H. M. S. Bounty, was discovered by Cartaret. It is about one mile and a half long, and four and a half in circumference. The true latitude and longitude, incorrectly ]aid down in many charts, is 25° 0′ 4″ south, and 130° 0′ 8″ west. It rises abruptly from the sea, and is iron bound. It was taken possession of, November 29th, 1838, by Captain Elliott of H. M. S. Fly for the crown of Great Britain.
On nearing the island, vessels should make the north-east end, St. Paul’s Point, off which run a few large rocks, all above water; the largest of these is a square basaltic islet, and inshore of these several high pointed rocks, which the pious islanders have named after the most zealous of the apostles, about fifty feet above the water, with room for a boat to go between them and the mainland. About a quarter of a mile to the westward, is a small boat harbour, the only landing-place which a stranger would find without the assistance of an islander, the surf appearing to break heavily all round the northern end of the island. The Bounty’s crew pulled twice round the island, before they hit upon it.
There is very good anchorage, when there is any easting in the wind, for vessels of any size, to the westward of the island, about a quarter of a mile to the southward of the north-west end of the island, off which lie a few large rocks above water, similar to those off the north-east end, the depth of water being from eight to twenty-five fathoms from a quarter to three quarters of a mile off shore. There are neither shoals nor sunken rocks off the island, over a quarter of a mile off shore. For the last fifteen years the regular trade-winds have ceased to blow; but, seven months out of the twelve, the winds are from south-east to east (from September to March inclusive). In the bight of the first little bay, after rounding the north-east end of the island, and about a quarter of a mile to the westward of the same, you will observe a small clump of cocoa-nut trees (six in number), very near the water’s edge, on the right hand, and one single cocoa-nut tree on the left, about two hundred yards from the six trees on your right, with a large grove of cocoa-nut trees above on the hill, a little to the westward.
When near the shore, three boat-houses may be observed, containing as many whale boats and several canoes. The landing-place is just below the boat-houses and between the clump of one and six cocoa-nut trees—a shingly beach, only of sufficient breadth to allow of two boats abreast to land at one time. Care must be taken to observe the rollers, which are very irregular in coming in, and the channel in is winding between the rocks. These rocks are only a few yards from the shore, and the distance between them very narrow. When a stranger comes in, a native generally takes his station upon a rock on shore, and waves his hat, to indicate a favourable opportunity for pushing ahead; but strange boats seldom come on shore before some of the natives go on board them. A stranger, in a square-sterned boat, might meet with an accident; but, at the worst, a sound ducking would be the only consequence. To any person acquainted with the locality, I consider the landing as perfectly safe. Having set foot on shore, you ascend a steep hill, almost a cliff for about three hundred yards, to a table land, planted with cocoa-nut trees, which is called the Market-place; about a quarter of a mile beyond which, at the north end of the island, lies the settlement, flanked by a grove of cocoa-nut trees, kumera and plantains, &c., &c., which makes the approach very picturesque.