CHAPTER IIIDEPARTURE FROM THE AMHERST ISLES – SULPHUR ISLANDS – LOO-CHOO.
bout noon on the 10th of September, 1816, we sailed from the Amherst Isles, as CaptainMaxwell named this archipelago, in honour of the ambassador to China, and having a freshbreeze, we made rapid progress to the Southward. In the evening, we could barelydistinguish the island of Quelpaert, of which there has been published an interesting account,containing the adventures of some shipwrecked Dutch seamen who were detained there for manyyears. At night the wind blew hard from the North, accompanied by a mountainous swell.
Shortly after daybreak on the morning of the 12th of September, we came in sight of Sulphur Island, a high solitary rock in the Japan Sea, with what Humboldt calls an unextinct volcano on its North-western side. It had been our intention to land, but the surf broke with somuch violence on every part of the shore, that this became impracticable. On sailing round, wediscovered the crater, which emitted a white smoke strongly charged with the fumes of sulphur.The cliffs in that neighbourhood were of a pale yellow colour streaked with brown, and the rockseverywhere rugged and barren. The southern end of the Island, which rose to a considerableheight, was of a deep red color, with an occasional spot of green. The strata, seemingly of tuffawhich lay in a direction almost horizontal, were intersected at one place by a large dike of lava,which projected many fathom from the face of the cliff like a wall, and formed a very conspicuousobject.As the weather looked threatening, me relinquished all idea bf examining this volcano, andstood to the Southward till four o'clock, at which how high land in the South-west was reported tohe in sight from the mast-head. But there was not sufficient daylight for us to venture nearer, andwe stood off to the North-westward for the evening.At daylight on the 14th of September, although the weather was still unsettled, we becameanxious to close with the land, and bore up in the direction of the Great Loo-Choo Island. At eight o'clock the Sugar-Loaf mountain described by Captain Broughton came in sight, rising at thesouth end of a small green island, into a high and remarkable cone. We left this curious peak tothe Eastward of us, and continued steering to the Southward, hoping to find some shelter underthe lee of the large u h d before night, or at all events to reach smooth water, and perhaps goodanchorage, till the weather should become more moderate.Whilst we were sailing along on this course at a quick rate, breakers were suddenlydiscovered close a-head of us, which the haziness of the weather, and the agitation of the waveson all sides, had prevented our discovering before. The brig was instantly hauled to the wind, andall possible sail made to weather the reef. The situation of things was now a very critical one, forthe swell tamed by the recent northerly gale materially impeded the vessel's way; and we had the
Captain Basil Hall's account of the 1816 Voyage to Loo ChooPage 3