"The ship left Spithead, England on 28 September 1824.
Following a call at Madeira, they reached Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on 27 November 1824.
After spending time both in Rio de Janeiro and St Catherine's, they left Brazil on 1 January 1825, bound for Valparaíso, Chile, which they reached on 4 February 1825.
They sailed north up the coast to reach Callao, Peru, on 16 March 1825, before sailing west to the Galapagos Islands, where they remained from 25 March to 3 April 1825.
The Blonde arrived in the Hawaiian Islands (then known as the Sandwich Islands) on 4 May 1825.
The party remained
in the Hawaiian Islands from 4 May to 18 July 1825.
They left planning to go to Tahiti, but actually landed first at Malden Island on 30 July 1825 and then at Mauke in the Cook Islands on 8 August 1825, before returning to Valparaíso, which they reached on 6 September 1825.
The voyage ended back in Spithead, England on 15 March 1826, after an absence of 532 days. [McCrae, 1922]"
- wikipedia: Andrew
of the Voyage
1. Byron, George Anson & Bloxam, Richard Rowland (1826), Graham, Maria, ed.:
Voyage of H. M. S. Blonde to the Sandwich islands, in the years 1824-1825.
John Murray, Albemable Street, London. 1826.
"This work is
frequently catalogued under some combination of Bloxam, Byron and Callcott.
Only Byron's name appears on the title page, although he does not appear to have contributed to the work in any way.
R.R. Bloxam is credited in the introduction.
Callcott's surname at the time was Graham."
The brief surfboard
description is a footnote to the surfriding activities of Liliah, the wife
of Boki, a member of the royal household returning to Hawaii, page 97.
Similarly, Dampier notes:
"May 3rd 1825 ... Her fame, as being the best swimmer, and one, who would go thro' a heavy surf, before any of her less daring Companions, is universally acknowledged."
- Dampier: Voyage of the Blonde (1971) page 30.
Note that in both
cases, her reputation preceeds the arrival of the Blonde in Hawaiian
Dampier and Bloxam both refer to Liliah as Madam Boki.
on several Hawaiian water sports - waterfall sliding, cliff jumping and
jurfriding (page 166).
There is a brief description of Hawaiian woodworking skills (pages 137-138) and of Polynesian (Cook Island) canoes and their skill in negotiating difficult surf conditions follows (pages 209-209).
Bryon met the noted missionaries of the period, Ellis and Bingham on his visit to Hawaii (page 148), and the Blonde transported Stewart between two islands.
See Source Documents:
1825 Lord Byron : Liliah and Floatboards.
With Lord Byron at the Sandwich Islands in 1825 : being extracts from the MS diary of James Macrae, Scottish botanist.
W.F. Wilson, Honolulu, Hawaii, 1922 (75 pages, illustrated)
The Petroglyph Press, Hilo, Hawaii, 1972. (87 pages, illustrated)
Internet Archive:With Lord Byron at the Sandwich Islands in 1825. (June 2011)
Macrae has only one brief reference to the aquatic sports of the Hawaiians.
Diary of Andrew Bloxam, Naturalist of The "Blonde" On Her Trip from England to the Hawaiian Islands 1824-25.
Bernice P. Bishop Museum Special Publication Volume 10.
Bernice P. Bishop Museum, Honolulu, 1925.
Bloxam comments on:
- Hawaiian canoes, pages 21.
- surfboards stored in royal household, page 26.
- Blonde officers adopt native bathing practises, page 34.
- land sled, page 42.
- surfboard riding at Waikiki, page 46.
- purchase of Hawaiian antiquities, page 47.
- canoes at Hilo, page 52.
- natives dive for lost guns, page 54.
- waterfall-sliding at Hilo, page 54.
- canoe construction in the Cook Islands, page 84.
See Source Documents:
1825 Andrew Bloxam : Sandwich Islands.
To the Sandwich Islands on H.M.S. Blonde
University Press of Hawaii for Friends of the Library of Hawaii, 1971.
- the aquatic skills of Madam Boki, page 30.
- Hawaiian canoes, pages 30 to 31.
- the demand for Hawaiian antiquities, and the production of counterfeits, page 44.
- the replacement of stone tools with the iron English adze, page 47.
- surfboard riding, page 51.
- canoe surfing, experienced by Dampier, page 51.
- Blonde officers adopt native bathing practises, page 57.
- waterfall-sliding and cliff jumping at Hilo, page 57.
- canoe construction in the Cook Islands, pages 74 to 76.
George Anson Byron
"Admiral George Anson Byron, 7th Baron Byron (8 March 1789 – 1 March 1868) was a British naval officer, and the seventh Baron Byron, in 1824 succeeding his cousin the poet George Gordon Byron in that peerage.
As a career naval officer, he was notable for being his predecessor's opposite in temperament and lifestyle.
He was the only son of George Anson Byron and Charlotte Henrietta Dallas, and grandson of the admiral and explorer The Hon. John Byron, who circumnavigated the world with George Anson in 1740-44."
- wikipedia: George
Byron, 7th Baron Byron (July 2009)
Ship's chaplin and elder brother of Andrew Bloxam.
(22 September 1801 – 2 February 1878)
"... an English clergyman and naturalist; in his later life he had a particular interest in botany.
He was the naturalist on board HMS Blonde (his brother Rowland Bloxam was the chaplain) during its voyage around South America and the Pacific in 1824–26, where he collected mainly birds.
Later as a Church of England minister he lived in Warwickshire and Leicestershire and made significant contributions to the study of the natural history of the area.
His special interest was in fungi and the genera Rubus and Rosa.
His botanical author abbreviation is 'A.Bloxam'.
- wikipedia: Andrew
Robert Dampier served as the artist and draftsman who joined the H.M.S. Blonde in Rio de Janeiro
On returning to England, Dampier, like fellow mariner Andrew Bloxam, became a clergyman.
- Wikipedia: Robert
Boki (before 1785–after December 1829)
He was a High Chief in the ancient Hawaiian tradition and served the Kingdom of Hawaii as royal governor of the island of Oahu.
Madam Boki- Liliha
Liliha: the wife of Boki, companion to Kamehamaru on his visit to England in 1820?
She was occassionally refered to as "Madame Boki".
Ellis (1831) page 457.
Additional Source Documents
1765 John Byron
: Tuamotus and the Gilbert Islands
Extracts from John Byron in Hawkesworth: Voyages in the Southern Hemisphere, (1773), Volume 1?
1911 Lord Byron
: Childe Harold.
Extract from The Mid-Pacific Magazine, Volume 2, Number 2, August,1911, frontpiece.
Byron, the Rt. Hon. Lord (1789-1868):
Voyage of the 'H.M.S. Blonde' to the Sandwich Islands in the Years 1825-26.
John Murray, Albemable Street, London. 1826.
May 3rd 1825
H.M.S. Blonde sights Hilo, Hawaii.
About this time,
we perceived three canoes busily employed in fishing.
As we speedily came up with them, they hauled in their lines, and being hailed by one of their Chiefs in their native tongue,- the foremost in which were three men, paddled towards the ship.
When they appeared alongside, Madame Boki, quite shocked at the ...
appearance of her almost naked countrymen, retired to her cabin.
This delicate Lady, a few months since, was Just as much disencumbered of her cloathes as the savages before her.
Her fame, as being the best swimmer, and one, who would go thro' a heavy surf, before any of her less daring Companions, is universally acknowledged.
assumption of Modesty was put on to suit our English ideas, and her present
The Master of
the Frigate, together with Mr. Malden the Surveyor, being dispatched in
two different Boats, to ascertain the exact sounding, and what depth of
water existed nearer the shore, the Ship lay to, about six miles from the
land until their return.
In the mean time, several canoes came paddling around us, in order that the Natives might gratify their curiosity, with the nearer view of a ship, the largest that had ever appeared on this coast.
Some of these
Canoes were beautifully constructed, and capable of carrying six or eight
They are long, and uncommonly narrow, barely allowing sufficient room for the body of a man to introduce itself between the sides.
The lower part of the Canoe is composed of a beautiful black wood, the extremities, which curve upwards some-thing like the prow of an ancient Galley, are entirely carved out of a fine yellow wood, and altogether finished with a neatness & attention ...
... to the rules
of architecture, truly surprising.
Each canoe has two large poles about half its length, their ends sloping downwards proceeding from the gunnel, in a horizontal direction; to these, is firmly lashed another pole, of the same dimensions, its extremities curved upwards, which is lashed, in a parallel direction with the canoe like the fishing boats of Ceylon.
This piece of simple machinery, prevents the canoe from upsetting, which disaster, considering how narrow they are, would but for this contrivance, be continually taking place.
Their Sail, which is a triangular Mat, is neatly rolled up upon this outrigger.
The royal furnerals to take place on 11th May 1825.
a very good wooden house, which had lately been brought from America, begged
Lord Byron to take possession of it during his stay at Woahoo: On the 18th
of May he became a resident there, and having invited myself, the Surgeon,
Chaplain & Naturalist, to live with him, we passed our time very agreeably.
We were amply provided with the greatest delicacies the island produced.
Boki took care our Cuisine should be always well furnished; Marini the old Spaniard was ordered to supply us with new milk, butter and fruit, such as Grapes, Melons, Bananas, &c., and having our own cook and servants on Shore, we fared sumptuously every day.
They begin now
to understand the value of money, and are no longer willing to barter for
beads or insignificant trinkets.
We constantly had plenty of traffickers about the house of the old Queen, bringing Idols, Shells, Stone axes, and other Curiosities, for which they invariably demanded a dollar.
several of us were eager to possess some of these ancient Idols they diligently
set to work, and soon fabricated a great number of grim looking deities.
To these they endeavoured to give as ancient a look as possible hoping thus cunningly to impose upon our credulity.
They evince great
ingenuity in various mechanical arts.
Their canoes are uncommonly well constructed.
Formerly a stone axe was the only instrument employed in chiselling them out.
They at present make use of the English adze which considerably facilitates the operation of hollowing their canoes.
They make very beautiful bowls from a fine hard wood of the Country.
The Cocoanut tree supplies them with excellent materials for forming good cords of every dimension; its fruit presents to them drinking cups, & musical instruments.
They are also
most expert swimmers, and pass a great part of their time in the water:
they have a favourite aquatic amusement, which is very entertaining to
A man having a large flat board, about a foot & one half broad, & eight or ten in length, places himself on its surface, at some little distance from the shore, & awaiting a good opportunity, (his care being always to select the largest wave) laying himself along the board & using his hands as paddles, he rides securely to the beach, being propelled forwards by a wave, immediately before which, his care is to direct his surf board.
In this manner by keeping the surf board end on, (as sailors say) they proceed thro' the water with astonishing celerity.
I have been in a canoe when the natives paddling her have performed the same feat: the wave rolled foaming close on our stern, the natives taking care to keep their flying canoe exactly in a line with their precipitate pursuer: this experiment in a heavy surf, must be a nervous undertaking.
From the 7th until
the 12th we were beating up against a strong trade wind to Hido, all uncomfortable,
& anxious to get rid.of our royal charge & suite.
After having been laying about a month at the dangerous & exposed harbour of Woahoo, above two miles from the shore, & the passage without attention rendering boats liable to be swamped, (we had one boat upset,) from the heavy surf constantly rolling in, it may be imagined how delighted we all were, upon arriving at a spot so very different in every respect.
Hido may most
appropriately be termed the Valparaiso of the Sandwich Islands.
The view from the ship, a panoramic drawing of which I have taken, is peculiarly striking.
On all sides the
most lively verdure prevails, luxuriant breadfruit trees flourish to the
water's edge; these are thickly intermingled with towering cocoanut trees;
amongst these are scattered the neat looking huts of the natives.
In the distance the gigantic forms of Mowna Kaah, & Mowna Roa [Mauna Loa], rear their towering crests to the clouds; the summits of the former are continually veiled in snow, & the eye, wandering from the sunny landscape below, enjoys a fine contrast when resting on the bleak & snow capt peaks of the neighbouring mountains.
here was particularly delightful, which was that of bathing in the fresh
water stream before our door.
I generally indulged myself in this refreshing exercise two or three times a day: the natives are constantly in the water, & it was at all times a curious and novel sight to see so many people of both sexes, constantly sporting about in this refreshing element, & exhibiting a variety of tricks.
They were very fond of walking with their hands along the bottom of the river, showing only their feet & legs above the surface of the water.
I have seen two or three dozen pairs of legs thus exhibited, making their way gradually across the stream.
They are particularly expert in swimming, and delight in throwing themselves into the water from very great heights.
About a mile &
a half from our hut, situated on the opposite side of the bay, was a most
beautiful waterfall, which, descending from a ledge of Lava rocks, emptied
its contents into the sea.
Nothing can be more romantically picturesque than the situation of this delightful spot: it proves a most excellent watering place for ships, whose boats are enabled to enter a small creek, & take in their water immediately below the falls.
The entrance is rather wide & easily approached.
On either side are high precipitate rocks whose brows are ornamented with cocoanut and breadfruit trees.
The sides of these rocks are covered with beautiful creepers of all descriptions, abundantly bearing flowers of every hue & dye, & large elegant spreading leaves almost conceal the rock itself from your view.
Having advanced about one hundred & fifty yards, you arrive at the first fall, beyond which the boats are unable to proceed.
A few yards higher up is a grander & more important fall, descending from a ledge of black lava rocks.
The scenery around
is strikingly beautiful.
In company with Lord Byron, I frequently of an afternoon took a paddle across the bay, in a small double canoe which was always at his command, in order to witness the aquatic sports of the natives, who were very fond of exhibiting their dexterity at this place.
I have seen several plunge in above the fall, & allow themselves to be transported down by the roaring torrent which tumbled them over a precipitate ledge of rugged lava rocks, into a foaming abyss below.
One would suppose when approaching this place, that they were incurring the risk of being dashed to pieces: the exercise however seems to afford them the greatest diversion.
Overwhelmed by the whirling eddies they for a few moments entirely disappear then soon rise at some distance from the first fall, & are ready to encounter the second which however is inconsiderable when compared with the first.
I have also seen some of the natives place themselves on the brow of a cliff, its height being about fifty feet, & with a running leap precipitate their persons into the fall below.
These feats, both men and women and even children are fond of practising, & appear pleased at the astonishment excited in us at witnessing such daring adventures.
H.M.S. Blonde leaves Honolulu on 12th July, returning to Hilo two days later.
H.M.S. Blonde leaves Hilo, 18th July 1825, intending to visit Otaheite (Tahiti).
Adverse winds prevent voyage to Tahiti, and the Blonde's next landfall is Malvern Island, named for the ship's surveyor.
was sighted on1st August 1825.
9th August 1825 [Watteoo, Aitu, Hervey Islands] (actually Mauti or Mauke in the Cook Islands)
Our wind still
proved adverse for Otaheite.
On the 9th to our great surprise, land was again seen from the mast head, which upon our nearer approach, we supposed to be Watteoo [Atiu, Hervey Islands], a small inhabited island mentioned in Cook's voyages, as existing near the spot.
We did not however feel at all assured in this opinion, as the latitude laid down by Cook, differed many miles from that of the island now before us.
In the afternoon,
we were within a few miles of the nearest point.
A heavy swell rolled towards the land, which caused a tremendous surf upon a chain of coral, which appeared to encircle the island: beyond this it seemed thickly wooded.
On the succeeding morning, we proceeded round a point, in order to get at the lee side, where we hoped to meet with some canoes.
breakfast, we perceived two or three canoes making towards us.
We consequently lay to at about six miles distance from the land.
One of the canoes
in which was a single man, soon came alongside, & with very little
persuasion, a rope having been handed to him, leapt on board.
The costume of our visitor & of those in the other canoes approaching, soon put to flight our hopes of being the first discoverers, as likewise our fears of having our persons converted into steaks for the feasts of cannibals.
Our friend had on a straw hat made precisely after the European form; he was clothed in a garment of Tapa, which however was differently worn from those at the Sandwich Islands.
Whilst questioning our visitor, who spoke a language very much resembling the Sandwich tongue, another canoe came along side.
of this canoe was quite novel to us.
Unlike those of the Sandwich isles, altho double, it was formed towards the stern into one canoe.
This stern, curiously carved, was carried up in an inward circular direction to about seven feet from the water.
In this manner I believe are formed all the Society Island canoes.
As these missionaries
repeatedly assured us that we might land in safety, Lord Byron determined
to go on shore: he kindly offered to give me a passage in his boat; he
also took one of the missionaries with him, in order that he might show
us the most convenient landing place.
The other followed with some of our officers in the cutter.
Upon approaching, the shore & being shewn the landing place, where were assembled a great number of natives, we began to be rather apprehensive for the safety of our boat, as a tremendous surf was then dashing upon the coral bank, upon which we were to effect our disembarkation.
After some consideration,
it was determined that we should remove into a large canoe which the natives
had launched for our convenience.
By seizing on the moment when the waves were precipitated with less violence on the beach, we were landed in perfect safety.
Boats attempting to land here, & the sailors unacquainted with the propitious moment would inevitably be dashed to pieces.
The Cutters crew followed our example.
The coral bank which is constantly over-flowed, stretches about fifty yards distant from the shore, we were therefore all carried on the backs of the islanders to a dry spot.
greeting now having taken place, we were led thro' a thick shady wood,
supposing shortly to arrive at the huts of some of the inhabitants.
At a large open space at the commencement of the wood, a very handsome canoe was building: it was chiseled out with very great care, & about 80 feet long, being thus rendered capable of visiting the neighbouring islands.
Its form was precisely that of the one I before mentioned.
We now all collected
our different purchases and prepared for our departure on board.
The surf had increased greatly since our landing, & our embarkation appeared fraught with danger: any mismanagement on the part of our native conductors would have exposed us to the greatest risk.
Fortunately we got off to our boats in perfect safety, & having arrived on board about six o'clock made sail, & bade adieu to the hospitable regions of Mauti which we now denominated Parry's island.
Our wind continued contrary until the 1st of September, when it suddenly became fair for the coast; we therefore gave up all hopes of seeing Otaheite, & forthwith made the best of our way for Valparaiso.
Footnotes (by Pauline King Joerger)
Page 73. STARBUCKS ISLAND:
Dampier describes the confusion experienced over the islands observed.
Byron thought that the first island seen was Starbuck and, later, that Watteoo or Atiu in the Herveys was visited.
Actually the Blonde stopped first at an island that proved to be a new discovery and was then named Malden by Byron.
The ship then sailed by an island that proved to be Starbuck.
Finally, she stopped at Mauti or Mauke in the Cook Islands (not Atiu in the Herveys) and then turned east to the coast of South America.
William T. Brigham, An Index to the Islands of the Pacific Ocean (Honolulu, 1900), pp. 47) 129, 149;
Bloxam, Diary, pp. 79-91;
Byron, Voyage of HMS Blonde, pp. 204-208;
Macrae, At the Sandwich Islands, pp. 74-75.
Edited by Pauline King Joerger.
University Press of Hawaii, Honolulu, 1971.