tyerman and bennett : tahitian swimming, 1829.
The wind having been very light, and some-what variable, our progress has not been rapid, but quite pleasant to the feelings of those of us who have been accustomed to the motion of a ship.
This day one of our finest store hogs fell overboard, not having yet got his " sea legs,"
We presume — a happy phrase to express the oscillating gait of persons accustomed to walk on deck with a motion corresponding to the swing of the vessel.
While the sailors were lowering a boat to recover the unfortunate animal, two of our Tahitian attendants leaped after it, and brought it close under the ship's side, where they fastened a rope round its body, by which it was presently hauled upon deck.
The dexterity of these people in the water is surprising.
Men, women, and children, can all swim and dive; indeed, in- fants are so early taught these necessary accomplishments of a half-amphibious life that they sometimes excel in the? before they can walk.
On a certain occasion, as our missionary friends at Huahine, with their children, were crossing the upper part of the bay at Fare, their canoe was suddenly upset, when they and several helpless infants were plunged at once into deep water.
The queen, a woman of vast bulk, being near at hand, and perceiving their danger, immediately threw herself into the lagoon, swam to their assistance, and with her own hands saved the life of one of the party from destruction.
A female servant followed the children, caught them in her arms, and swam to shore^with her rescued treasures, which she delivered safely intone hands of their overjoyed parents, themselves just snatched from death by their wonted intrepidity, habituaJ presence of mind, and fearlessness of peril, in situations where the fear itself probably constitutes the chief part of the danger.
(Off Owhyhee -
[Hawaii, according to the improved orthography])
One of our Tahitian women being asked, while we were thus coasting, whether she could swim on shore, replied, " O yes ; why not? —very easily !" — tthough we were at least five miles from the land. .
Journal Of Voyages And Travels
By The Rev. Daniel Tyerman And George Bennett, Esq
Deputed From The London Missionary Society
To Visit Their Various Stations In The South Sea Islands,
China, India, &c., Between The Years 1821 And 1829.
Compiled From Original Documents By James Montgomery.
: Frederick Westley And A.H.Davis, London, 1831.