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dana : before the mast, 1840 
R. H. Dana : Two years Before the Mast, 1840. 

Dana, Richard Henry:
Two Years Before the Mast - A Personal ...

Harper and Brothers, New York, 1840
Dana, Richard Henry:
Two Years Before the Mast
Thomas Nelson and Sons, London, 1947.

Dana's account of the skills a visiting crew of Sandwich-Hawaiian islanders (Kanakas) landing a longboat in the surf at Santa Barbara is highly informative.
This is followed by a report of the Hawaiians unusual, and highly dangerous, fishing methods in attempting to catch a shark.
By the mid-17th century, the Polynesian technique of wave-riding was familiar to European mariners; landing in a whaleboat on Norfolk Island in 1838, Ensign Best experienced as dramatic shoot in Island term ... the coxwain, a daring seaman, waited for a heavy sea to give me a specimen of what a good run was.

An early account  written by a crew member
of a sailing ship, Richard Dana voyaged from Boston to the West Coast in 1835-1836 providing a rare insight into life in California before the1849 gold rush.
Although he did not visit the Hawaiian islands, a ten-page section (Chapter XVIII) describing his time in San Diego relates an encounter with a considerable group of native Hawaiian expatriates, whom he discusses sympathetically. (Forbes)
Its publication pre-dates, and is said to have influenced, Melville's Moby Dick (1851).

The Hawaiian longboat crew were from
the Ayacucho, a sleek 250-foot, 300 ton brig built in Ecuador.
Highly admired
(my favorite) by Richard Dana, she was considered one of the fastest vessels plying the Pacific.
from 1830, under several British masters, between South America, the Hawaiian Islands, California and Canton, she sank in Drake's Bay, California, in October, 1841.
Said to be carrying a cargo of silks, brandy and other manufactured items, the Ayacucho's renowned speed would have been highly prized after
1834 with the end of the East India Company's monopoly of China, tempting many independent speculators and seamen into the lucrative opium trade.

Hunt: The India-China Opium Trade in the Nineteenth Century

McFarland & Company, Inc., Jefferson, North Carolina, and London, 1999, pages 81-82.

Point Reyes National Seashore, California.

Appendix N. Record of Ships Arriving at California Ports From 1774 TO 1847:
1830 Joseph Snook, master.
1832 John Wilson, master; the fastest vessel on the coast up to the time she was beaten by the Volunteer, in 1833.
1833 Stephen Anderson, master
1835 James Scott, master
1837 John Wilson, master, James Scott, supercargo.

California's Dana Point was named after Richard Dana, once a famous surf break it was eradicated in the early 1960s, see Killer Dana.
Dana Point was the home of
Hobie's first retail shop (1954), Severson's Surfer Magazine (1960), and where Bruce Brown produced Endless Summer.

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Two points ran out as the horns of the crescent, one of which - the one to the westward - was low and sandy, and is that to which vessels are obliged to give a wide berth when running out for a south-easter; the other is high, bold, and well wooded, and, we were told, has a mission upon it, called St. Buenaventura, from which the point is named.
In the middle of this crescent, directly opposite the anchoring ground, lie the mission and town of Santa Barbara, on a low, flat plain, but little above the level of sea, covered with grass, though entirely without trees, and surrounded on three sides by an amphitheatre of mountains, which slant off to the distance of fifteen or twenty miles.

Just before sundown the mate ordered a boat's crew ashore, and I went as one of the number.
We passed under the stern of the English brig, and had a long pull ashore.
I shall never forget the impression which our first landing on the beach of California made upon me.
The sun had just gone down; it was getting dusky; the damp night-wind was beginning to blow, and the heavy swell of the Pacific was setting in, and breaking in loud and high "combers" upon the beach.
We lay on our oars in the swell, just outside of the surf, waiting for a good chance to run in, when a boat, which had put off from the Ayacucho just after us, came alongside of us, with a crew of dusky Sandwich Islanders, talking and hallooing in their outlandish tongue.
They knew that we were novices in this kind of boating and waited to see us go in.
The second mate, however, who steered our boat, determined to have the advantage of their

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experience, and would not go in first.

Finding at length how matters stood, they gave a shout, and taking advantage of a great comber which came swelling in, rearing its head, and lifting up the stern of our boat nearly perpendicular, and again dropping it in the trough, they gave three or four long and strong pulls, and went in on top of the great wave, throwing their oars overboard and as far from the boat as they could throw them, and jumping out the instant that the boat touched the beach, and then seizing hold of her, and running her up high and dry upon the sand.
We saw at once how it was to be done, and also the necessity of keeping the boat stern on to the sea; for the instant the sea should strike upon her broadside or quarter she would be driven up broadside on and capsized.
We pulled strongly in, and as soon as we felt that the sea had got hold of us, and was carrying us in with the speed of a racehorse, we threw the oars as far from the boat as we could, and took hold of the gunwale, ready to spring out and seize her when she struck, the officer using his utmost strength to keep her stern on.
We were shot up upon the beach like an arrow from a bow, and seizing the boat, ran her up high and dry, and soon picked up our oars, and stood by her, ready for the captain to come down.

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On one of these expeditions we saw a battle between two Sandwich Islanders and a shark.
"Johnny" had been playing about our boat for some time, driving away the fish, and showing his teeth at our bait, when we missed him, and in a few moments heard a great shouting between two Kanakas who were fishing on the rock opposite to us, and saw them pulling away on a stout line, and "Johnny Shark" floundering at the other end.
The line soon broke; but the Kanakas would not let him off so easily, and sprang directly into the water after him.
Now came the tug of war.
Before he could get into deep water one of them seized him by the tail, and ran up with him upon the beach; but Johnny twisted round, turning his head under his body, and showing his teeth in the vicinity of the Kanaka's hand, made him let go and spring out of the way.
The shark now turned tail and made the best of his way, by flapping and floundering, towards deep water; but here again, before he

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was fairly off, the other Kanaka seized him by the tail, and made a spring towards the beach, his companion at the same time paying away upon him with stones and a large stick.
As soon, however, as the shark could turn he was obliged to let go his hold; but the instant he made toward deep water they were both behind him, watching their chance to seize him.
In this way the battle went on for some time, the, shark, in a rage, splashing and twisting about, and the Kanakas, in high excitement, yelling at the top of their voices; but the shark at last got off, carrying away a hook and line, and not a few severe bruises,

Dana, Richard Henry: 
Two Years Before the Mast
Thomas Nelson and Sons, London, 1947.
First published in 1840 as
Two Years Before the Mast - A Personal ...
Harper and Brothers, New York, 1840

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Geoff Cater (2009-2019) : R.H. Dana : Two Years Before the Mast, 1840.