dawson : gilbert islands, 1886.
"... just at dark,"
he says, it being difficult to distinguish people on the shore, we found
ourselves off a narrow break in the cocoanut and pandanus trees.
This was the so-called boat channel, a fearful place, with billows dashing their foam against the rocks.
I trembled to enter, and would not venture myself at the helm, lest I should not understand the rapid commands of the pilot, but put my old teacher at that post, and took his oar.
For a moment we paused, as the billows began to lift their crests before breaking.
Two large ones passed, and we sprang to our oars.
In the darkness, our pilot had "headed in" a little too soon, and in order to enter a gap between the rocks, not forty feet wide, was obliged to slant our course a little, a most perilous feat !
For an instant death seemed staring me in the face.
Swimmer that I was, should we swamp, the chances for my escape were exceedingly small, as I was not accustomed to surf-swimming.
But the blessed Master was with us.
A small wave took us upon its crest, and we were hurried through this narrow vortex in a moment's time.
The Isles of the Sea:
Being an Entertaining Narrative of a Voyage to the Pacific and Indian Oceans,
and Embracing Full and Authent Accounts of the Islands of Polynesia, Mirconesia, and Melanesia.
Betts & Company, Hartford, Connecticut, 1886.