We now steer'd directly for it, and by 10 o'Clock were close in with the North side, where we saw Houses, Cocoa Nutt Trees, and a Flock of Cattle grazing; these were Temptations hardly to be withstood by people in our situation, especially such as were but in a very indifferent State of Health, and I may say mind too, for in some this last was worse than the other, since I refused to touch at the Island of Timor, whereupon I thought I could not do less than to try to procure some refreshments here, as there appeared to be plenty.* (* Cook's utter indifference as to what he eat or drank made him regard privations in the matter of food with an equanimity which was not shared by the rest of his companions.)
With this View we hoisted out the Pinnace, in which I sent Lieutenant Gore in shore to see if there were any Convenient place to land, sending some trifles along with him to give to the Natives in case he saw any. Mr. Gore landed in a small sandy cove near to some Houses, and was met on the beach by 8 or 10 of the people, who from both their behaviour and what they had about them shew'd that they had Commerce with Europeans; upon Mr. Gore's returning with this report, and likewise that there was No Anchorage for the Ship, I sent him away with both money and goods to try to purchase some refreshments, while we keept standing on and off with the Ship. At Noon we were about a Mile from the Shore of the Island, which extends from South-East to West-North-West, Latitude 10 degrees 27 minutes, Longitude 237 degrees 31 minutes West.
After a very short stay he returnd bringing word that he had seen Indians in all respects as colour, dress etc. much resembling the Malays; that they very civily invited him ashore and conversd with him by signs but neither party could understand the other; they were totaly unarmd except the knives which they wore in their girdles and had with them a Jackass, a sure sign that Europeans had been among them. In Plying off and on we had had no ground tho very near a Coral shoal which ran off from the Island, so had no hopes of anchorage here; it was therefore resolvd that we should go to the lee side of the Isle in hopes there to find a Bank; in the mean time however the boat with some truck should go ashore at the Cocoa nut grove in hopes to purchase some trifling refreshments for the sick in case we should be disapointed. It accordingly put off and Dr Solander went in it; before it reachd the shore we saw two new Horsemen, one of whoom had on a compleat European dress, Blue Coat, white waiscoat and lac'd hat: these as the Boat lay ashore seemd to take little notice of her but only Saunterd about looking much at the ship. Many more horse-men however and still more footmen gatherd round our people who were ashore, and we had the satisfaction of seeing several cocoa nuts brought into the boat, a sure sign that peace and plenty reignd ashore. After a stay of about an hour and a half the boat made a signal of having had intelligence of a harbour to Leeward and we in consequence bore away for it.
The boat following soon came on board and told us that the people had behavd in an uncommaly civil manner; that they had seen some of their principal people who were dressd in fine linnen and had chains of gold round their necks; that they had not been able to trade, the owner of the Cocoa nut trees not being there, but had got about 2 dozn of Cocoa nuts given as a present by these principal people, who accepted of Linnen in return and made them plainly understand by drawing a map upon the sand that on the Lee side of the Island was a bay in which we might anchor near a town and buy Sheep, hogs, fruits, fowls etc.; they talked much of the Portugese and of Larntuca on the Island of Ende, from which circumstance it was probable that the Portugese were somewhere on the Island tho none of the natives could speak more than a word or two of the Language, and the more so as one of the Indians in speaking of the Town made a sign of something we should see there which would shew us that we were right, by crossing his fingers, which a Portugese who was in the boat immediately interpreted into a cross, a supposition that appeard very probable; that just before they put off the man in a European dress Came towards them, but the officer in the boat not having his commission about him thoug[h]t proper to put off immediately without staying to speak to him or know what countrey man he was. We saild along shore and after having passd a point of Land found a bay shelterd from the trade wind in which we soon discoverd a large Indian town or village, on which we stood in hoisting a Jack on the foretopmast head. Soon after to our no small surprize Duch Colours were hoisted in the town and 3 guns fird. We however proceeded and just at dark got soundings and anchord about 1½ miles from the shore.
In the evening we saw a village, situate on the side of a hill, that had Dutch colours hoisted in it. The next morning some of us went on shore, and waited on the Raja, or king, who received us very graciously, and promised to supply us with every thing, if the Dutchman pleased: The Dutchman vouchsafed to consent, and made us a visit on board, in company with the Raja and his attendants: they dined with us; were very ceremonious, and left us, after having made specious professions of friendship. The next day some of our people returned the visit, and dined with them. After much shuffling on their part, we made shift to obtain a large number of fowls, eight bullocks, several goats, hogs, a great quantity of syrup, and a few fruits. They informed us that they had been without rain in the country for seven months, and that the herbage was almost burnt up.
This island, which is divided into five districts, is about thirty miles long; is called Savoo, and lies south of India. It contains near nine thousand inhabitants, and for these nine years past has been possessed by the Dutch, who have a resident here, and trade to India, Macassar, and Timor; and, from this island, furnish Concordia with provisions. It was formerly in the possession of the Portuguese, who left it about an hundred years since.