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The Diary of James Brogden, August 1871 – December 1872

19 February 1872

19 February 1872

But in this we were disappointed. It was blowing hard. We had seen a rainbow across spanning the lake the evening before and rain came on – it was a beautiful tho’ disappointing sight. We seemed not to care for rain today – but to make the most of our way and to save the horses from being starved to our possible loss, we consulted “Aparo”, who got out the large canoe and manned it with 10 or 12 men; - and thus we started amidst great excitement, some saying it was not right and was very dangerous, but the chief dodged to the opposite shore going in the trough of the wave. If we had gone “end on”, as at first I thought best, we should have shipped parts of each wave. Two men baled out the water, and after several spurts we got under the lee of a point and rested, for every one felt that the tug of war was now commencing in earnest. We soon started, the paddles dip rapidly, the Chief , as steersman with his paddle, cries aloud to his men, the 2 bowmen keep up the excitement, but wave after wave comes in, and it seems hopeless to proceed against such odds. So we drive on shore in a little bay to wait for better weather, but in this we are disappointed. We find peaches in rich luxuriance and Horaco Nuts in great abundance. – The men landed from the boat, and prepared for a meal. They scraped out a hole on the sand, and gathering some sticks and lighting them put them in the hole which they covered with stones. When the timber was burned out, they removed the remainder, leaving page 67 the stones to fall to the bottom, – the potatoes were then placed on the stones, and covered first with fern and then with earth, water being poured on the whole. In about 20 minutes the potatoes came out clean and well boiled. As soon as they were uncovered we had such a feast on potatoes and salt! After this a Korero was held. One man began to dance on the sand, and apparently to sing. We laughed and thought it a very jolly proceeding on his part; but soon found that he was earnestly protesting against the our further attempts to proceed as being so dangerous; - so after a while we were glad to dodge back across the lake. We rigged up our tent as a sail and flew before the wind. All the Hapu awaited us on our return, when repaired to our Chief’s Whare once more to spend our time as best we could. We had more Songs and Huchas, and tobacco concluded the evening. Meantime our stores were vanishing, and our poor horses were on starvation fare.