Beneath This Raft Of Vegetation Was Extremely Deep Water,
And The Shore For A Width Of About Half A Mile Was Entirely Protected By
This Extraordinary Formation.
One day a tremendous gale of wind and
heavy sea broke off large portions, and the wind acting upon the rushes
like sails, carried floating islands of some acres about the lake to be
deposited wherever they might chance to hitch.
On the thirteenth day we found ourselves at the end of our lake voyage.
The lake at this point was between fifteen and twenty miles across, and
the appearance of the country to the north was that of a delta. The
shores upon either side were choked with vast banks of reeds, and as the
canoe skirted the edge of that upon the east coast, we could find no
bottom with a bamboo of twenty-five feet in length, although the
floating mass appeared like terra forma. We were in a perfect wilderness
of vegetation: On the west were mountains of about 4,000 feet above the
lake level, a continuation of the chain that formed the western shore
from the south: these mountains decreased in height towards the north,
in which direction the lake terminated in a broad valley of reeds.
We were told that we had arrived at Magungo, and that this was the spot
where the boats invariably crossed from Malegga on the western shore to
Kamrasi's country. The boatmen proposed that we should land upon the
floating vegetation, as that would be a short cut to the village or town
of Magungo; but as the swell of the water against the abrupt raft of
reeds threatened to swamp the canoe, I preferred coasting until we
should discover a good landing place.
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