Now and then, too, some huge detached groups of
rocks would be visible towering above the waves.
29th October. Saw no land. A few whales betrayed their presence by
the showers of spray they spouted up, and immense swarms of flying
fish were startled by the noise of our engines.
On the morning of the 30th of October we came in sight of the Indian
continent. We soon approached near enough to the shore to
distinguish that it was particularly remarkable for its beauty,
being flat and partly covered with yellow sand; in the back-ground
were chains of low hills.
At 1 o'clock, P.M., we anchored at a considerable distance (six
miles) from Madras. The anchoring place here is the most dangerous
in the world, the ground-swell being so strong that at no time can
large vessels approach near the town, and many weeks often pass
without even a boat being able to do so. Ships, consequently, only
stop a very short time, and there are rarely more than a dozen to be
seen riding at anchor. Large boats, rowed by ten or twelve men,
come alongside them to take the passengers, letters, and merchandise
The steamer stops here eight hours, which may be spent in viewing
the town, though any one so doing runs a chance of being left
behind, as the wind is constantly changing. I trusted to the good
luck which had always attended me during my travels, and made one of
the party that disembarked; but we had not got more than half way to
land when I was punished for my curiosity.