Journals

Second Journey (MS 107/1/1-2)

26th December 1777


transcription

[26th December 1777]
26

mooy weer, n:o: koele wind, geen dauw gevallen. met de schemering desen morgen, sprong de hond schielyk met groot getier op wy opspringende viel een der geweren die naast ons stond en hannes de beer op syn oog en kwetste hem sterk, konden niets ontwaren, dog langs de rivier, daar wy een honderd passen aflagen, (en so als altoos in de vlakte om niet overvallen te worden) gaande, zagen wy veel rivierkoei spoor, gisten dat het een dier dieren was. geweest. het water in dese rivier was nog troebel, so dat de rivier door regens moet geswollen syn, nogtans op ver na niet vol, het water is sedert wy hier zyn omtrent drie voet gevallen, en vald nog, door het donderweer en ander climaat is hier de regentyd als aan de Caap de droogte is, en dus over sneeuwberg camdebo etc. in de droge tyd moet men dese rivier over dese riffen, die verscheiden zyn byna droogsvoets kunnen passeeren en dus moet men deselve afvarende in die tyden, iets maken om

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om de schuit met slepen niet te beschadigen. dese rivier [two lines crossed out]

de barometer gaf by het water 25d 6.t
vond verscheide stenen in de rivier die na Jaspis en agaat sweemden, moest ze van de grond al duikende uit het water rapen, als de rivier laag is, zal men fraaje stenen kunnen krygen. terwyl ik besig was met swemmen en stenen te rapen, sag myn hottentot by de andere oever een rivier koey (hippopotamus) sodat wy schielyk retireerden hier op dese plaats er nog geen gesien hebbende denk ik dat hy ons kwam opsoeken, zagen er enigen in de rivier staan met de rug er uit, dog hun kop iets lager dan de rug hangende hing die onder water, maar van tyd tot tyd beurde hy hem er uit en met de rug omtrent gelyk, kykende overal heen.

hier niet meer optenemen zynde en de rivier niet kunnende passeeren, dus vertrok na den middag te rug, so als te paard klommen, quam er een roofvogel hier witte kraay geheten, over ons vliegen, wierd versogt om er na te schieten, en hem juist met de kogel de kop stuk schietende, hieten sy dese plaats de fraaye schoot. trokken z:t:o: aan en arriveerden met zons ondergang aan rietbokke fontein. dog de wagen kwam veel later sodat wy met schieten en enig riet branden moesten zeinen. zeer schoon weer de wind door den dag noord dog tegen avond door het westen fors z:o:, weerligt van het noorden na het o:z:o: met den donker zagen niet als enige weinige spring bokken.

translation

[26th December 1777]
26

Fine weather, a cool north-east wind. No dew has fallen. In the darkness of early morning the dog suddenly jumped up with a loud clamour. When we jumped up one of the guns that stood next to us fell on Hannes de Beer's eye, wounding him badly. Saw and heard nothing but walked along the river (keeping about a hundred paces apart as we always do on the plains so as not to be taken by surprise) we saw the footprints of many river-cows and guessed that it had been one of these animals. The water in the river was still muddy so that the river must be swollen by rains. Nevertheless it is by no means full. Since we have been here the water has fallen by about three foot and is still falling.
Because of the thundery weather and different climate, the rainy season here is the dry season at the Cape, and thus also beyond the Sneeuberg range and the Camdbo etc. In the dry season one should be able to cross this river almost dry-shod, using these reefs of which there are several. And if one should sail on in this season at this time one would thus have to construct something

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in order not to damage the boat when dragging it. The river [two lines crossed out]

The barometer showed 25 inches 6 tenths at the water. Found several stones in the river which resembled jasper and agate. One has to collect them from the ground under the water by diving. When the river is low it will be possible to obtain beautiful stones. While I was busy swimming and gathering stones, my Hottentot saw a river-cow (hippopotamus) on the other bank, so that we speedily retired. As we have not seen any at this place, I supposed that it had come to look for us. We saw some of them standing in the river with their backs out of the water but because their heads hung somewhat lower than their backs these hung down under the water. However they lifted them up from time to time and with their heads about level with their backs, looked everywhere about them.

Because there was nothing more to examine here and because we were unable to cross the river, we left after midday on our return. As I was mounting my horse a bird of prey, called a white crow here, came flying above us and. I was asked to shoot it, and my ball hitting it right on the head and smashing it, they called this place De Fraaye Schoot (the Fine Shot). We travelled on south by east and arrived at Rietbokfontein at sunset, though the wagon came much later and we had to signal by shooting and burning some reeds. Very beautiful weather, wind from the north during day but moving to the west in the evening, to a strong south-easter. At nightfall lightning from the north across to the east south-east We saw nothing but a few springbok.