VOYAGES ROUND THE WORLD, AND POLAR EXPEDITIONS
(Fac-simile of early engraving.)
"Their figure," says Kruzenstern, "dress, appearance, and their language, prove that they are the same people, as those of Saghalien; and the captain of the Castricum, when he missed the Straits of La Pérouse, might imagine, as well in Aniwa as in Alkys, that he was but in one island.... The Ainos are rather below the middle stature, being at the most five feet two or four inches high, of a dark, nearly black complexion, with a thick bushy beard, black rough hair, hanging straight down; and excepting in the beard they have the appearance of the Kamtschadales, only that their countenance is much more regular. The women are sufficiently ugly; their colour, which is equally dark, their coal black hair combed over their faces, blue painted lips, and tattooed hands, added to no remarkable cleanliness in their clothing, do not give them any great pretensions to loveliness.... However, I must do them the justice to say, that they are modest in the highest degree, and in this point form the completest contrast with the women of Nukahiva and of Otaheite.... The characteristic quality of an Aino is goodness of heart, which is expressed in the strongest manner in his countenance; and so far as we were enabled to observe their actions, they fully answered this expression.... The dress of the Ainos consists chiefly of the skins of tame dogs and seals; but I have seen some in a very different attire, which resembled the Parkis of the Kamtschadales, and is, properly speaking a white shirt worn over their other clothes. In Aniwa Bay they were all clad in furs; their boots were made of seal-skins, and in these likewise the women were invariably clothed."
After passing through the Straits of La Pérouse, Kruzenstern cast anchor in Aniwa Bay, off the island of Saghalien. Here fish was then so plentiful, that two Japanese firms alone employed 400 Ainos to catch and dry it. It is never taken in nets, but buckets are used at ebb-tide.
After having surveyed Patience Gulf, which had only been partially examined by the Dutchman Vries, and at the bottom of which flows a stream now named the Neva, Kruzenstern broke off his examination of Saghalien to determine the position of the Kurile Islands, never yet accurately laid down; and on the 5th June, 1805 he returned to Petropaulovski, where he put on shore the ambassador and his suite.
In July, after crossing Nadiejeda Strait, between Matona and Rachona, two of the Kurile Islands, Kruzenstern surveyed the eastern coast of Saghalien, in the neighbourhood of Cape Patience, which presented a very picturesque appearance, with the hills clothed with grass and stunted trees and the shores with bushes. The scenery of the interior, however, was somewhat monotonous, with its unbroken line of lofty mountains.
The navigator skirted along the whole of this deserted and harbourless coast to Capes Maria and Elizabeth, between which is a deep bay, with a little village of thirty-seven houses nestling at the end, the only one the Russians had seen since they left Providence Bay. It was not inhabited by Ainos, but by Tartars, of which very decided proof was obtained a few days later.
Kruzenstern next entered the channel separating Saghalien from Tartary, but he was hardly six miles from the middle of the passage when his soundings gave six fathoms only. It was useless to hope to penetrate further. Orders were given to "'bout ship," whilst a boat was sent to trace the coast-line on either side, and to explore the middle of the strait until the soundings should give three fathoms only. A very strong current had to be contended with, rendering this row very difficult, and this current was rightly supposed to be due to the River Amoor, the mouth of which was not far distant.
The advice given to Kruzenstern by the Governor of Kamtchatka, not to approach the coast of Chinese Tartary, lest the jealous suspicions of the Celestial Government should be aroused, prevented the explorer from further prosecuting the work of surveying; and once more passing the Kurile group, the Nadiejeda returned to Petropaulovsky.
The Commander availed himself of his stay in this port to make some necessary repairs in his vessel, and to confirm the statements of Captain Clerke, who had succeeded Cook in the command of his last expedition, and those of Delisle de la Croyère, the French astronomer, who had been Behring's companion in 1741.
During this last sojourn at Petropaulovsky, Kruzenstern received an autograph letter from the Emperor of Russia, enclosing the order of St. Anne as a proof of his Majesty's satisfaction with the work done.
On the 4th October, 1805, the Nadiejeda set sail for Europe; exploring en route the latitudes in which, according to the maps of the day, were situated the islands of Rica-de-Plata, Guadalupas, Malabrigos, St. Sebastian de Lobos, and San Juan.
Kruzenstern next identified the Farellon Islands of Anson's map, now known as St. Alexander, St. Augustine, and Volcanos, and situated south of the Bonin-Sima group. Then crossing the Formosa Channel, he arrived at Macao on the 21st November.