Friday, June 8, 2012

Day 2: Peter Puget Shaw's Cove to Pitt Passage

21 May 1792, Monday- Day 2: Shaw’s Cove through Carr Inlet to Pitt Passage

In spite of the early morning rain, they got underway between 0400-0500 hrs and headed west to explore this large inlet(Carr). The weather was miserable and the outgoing tide made rowing difficult. They took their morning breakfast at a small island, now called Cutts. They encountered numerous crows and killed several for breakfast, which they found them a very good source for food.** They, aptly, named it Crow Island. To this day, there is always an abundance of crows on this small, windswept island.
Crow Island- Cutts Island

After concluding the most western shore of Carr Inlet is a dead end, they continued to follow the continental shoreline until they saw Indians near a small village. They do not appear to want any contact with the explorers and pointed them to return from where they have journeyed.  Lt. Puget continued to make peace offerings by tying  small trinkets and looking glasses(mirrors) onto floating pieces of wood and waited for the Indians to retrieve them.  Finally, they were coaxed closer. They saw that several of the Indians had missing right eyes and their faces, bodies were heavily scarred. Inference was made that perhaps the scarring was from small pox. Mr. Menzies tried to communicate with them with words he had learned previously, but no one understood and the demeanor of these Indians were not friendly.

Eastward of this interaction Lt. Puget had the longboats pulled into a larger cove to make dinner. The thermometer read 90 ° and the oarsmen were hot and tired. At the rear of this cove, which was, perhaps, Von Geldern Cove, were 2 small fresh water streams. The men began to seine for salmon, which other Indians had taught them, and some were involved in making a fire. To the officers surprise, 20 Indians dressed in war outfits appeared from several different locales, with bows and arrows pulled and ready to shoot. The party members quickly gathered  their rifles, and in his journal the Lieutenant stated he is a loss as to what to do. His peaceful nature emerged and did not want to kill nor injure any of them, however if the Indians shot first he did not want any of his men injured or killed.  Lt Puget decided to fire the swivel gun from the boat to make a statement. None of the Indians showed fear or were startled and by now all the party had gathered with their rifles in hand. The Indians relinquished their attack and offered their weapons for sale and both parties traded for many items. They named this cove, Alarm Cove. These were the only hostile Indians that they would encounter in their exploration of the southern waters.

These Indians were stouter than others, had thick bushy beards and hairy bodies and legs, but no chest hair. In their morning encounter the men were naked but later wore full leather garments that hung from their shoulders to their knees. After eating their dinner of stewed crow and nettle tops, they made their way out of Carr Inlet  into a small passage. After about 30 minutes, the now, friendly Indians departed the white skinned men. 

The weather had abruptly changed with a deluge of rain which forced them to make early camp at 1500 hrs. on a sandy spit on the western shore of Pitt Passage and west of Pigeon Island, which they named. This is present McNeil island and home to the Washington State Penitentiary System. The rains continued and held them captive for the remainder of the day and night, but were never bothered by the stout, hostile tribe, again. 

Day’s run: 20nm
Total: 45nm
** See link for Cooking up your recently shot crow:

A bowl full of Crow Breasts
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