be said to slope to the north-west. — Captain Chas. J. Bullock, B.N.
Digitized by VjOOQIC
268 FOEMOSA AND ADJACENT ISLANDS AND STBAITS. [chap. v.
into needle-ehaped pinnacles, which are apparently ready for disintegration
by the first disturbing cause, either gales of wind or earthquake. On the
summits of some of the flat rocks long grass was found, but no shrubs or
trees. The rocks were everywhere whitened by the dung of marine birds.
This group is of triangular form extending 6 miles eastward of Hoa-pin
8u, and within this space are several reefs ; and although a safe channel
exists between Hoa-pin su and the Pinnacle islands, it ought not (on account
of the strength of the tides destroying the steerage), to be attempted by
sailing vessels if it can be avoided. This is also very deceitful, and the
slightest deviation of the course, which would change the current from
the weather to the lee bow, would also most materially change the rate of
sailing, particularly under the variables which prevail here ; and from the
reliance on what would be deemed a commanding breeze, the vessel would
elseif (getClientWidth() > 430)
suddenly be found unmanageable.
These islands lie in the Japan stream, which in the S.W. monsoon flows
steadily to the north-east at from 1 to I^ knots per hour, and in the N.E.
monsoon, at about the same rate, bat in a direction generally more to the
eastward, and sometimes even south-eastward.
Tl^A-vsv (or more probably Tiaou su), N.E. northerly, 15 miles from
Hoa-pin su, appears to be composed of huge boulders of a greenish porphy-
ritic stone. It is about 1^ or 2 miles in extent, and of irregular outline,
bordered for the most part by a low dark cliff, with rocks off its points.
The summit is a round hill about 600 feet high, with a lower hill of similar
shape on its north-east side, which both show very prominently when the
island is first made from the eastward. The island is covered with low
brushwood dotted with stunted trees, which have much increased since the
time of Captain Belcher's visit.
itA&BzaB ROCK, in lat. 25'' 35', long. 124° 35' E., and 50 miles E. | S.,
from Ti-a-usu, is a narrow, elongated mass of bare rock, rising abruptly
from a reef to the height of 270 feet, and perpendicular on all sides. Its
length is two cables, and its breadth, exclusive of the reef, half a cable.
Its summit slopes, not quite evenly, from its eastern and highest part
towards the west, with a small conical rise at the centre. Reefs stretch off its
west, east, and north sides, the first extending 2 cables under water, and on
the north reef stands a pinnacle rock, 100 feet in height. In clear weather
Raleigh rock is visible 20 miles, and, when seen fronf east or west, makes
like a square mass of rock rounded off at the top, with a detached pinnacle
rock close to its north side. In the distance, on these bearings, it appears
like a junk under sail.*
* The Raleigh rock has had no less than six positions assigned to it, ranging 18 miles
in latitude and 42 miles in longitude. All these positions were examined in H.M.S.
Serpent in 1866. This rock and Recruit island, reported in 1861, are identical.
Digitized by VjOOQI^
CHAP, v.] BALEIGH BOCK — MEIACO SIMA GROUP. 259
soinrBn-te. — The bank of soundings appears to terminate a little east-
ward of Ealeigb rock, for at 12 miles N.E. by E. of it no bottom was
obtained with 150 fathoms of line. In the vicinity of the islands, the
depths were found very irregular, varying from 60 to 90 fathoms, over a
bottom of grey sand, or rock, or stones, so that it would not be possible to
determine a ship's position in thick weather by means of soundings, beyond
the £Eict of her being on the bank.
MEIACO SIMA GROUP.
The several groups which bear this name,* form the westernmost portion
of the long chain of islands which extends in an easterly and north-
easterly direction from Formosa to the southern extremity of Kiusiu, Japan. .
They lie between the parallels of 24° O' and 25° 6' N., and the meridians
of 122° 55' and 125° 30' E., and consist of two principal groups, Tai-pin san
and Pa-chung san, and the solitary island of Kumi, extending in all nearly
150 miles. The Tai-pin san or eastern group possesses neither port nor
anchorage, is surrounded with dangerous coral reefs, and ought to be care-
fully avoided. The western group consists of two large mountainous
islands, Pa-chung san and Ku-kien san, and eight small ones, three of
which only are elevated, the remainder being flat like the coral islands of
the Pacific, and similarly belted with reefs. All the islands on the south
side of this group are connected under water by coral, and what passages
there exist between them are unexplored and unsafe, being studded with
numerous patches and knolls ; to approach the group from the south would
be dangerous in the extreme, and the only accessible port there known is
Broughton bay, at the south-east port of Pa-chung san. The northern
coasts are bolder, and on that side there is a broad and safe approach,
between the two lai'ge islands, to port Haddington on the west side of Pa-
chung Ban, where a distressed vessel may procure supplies of wood, water,
and provisions. The Meiaco simas also include the isolated island of Kumi
40 miles to the westward.-f The whole group is clothed with vegetation,
the soil is good, and horses and cattle ai^e in abundance ; the people how-
ever are not enterprising, and are subject' to the chief of the Lu-chu group.
* See Admiralty chart of the Meiaco sinia group, No. 2,105 ; scale m = 0*6 of an
inch. Sometimes written Majico sima, the pronunciation of which (the j being silent)
is almost the same. The description of this group is from the surveys and writings of
Captain Sir E. Belcher, R.N., H.M.S. Samarang,
' For winds and weather, see page 6.
f Beefs, reported to have heen seen lying westward of Kumi, are described on page
Digitized by VjOOQIC
260 FORMOSA AND ADJACENT ISLANDS AND STRAITS, [chap, t-
i,* conspicuous by the peculiar sharpness of its single peak,
770 feet high, and table base, is 60 miles E. by S. of Sau-o bay, Formosa,
The island is 6 miles long, east and west, and its peak is at the south-
eastern part ; it is composed of coralline limestone, all its ranges are
capped with trees and brushwood, but excepting the pine fir, which con-
tains a great portion of resin, none attain any size. There are four
Tillages on the island, one on the west, and two on the north side, one of
which is inland, in a basin-shaped valley. The principal town and port
is on the north side, in which were several junks of about 50 tons riding
at anchor ; but the entrance from the sea is so narrow and shallow, that
ingress and egress can only be effected at spring tides, and with veiy
smooth water. The position of the northern beach ix) the west of the
town is 24° 26' N., and 122° 5& E.
No convenient anchorage could be found, bnt during the interval em-
ployed in the examination in H.M.S. Samarang^ a bank of soundings was
discovered to the northward of the town, affording tolerable anchorage in
fine weather, in 17 fathoms, sapdy bottom, apparently over coral, at 3 cables
from the shore.
OWUmUmOKt and SJHTBT S8&AV3>B are the sonth-western outliers of
the western group of the Meiaco simas. Chung-chi, 33 miles S.E.by E. f E.
from Kumi peak is a high uninhabited mass of basaltic rock. Sandy or
Hasyokan island, 13 miles S.E. by E. from Chung-chi, is 3 miles in
extent, east and west, with a few trees and huts on it, and stands on a coral
reef, which extends a mile from its south-west point. There is no safe
passage between the two islands ; between Chung-chi and Ku-kien san
several coral patches have been observed, and Sandy island is stated to be
connected with Loney island, 16 miles north-eastward, by numerous reefs
xv-XlBXr BAX and its BiLRBOnis. — Ku-kien san is 16 miles in ex-
tent, and rises at its highest part to an elevation of about 2,000 feet, its
shores affording several commodious harbours, which, with good charts,
are safe of approach. These were either examined or surveyed by Sir
Edward Belcher and though from the nature of the locality they abound
in coral reefs, some of which may have escaped observation, yet with care
they are accessible ; and, although precise directions are not given, there
are three, ports Cockbum and Herbert, and Koubah passage, which are
adapted for shelter for small vessels, or even those drawing 18 feet or
more, where a refit might be accomplished in still water in either monsoon,
or where steam vessels might lie safely for the purpose of obtaining wood ;
and two other open bays, Seymour bay and port Gage, well sheltered in
* See Plan of Kumi (Koumi) on Admiralty chart, No 2,105.
Digitized by VjOOQIC
CHAP, v.] MEIACO SIMA GEOUP. 261
the N.E. monsoon, and admirablj adapted for watering and wooding,
although these, or stress of weather, would be the onlj inducements to
visit the island, and indeed, except at the two latter places, watering
would be found very difficult, as reefs extend a great distance from the
mouths of the streams. AU dangers are well marked by the coral fringe
which extends a greater or less distance from the island.
Seymour bay is on the southern coast, 2 miles east of Seymour point,
the south-west angle of Ku-kien san. Here is perfect shelter in the N.E.
monsoon, and a fine stream enters the sea in deep water, where a vessel
might be moored sufficiently close to lead the hoses from the pumps into
her, without the intervention of boats or casks.
Forts Coekbom and Berber!. — At the middle of the western coast
is Herbert island, 700 feet high, detached from the extremity of a long
peninsula, which separates two narrow inlets. Port Cockbum, on the
south, carries very deep water, 30 decreasing to 20 fathoms up to its head,
which is 3 miles from the entrance ; but there are many coral reefs off its
shores. The harbour is almost landlocked, and only open to one point,
N. W. by N.
Port Herbert, north of the peninsula, is fringed by broad reefs throughout
its whole extent. It has 3 fathoms in the middle of its entrance, which
opens out into a broad basin within, with a depth of 22 fathoms, from
whence a narrow channel, about 2 cables in width between the reefs, and
carrying 14, 7, and 10 fathoms, leads S.E. by S., 1^ miles, to the head of
the inlet, where is anchorage, clear of a coral reef, in 6 fathoms. This
harbour is also nearly landlocked, and open only to N.W. by N.
Fort aage is a small bay, also on the west side of Ku-kien san, under
its north point, where anchorage may be obtained in 3 to 5 fathoms, and
where there is good water. The bay is about 3 cables across, and perfectly
sheltered in the N.E. monsoon, but is open to West and S.W.
Isaac and Xoubali Islands. — Isaac island, 40 feet high and 2 miles
northward of Ku-kien san, extends with its coral belt nearly 3 miles, thus
forming good shelter from all points except East, West, and. N.W. ; but the
depth in the passage between it and the shore is not known, being greater
than 10 &thoms, except at one spot in the centre of the passage, where a
cast of 9 fathoms was obtained. The north shore of Ku-kien san is fringed
with a broad belt of coral, in which, south of Isaac island, a small bay is
Koubah island is a mile off the east point of Ku-kien san, with a passage
about 2 cables broad running S. by W. between the coral banks of either
shore, and carrying 14 to 10 fathoms for 3 miles from the north entrance.
FA^CHinro SAW, 8 miles eastward of Ku-kien san, is about 10 miles in
extent across the body of the island, and the hills on its north side rise to
Digitized by VjOOQIC
262 PORMOSA AND ADJACENT ISLANDS AND STBAITS. [chap. y.
the height of 1^500 feet, ft-om which range a naiTow peninsula stretches
12 milen N.£. bj N., terminating in Adams point, off which is an islet on
the reef. The whole island is skirted bj coral. Port Haddington^ on its
west side, would shelter a large fleet, but it abounds with coral patches,
rismg suddenly from 10 or 15 fathoms almost to the surface; in clear
weather all those having as little as 5 fathoms are clearlj discernible, and
therefore easily avoided. South-westward of Pa-chung is Roberton island,
60 feet high, 4^ miles westward of which is Koubah island, before men-
ttonedy the two are connected by a coral reef, which is steep-to, and on
the edge of which are three islets. Roberton is also connected by reefs
with Baugh, Inglefield, and Loney islands to the south-west, which also lie
off Ku-kien san ; and South rock, which is high and marks the edge of
the reef, is S.E. of Roberton, and 3} miles from Pa-chung.
Between Roberton and Pa-chung is a channel abounding wiih coral
reefs, through which H.M.S. Lily and Contest passed on their way to
BroQghton bay on the south side of the island, in 1852.
On the north side of Pa-chung are several good bays, where anchorage
might be found in the S.W. monsoon, but which are certainly not adapted
POBT HABBn'OTOW is a spacious bay on the west side of Pa-chung
san. Off Hamilton point, the north point of entrance, will be noticed a
remarkable little rocky hummock, upon which was left, at the time of the
survey, a very large pile of stones. The bottom for more than half a mile
off the point is rocky and dangerous ; but as all the dangers of this port
are visible from aloft, there is no risk with a proper look out. The inner
parts of this extensive port have numerous shoals, but there is still
abundance of excellent anchorage without, and where the vessel will
be land-locked. The Samarang anchored about a mile or less within
Hamilton point, in 10 fathoms, clear bottom.*
♦ Port Haddington was visited by two naval officers in the steamer Prince Kung, in
June 1866, but the account given by them of the anchorage is by no means so favourable
as that of Sir Edward Belcher. This steamer having no masthead from which the
vessel eould be conned, struck a coral reef on entering ; and, with much difficulty, foimd
bad anchorage in 5 fathoms, the vessel swinging in one direction into 16 fathoms, and in
another close to a coral rock with only 5 feet Bocks were observed which were not
marked on the chart, and it was considered that there would be great difficulty to sailing
vessels in finding safe anchorage. Water was not easily obtained, for although many
good streams ran into the harbour, they were brackish some distance up at high water,
whilst at low water, the boats had to lie some distance off. The time of high
water, and the rise and fell of tide, were, on this occasion, approximately obtained.
The shipwrecked crew of the Fairlight were found lodged at a village or town
(said to be the largest on the island), about 4 miles southward of Baillie head, the
south-west point of the port. They had been well treated but had suffered from want
Digitized by VjOOQIC
CHAP, v.] MEIACO SIMA GBOUP. 263
This is a well sheltered port during the N.E. monsoon, but not so safe
in the S.W. monsoon ; for although it is land-locked, there is a long fetch
for the sea with a S.W. gale, and in the latter season tjphoons are said to
be very violent about this region.
SuppUea. — ^A convenient watering-place was established by sinking a
cask and suspending the suction hose of Hearle's pump over it, so as to
prevent the sand from being sucked in. The stream from above was
regulated by dams to ensure not more than a suflScient supply, by which
means the water obtained was beautifully clear. Here wood is abundant,
and the position is farther preferable by being so far from the villages as
to prevent the authorities from feeling alarmed. Sufficient fire-wood was
cut at Tamanu beach to fill the ship, and trees were obtained of pine and
other woods adapted for plank.
Tides. — It is high water, full and change, at 6 h. 45 m., and the rise and
fall is about 7 feet.
Birectlons^ — ^From the westward, port Haddington may be sought and
reached more expeditiously by working up on the north-west side of
Ku-kien-san, rounding Isaac island and running down off the danger line
from Melros point (the northern part of the peninsula which forms the
north side of the bay) round the reef, which extends 6 cables off Hamilton
point, and shoot into 15 fathoms. The chart exhibits several awkward
patches, but a vessel which works decently can thread her way between
them, if the sun be bright, as all the shoals may easily be traced from
There is a passage from port Haddington into Broughton bay which was
used by H. M. sloops Lilt/ and Contest in 1852 ; it abounds in coral reefs.
BROuaBTOW BAT is on the south coast of Fa-chung san, one mile
westward of Providence point, its south-east angle. The only reason for
noticing it is, that a port of refuge with still water, in case of disaster,
may be found on this side of the island ; when a disabled vessel could not
of a sufi&ciently nourishing diet. The inhabitants were poor, but a contented and unarmed
race, in appearance similar to the Loochooans to whom they are subject, but resembling
the Japanese more in manner, customs, and language. Their chief lives in the interior
of Pa-chnng-san. They send a junk annually to Fuchow, and trade with Japan, to
which they export a spirit called mio-sake. The southern part of the island was found
very undulating and well wooded, and though not much cultivated ground was seen, for
the soil is poor and rocky, yet the flat grounds and some of the slopes were covered with
coarse grass which afforded pasturage to large herds of cattle. There is also a great
abundance of ponies which are used as beasts of burden. On departure the chiefs
refused to accept any remuneration for then: care of the shipwrecked crew, and provided
them with two bullocks and sufficient rice for the voyage. From the Remark Books of
Lieut. Philip B. Luard, R.N., and Mr. John F. Bams, R.N. The Prince Kung was
chartered to convey to China the crew of the British ship Fairlight which had been
wrecked on the south reef of Fa-chung san.
Digitized by VjOOQIC
264 FOEMOSA AND ADJACENT ISLANDS AND StEAITS. [chap. v.
beat round to the more secare harbour of port Haddington. Neither wood
nor water can be procured conveniently, but, with respect to a distressed
vessel, they could be obtained from the authorities who reside at this place*
The bay consists of an outer anchorage in 19 fi&thoms at three-quarters of
a mile from the shore, and an inner anchorage* at the head of the bay, into
which a ship may be warped into a snug position, and moored with just
enough room to swing, the depths up to the coral ledges varying from IS
to 7 fiithoms.
]Mre«tlABS. — The only directions which will assist the seaman in finding
this snug little anchorage, safe only, however, during the N.E. monsoon^
are as follows : — Approaching from the westward, when Chung-chi island
is made, steer so as to give the reefs off the south side of Sandy island a
berth of two miles, taking care to avoid passing northward of a line joining
the two islands, between which it is said there is no safe passage. Having
passed Sandy island, work for the south-east angle of Fa-chung san, avoiding
the reefs, the edges of which extend in a direct line between the two. The
high rock named South rock will point out the outer reefs of Pa-chung.
These dangers are best avoided by the eye, the shoals being visible in 5 or
6 fathoms, and breaking u[)on those of two and three fathoms.
The opening of the reef lies in the heart of a deep indentation just to
the northward of a low point on the western side of the bay, and has
apparently a centre bar ; the right hand opening is the proper one.
From the eastward there are no dangers which are not clearly visible.
After making the land, edge along the southern and eastern breakers
until the abrupt turn of the breaker line is seen, at which moment the
extreme south-west point of the bay will open. The breakers have
regular soundings off them, but the course it will probably lead in 7, 8,
or 9 fathoms, deepening to 14 or 15 off the inlet. As the breeze generally
blows out, it will be advisable to send a boat ahead to find clear ground off
the opening, and shoot up and anchor. The vessel may then be warped
in. But if merely intending a cursory visit, the outer anchorage appears
Proceeding from Broughton bay to port Haddington, after rounding
the north-east end of the Pa-chung san breakers, and running to the
westward the length of the island, haul close round the north-west angle,
and edge along southerly within about a mUe of the breakers. The port
will then open out. into which, with the prevailing breeze of the N.E.
moonsoon, it will be necessary to beat.
* H.M. Sloop Lily, in 1852, searched for the opening into Broughton bay, but could
not find it. Remark Book of Com. J. W. Spencer, R.N., H.M.S. Sloop Contest, 1852.
•f The landing place is in lat. 24° 21' 30" N., long. 124° 17' 40" K—Beicher.
Digitized by VjOOQIC
CHAP, v.] MEIACO SIMA GROUP. 266
VA-CHUvo SAsr to TJLZ-vxir 8Asr^— About 15 or 20 miles E. bj N. ^ N.
of the north-east extremity of Pa-chung, (on the Admiralty chart it is 22
miles, but the position is there stated to be uncertain), are two low islets
Mitsuna and Tarara, from which extensive reefs stretch northward and
westward, and the ground is shallow and foul at 10 miles N.N.E. of them.
The vicinity of these shoals ought therefore to be avoided by night, but
by day the dangers are clearly denoted by breakers. After quitting port
Haddington, the Samarang beat to the northward during the night, and
endeavoured to weather these two low coral islets. She had pa£>sed the
breaikers, leaving them about 5 miles under her lee, when disliking the
sweU and colour of the sea, and finding the depths decrease to 7 fathoms^
the ship was immediately tacked to the westward, and succeeded* in
effecting a passage between Pa-chung san and Tai-pin san. Capt. Belcher
strongly suspected that extensive banks or ledges of coral connect these
islets (northward) with Tai-pin san ; and a strong reason for this offers
in the fact of their being included by the natives in the Tai-pin san group,
when they are much closer to Parchung san.
TAX-Pzsr Bikx osoxrp, the eastern division of the Meiaco simas,
comprises the large island of Tai-pin san and four small off-lying islets,
and is distant 50 miles from Pa-chung san in an E. by N. ^ N. direction.
Tai-pin san is 15 miles long, N.W. and S.E., and is surrounded on all sides
except the south by a very extensive chain of coral reefs upon which lie
the four small islands. Off the south-west point is Ashumah or Kurimah ;
to the westward is Erabou or Yerabu, 4 miles in" extent ; off the north
point is Corumah or Ykima, and 2 miles eastward of the same is Hummock
The reefs do not extend very far westward from Ashumah, unless in
patches unconnected with the main belt. Off Erabou they extend 3 or 4
miles, but close towards its north-western point a deep water channel
admits vessels within the belt up to Hummock island and into the maip
harbour of Tai-pin san. The reefs again spit out on the south-west angle
of Corumah, and sweep northerly, as far as the eye can reach from an
elevation of 100 feet, round to east in continuous lines of breakers, edging
in towards the south-east extremity of Hummock. A high patch of rocks
is situated on the north-east angle of this outer belt, probably 10 miles from
the northern point of Tai-pin san. This is the Providence reef on which
Broughton was shipwrecked in 1797.
Safe anchorage during the S.W.. monsoon might be found inside the
reefs of Hummock island, and also safe in the N.E. monsoon ; but the
passage in or out at that season would be attended with risk, as sudden
♦ It would appear that the Samarang returned westward and reached the south part
of Tai-pin san by passing southward of Tarara.
Digitized by VjOOQIC
266 FORMOSA AND ADJACENT ISLANDS AND STBAITS. [chap. v.
squallf^, gales, and numerous patches beset the whole eastern side of Tai-
pin san. The southern coast line, from the south-east breaker patch to
the south-west anchorage, does not offer many dangers if a tolerable look-
out be observed, for the reefs do not extend more than half a cable &om
the shore and generally less.
There can be no inducements for any vessel to visit Tai-pin san ; neither
wood, water, nor any other necessaries could be procured. A few pigs,
fowls, and sweet potatoes might be obtained for cabin use, but this would