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Explorers of the Pacific: European and American Discoveries in Polynesia

Von Kotzebue's Second Voyage

Von Kotzebue's Second Voyage

1823 to 1826

Otto von Kotzebue, now a Post Captain in the Imperial Navy, wasgiven command of the Predpriatie (Enterprise) in March 1823 to make a second voyage for scientific purposes, convey cargo to Kamchatka, and sail to the northwest American coast to protect the Russian American Company from the smuggling of foreign traders. His crew consisted of 115 men, in addition to twenty-three mates and officers and six professional men.

Kotzebe sailed from Kronstadt on July 28, 1823, and rounded Cape Horn on December 23. He visited the Chilean coast and then sailed west through the Tuamotu Archipelago on his way to Tahiti. On March 2, 1824, he found an island which he named Predpriatie, after his ship. Sailing west, he saw Arakcheev and Volonsky Islands, discovered previously by Bellingshausen, and Romanzoff, discovered by himself in 1816. He was in doubt about the island he had named Spiridoff on his first voyage, but the winds prevented him from more accurate checking. He saw an island which he thought was the Carlshof page 79of Roggeveen, examined the Pallisers discovered by Cook, and passed Greig Island of Bellingshausen.

The Predpriatie anchored in Matavai Bay, Tahiti, on March 14. Kotzebue met various members of the London Missionary Society, including Tyerman and Bennet, and he sailed on March 24. He sighted an island to the north which he named Guagein and Ulietea (Raiatea) to the northwest. He saw Maurura (Maurua or Maupiti) and, on March 26, discovered a group of low coral islands (Motu-one), which he named Bellingshausen after his fellow explorer.

Continuing west, he encountered on April 2, a small uninhabited island (Rose Atoll), which he named Kordinkoff. He learned later that it had been discovered by Freycinet in 1819. He saw the Manua group of Eastern Samoa which he referred to as Opoun (Tau), Lione (Olosenga), and Fanfoue (Ofu). At Maouna (Tutuila), he sailed round to Massacre Bay (Leone) where he traded for coconuts but found the natives impudent. He passed on to Ojalava (Savaii) and Pola (Upolu), where he traded for pigs and fruit and was offered the purchase of tame pigeons and parrots. (The identification of Kotzebue's names for the Samoan names is rendered easy by the map published with his journal.) From the Samoan islands, Kotzebue sailed northwest and, in May, reached the Radak chain in the Marshall Islands which he had discovered on his first voyage. From there he sailed to Kamchatka.

After spending some months at Kamchatka, the Aleutians, and Sitka, Kotzebue arrived in the Hawaiian Islands on December 12, 1824. He visited old acquaintances and received a friendly welcome. At Honolulu, he presented Kalaimoku with a copper plate engraving of the likeness of Kamehameha which had been painted by Choris. He left Honolulu for the north on January 31, 1825.

From March to August 1825, Kotzebue remained at New Archangel in Sitka, carrying out instructions with regard to the Russian American Company. In August he sailed south for Honolulu, where he arrived on September 13. After a stay of only six days, he sailed west, passing through the Marshalls and Marianas to Manila. He left Manila on January 10, 1826, and sailing via the Cape of Good Hope, anchored in the roads off Kronstadt on July 10, 1826, after an absence of a few days under three years.