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Explorers of the Pacific: European and American Discoveries in Polynesia

Louis Duperrey

page 83

Louis Duperrey

1822 to 1825

The voyage of Captain Louis Isadore Duperrey on the corvette Coquille was another government expedition "executed by order of the King." With him went M. Lesson, whose account of the voyage supplies the details which Duperrey failed to publish.

The Coquille sailed from Toulon on August 11, 1822, and after calling at Brazil and the Falklands, sailed round Cape Horn to Concepcion, Callao, and Payta. On March 22, 1823, Duperrey sailed from Payta for the Society Islands, hence picked up a number of islands in the Tuamotu Archipelago. The first island sighted, on April 22, was a new discovery, which Duperrey named Clermont Tonnerre (Reao). He recognized Narcisse (San Narciso, or Tata-koto), Moller (Amanu), and Harp (Hao) as previous discoveries. To avoid the danger of running into the islands west of Hao, he kept to the south and so had a clear run until he reached Meetia. He recognized this island as the Osnaburgh of Wallis and the Boudoir (Pic de la Boudeuse) of Bougainville, but he remarked that the Oceaniens gave it the more euphonious name of Maitea. The Coquille remained at Tahiti from May 3 to May 22, when she sailed for Borabora. On June 9 she sailed for Port Jackson and passed Maurua, Palmerston, Eoa (Eua, Tonga), and Pylstaart. July to October were spent in Santa Cruz, New Britain, New Ireland, Waigiu, and the Moluccas. From Amboina she sailed round the west and south of Australia to Port Jackson, where she arrived on January 17, 1824.

On March 24, 1824, Duperrey sailed for the Bay of Islands in New Zealand where he arrived on April 3. His reflections on the Maoris and their grammar and vocabulary are interesting. After a fortnight, he sailed to Rotuma, the Gilberts, the Carolines, and New Guinea and reached Surabaya on August 28. After two weeks, he left for Mauritius, where he arrived on October 2. On the homeward stretch, via the Cape of Good Hope, he reached Ascension on January 18, 1825, and crossed the equator on February 2. Owing to contrary winds, he did not make Marseilles until toward the end, of March 1825.