II. COASTAL EXPLORATION (continued)
K. THE SCHOONER COLUMBIA in TRINIDAD BAY
In 1817 the British schooner Columbia anchored in Trinidad Bay. On doing so, the sailors found the bay full of high rocks, which served as roosting places for thousands of birds. The Indians had returned to their villages, and hardly had the anchors been dropped before the vessel was surrounded by canoes. As a precautionary measure, boarding nets were triced up, all ports except one closed, and the canoes were swept to the starboard beam. Trading was then commenced, the British receiving a few furs in exchange for "pieces of iron-hoop, cut to six-inch lengths." The Indians also brought aboard "plenty of red deer and berries."
In the afternoon, several women made their appearance, and despite offers of blankets. and axes, refused to come aboard. It was apparent to the British that the Indians had not "had much communications with Europeans, as they did not know the use of firearms; nor have they any iron among them." Their daggers were made of stone, and they were: "clothed in dressed leather apparel, prettily ornamented with shells." The women wore a "finely dressed leather petticoat," which reached halfway down the leg, and "a square garment of the same thrown loosely over the shoulders." Their tongues and chins were tattooed.
Ashore the British found the cross erected by Bodega 37 years before. After having purchased all the pelts the Indians had for sale, the anchors were weighed on July 24. Columbia experienced considerable difficulty in beating her way out to sea. The crew was glad to leave the area, because the Indians were the most savage tribe on the coast. 
Last Updated: 15-Jan-2004