Kajeli to Amboina, 30 June 1893

For today’s drive our steam boat had departed already at 4 o’clock in the morning and at first anchored next to the land tongue of Lissaletta at 6 o’clock. For a moment a blue sky looked down upon us but soon the firmament was overshadowed and a tropical rain poured down. In comparison with this the famous Salzburg rods of rain („Schnürlregen“) is but a drizzle.

On the spot where we landed, close to some fishermen’s huts, the „outstanding“ guides of the hunt of the day before and a group of drivers with dogs were waiting for us.  We climbed up on a hill where the usual large discussion took place. After its conclusion the drivers first moved out and then the shooters in different directions.

To my great astonishment, the number of shooters had greatly increased as some undefined individuals armed with adventurous guns joined us who were said to act as defenders in the hunt when I asked about their purpose. Despite the fact that we had keenly expressed with words, gestures, pleas and orders not to release the dogs and to keep quiet on the way to the hunt, we heard their ongoing shouts and cries in the forest and soon the dogs too started to bark and drove a deer calf close to us but I did unfortunately miss it.

The terrain had a very different character than that of yesterday’s hunt. I might say it looked Australian as in the tall grass there rose individual trees, now and then there were steep ledges that suddenly dropped down to the sea. Then there were again denser wood areas with a liana-like undergrowth.

A one-hour march took us to our positions whose line formed a semi-circle where we had hardly taken up positions when the shouts of the drivers were heard who were tasked to drive game towards us. I took up position on the outermost spot on the right wing. Below me was the defense with the numerous „wild“ shooters. For a long time nothing was visible while above my position many shots were fired. Finally I saw in short intervals some wild boars move at a large distance through the tall grass below my position, but one could see those animals only for moments. I tried my luck with a few shots and also hit one strong two-year-old animal that was found dead during the next drive. A single piece killed by me turned out to have been already wounded by another shooter.

After the end of the tedious drive it became clear that nearly all shots had been fired by native shooters who in fact had a good field of fire but truly without any results, having fired much grain at game, among it also a good deer. The defense below my position had also joined in the hunt but only managed, gesticulating wildly, to drive in a live deer calf which the dogs had stopped in front of the shooters.

The Dutch seemed, if I may conclude from my experiences on Java and now here, not very apt in hunting and the organization of a hunt. At least there was a complete mess during the three drives that were undertaken. We may have been positioned but mostly in the wrong places or only after the drivers had already moved past. Nobody was directing the whole, each native wanted only to shoot himself and the drivers walked instead of through the thicket, shouting loudly, one after the other alongside the shore. To this confusion the flood-like rain may have also contributed.

I regreted the failure due to the mentioned ills all the more as in the overgrown ledges there seemed to be plenty of game according to the tracks. Not a single babirussa was caught.

As we could see that the drivers had grown weary about the hunt and there was no order, we turned our attention to the world of the numerous birds present and bagged a sizeable number of large grey and yellow pigeons as well as multiple parrots. I was so happy to catch three predators in a short time by accident, namely a mighty white-breasted sea eagle (Haliaetus leucogaster) with a white body, striped tail and pigeon-grey wings that had landed on a high branch. Then an osprey (Pandion leucocephalus), very similar to the European one, and a falcon (Falco moluccensis), which resembled our kestrel but was more intensively colored. The latter two had been flying over me during the drives.

The rain continued to grow stronger. Finally the soaked cartridges could no longer be inserted into the rifle barrels and thus the retreat call was sounded and we returned on board to drive back directly to Amboina.

We had hardly left the bay of Kajeli when we were received by the high sea waves in the Strait of Manipa that threw our small steam boat around so violently that one after another left the company on deck and disappeared into the cabin only to emerge when wer arrived back in Amboina with an important delay. Totally battered and shaken we returned on board of „Elisabeth“. Staying there, however, was not particularly agreeable as coal was still being loaded on board and everything was wet from the pouring rain.

Links

  • Location: Amboina
  • ANNO – on 30.06.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing „Fesseln“. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is closed from 1 June to 19 July.

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