1838: Port Jackson ship Nimrod was at Kadava in 1838: Vedovi kidnapped the mate and a boat’s crew, and held them to ransom

When the Port Jackson ship Nimrod was at Kadava in 1838, the now notorious Vedovi kidnapped the mate and a boat’s crew, and held them to ransom. For their release he demanded some large whales’ teeth, four axes, two plates, a case of pipes, some fish-hooks and iron pots, and a bale of cloth.

Whalers trade cycles: In addition to the beche-de-mer ships, whalers frequented certain parts of the Group, especially Tavuki Bay, Kadavu. Whaling among the Pacific Islands began about the same time as the sandalwood trade, and was carried on chiefly by ships from Port Jackson and the New England ports of America.

• The whales made annual migrations from the cold Antarctic seas to tropical waters, for the purpose of breeding. Sperm or Cachalot whales began to appear among the islands about the middle of the year, being most plentiful during August and September; and they returned south in the spring, to feed on the profile surface organisms or plankton, to be found among the breaking ice so the Antarctic.

The whalers followed the whales;

• Before the season opened, ships would visit Tahiti, Tonga, Rotuma, Norfolk Island, or Fiji, to recruit labour and to take on water and provisions;

• during the winter months they fished off these islands; and in

• the summer they went south to fish off New Zealand.

• When the season was over, the ships proceeded to the Bay of Islands or any other convenient anchorage on the New Zealand coast here they took in supplies of pigs, potatoes, fish, wood, and water, and refitted their rigging in preparation for the next season or the homeward voyage.

Cachalot whale teeth as currency: The teeth of the Cachalot whale, which the whalers had in considerable numbers, were used in Fiji for purposes of barter. After their introduction to Fiji, from Tonga, late in the eighteenth century, they had replaced the ancient form of tabua used in the traditional ceremonies; and the Fijians set a high value upon them.

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