The Chagos group is less elongated than is usual with other groups, and the individual atolls in it are likewise but little elongated; this is strikingly seen by comparing them with the neighbouring Maldiva atolls. In the Marshall and Maldiva archipelagoes, the atolls are ranged in two parallel lines, like the mountains in a great double mountain-chain.
What is their relation of form and position, for instance, do adjoining groups of atolls, and the separate atolls in these groups, bear the same relation to each other which islands do in common archipelagoes?
This sea that, compared with others, is a simple lake sown with archipelagoes, offered a good school. To whatever wind he might set his sails, he would be sure to reach some hospitable shore. The fresh and irregular breezes revolved with the sun at certain times of the year. The hurricane whirled across its bowl, but never stopped. There were no tides. Its harbors and water-ways were never dry.
It was singular that they should have joined us much in the same way. Tamaku was likely to prove of service in acting as interpreter with the natives of Polynesia; for the language of the Sandwich group differs but slightly from the dialects of the other brown-skinned races inhabiting the numerous archipelagoes which dot its surface.
The sea in some parts has driven back the coast; it has taken portions of the land from the continent, has abandoned and again retaken it; has reunited some of the islands to the continent by chains of sand, as in Zealand; has detached the borders of the continent and formed of them new islands, such as Wieringen; has withdrawn from some provinces, and has converted maritime cities into inland towns, as at Leeuwarden; it has changed vast plains into archipelagoes of a hundred isles, such as the Bies-Bosch; it has separated the city from the land, as at Dordrecht.
But they all believed, that, snatched from the wreck into islands of Eastern archipelagoes, the vindictive child and her quieted gods might yet be found.
He called one to him in the grey morning watch, when the day was just breaking, and taking his hand, said that while in Nantucket he had chanced to see certain little canoes of dark wood, like the rich war-wood of his native isle; and upon inquiry, he had learned that all whalemen who died in Nantucket, were laid in those same dark canoes, and that the fancy of being so laid had much pleased him; for it was not unlike the custom of his own race, who, after embalming a dead warrior, stretched him out in his canoe, and so left him to be floated away to the starry archipelagoes; for not only do they believe that the stars are isles, but that far beyond all visible horizons, their own mild, uncontinented seas, interflow with the blue heavens; and so form the white breakers of the milky way.
"Why should not Australia, New Ireland, Australasia, united to the archipelagoes of the Pacific, have once formed a sixth part of the world, as important as Europe or Asia, as Africa or the two Americas? To my mind, it is quite possible that all these islands, emerging from this vast ocean, are but the summits of a continent, now submerged, but which was above the waters at a prehistoric period."
Stanley chose the route of Zanzibar, and, landing there, he went up the course of the river and crossed the country to the Victoria Nyanza by the way of Unyamwezi. He reached the lake by the end of February, 1875. On March the 8th he set out to explore the shores of the lake, and mapped the whole region, including its bays, islands, and archipelagoes, with a considerable amount of accuracy.
It seems to me as if I sprang from good father Niger himself, from the wondrous fertility of his waters. He is gentle but immense, rolling countless waves like the sea, and so broad, so vast, that no bridge can span him as he flows from horizon to horizon. He carries archipelagoes on his breast, and stretches out arms covered with herbage like pasture land.