Narrative of a Survey of the Intertropical and Western Coasts of Australia eBook

Philip Parker King
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 567 pages of information about Narrative of a Survey of the Intertropical and Western Coasts of Australia.

Between Cape Farquhar and Cape Cuvier the coast is low and sandy; the land has a level outline, and the shore is formed by a sandy beach, which did not appear to be fronted by rocks.  The land of CAPE CUVIER is high, level, and rocky, and, rising abruptly from the sea, forms a bluff point, in latitude 24 degrees 0 minutes 30 seconds, and longitude 113 degrees 21 minutes 48 seconds.  This promontory is the northern head of Shark’s Bay.  The land was not seen by us to the South-East, and is laid down, as is indeed the whole of Shark’s Bay, from M. De Freycinet’s chart, which was drawn from the survey made of it in Commodore Baudin’s voyage.

The western coast of BERNIER and DORRE ISLANDS are bold to, and are composed of a high, precipitous cliff, with a level summit.  The only irregularity upon them is a slight elevation on the south end of the latter.  Off the north end of Bernier Island is the small islet called KOK’S.  The channel between Bernier and Dorre is about a mile and a half wide, but is so blocked up by rocks as to be impassable.

DIRK HARTOG’S ISLAND extends from Cape Inscription, in latitude 25 degrees 28 minutes 20 seconds, to 26 degrees 6 minutes; it is here separated from Point Escarpee (Bluff Point) by a strait, which has a shoal communication with Shark’s Bay.  Dirk Hartog’s Island is high, and of similar appearance to Bernier and Dorre; it is fronted by a line of breakers.  DIRK HARTOG’S ROAD, at the north end of the island, is a commodious roadstead, sheltered from all winds to the southward of east and west; and, since they are the prevailing and almost constant winds of this part, may be considered a very secure anchorage.  There is a reef extending off Cape Inscription for half a mile, which will also afford protection from the sea, even should the wind blow hard from the west.  The beach of the bay is fronted by coral rocks, but affords easy landing in all parts, particularly at high water.  This beach is covered with turtles’ nests; and at daylight thirty to fifty might be turned and embarked without any difficulty or delay.  The animals are easily taken, since the rocks prevent their escaping into the sea; and it is only at high water that they can return.  M. De Freycinet says (page 189) that there is a passage between the reef, off the east point of the bay, and the shore with ten fathoms.

The following account of Shark’s Bay is taken from M. De Freycinet’s account (page 189 et seq.)

In the fairway of the entrance to Shark’s Bay, between Dorre and Dirk Hartog’s Islands, is DAMPIER’S REEF; it is two miles in extent from east to west, and about one mile wide.  It has but two and a half and three fathoms water over it, and should be approached with care, on account of the swell.  Proceeding southerly from Cape Levillain, which is the east head of Dirk Hartog’s Road, at the distance of five or six miles is a cove (barachois) formed by reefs, where boats might obtain shelter. 

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Narrative of a Survey of the Intertropical and Western Coasts of Australia from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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