The passage recommended by Captain Flinders for passing through Torres Strait us by entering the reefs at Murray’s Island; by which route a two-days’ passage will carry a ship past all danger: but, as the space between Wreck Reef and Murray’s Island is strewed with dangers, many of which have been discovered since the publication of his charts, and of which the greater number have only been recently seen, it cannot be called a safe navigation. The dangers consist of low coral islands, surrounded by extensive reefs, upon which in long and dark nights a vessel is in momentary danger of striking; the result of which must be the certain destruction of the vessel, and the probable loss of the crew. The Inner Route was first pursued by Mr. Cripps in the brig Cyclops, bound from Port Jackson to Bengal, in 1812. It was subsequently followed by Lieutenant C. Jeffreys, R.N., in the command of the hired armed vessel Kangaroo, on her passage from Port Jackson to Ceylon, in 1815.* This officer drew a chart, with a track of his voyage up the coast; which, considering the shortness of his time, and other circumstances that prevented his obtaining the necessary data to lay down with accuracy so intricate and dangerous a passage, does him very great credit; he filled up the space between Endeavour River and Cape Direction, which Captain Cook did not see; the only part that had previously been left a blank upon the chart of New South Wales; his outline was found to be tolerably correct, and my alterations have only been caused by better opportunities, and by the greater detail of my operations. The general feature of the coast has scarcely required correction; the principal corrections have been in the number, size, and relative bearings of the coral reefs and islands that front it.
(Footnote. Horsburgh’s Indian Directory volume 2 page 514.)
In describing this route, the whole of the bearings are magnetic; and the courses are freed from the effect of tide or current, since they are only temporary, and often of trifling importance.*
(Footnote. In following these directions, reference should be made to the description of the coast contained in this Appendix.)
Having hauled round Breaksea Spit (see Flinders’ chart sheet 3) in the evening, it would perhaps be dangerous to steer on through the night; after running, therefore, to the West-North-West for five or six leagues, bring to until daylight: but, if the day is before you, the course from the extremity of the spit is West-North-West 1/4 West for about a hundred miles. You will then be about twenty miles from Cape Capricorn: on your way to which you should pass about three miles within Lady Elliot’s Island, and also within the southernmost islet of Bunker’s Group, by which you will see how the current has affected your course, and you can act accordingly: if it has set you to the northward, you may pass on either side of or through the islands without danger. After making Cape Capricorn, you may leave it at a convenient distance, and, directing your course about North West by North, pass either within or without the Peaked and Flat Islands off Port Bowen; then, steering for the Percy Group, pass between the 2nd and 3rd Northumberland Islands.