The party in charge of the lighthouse have numbers of goats, pigs, and sheep, and also raise a few potatoes and other vegetables; still their life is a hard one—more so comparatively, than that of the keepers of the Eddystone or Bell Rock lights at home, as they communicate with Van Diemen’s Land only twice a year, and are often in want of fuel, which they have to send for to a neighbouring island.
Aided by the remains of a strong westerly wind, with which we at one time logged ten and a half knots—a great feat for the old Rattlesnake, jury-rigged as she was for surveying service, we passed through part of Banks’ Strait, and anchored off Swan Island at 9 A.M. The rock is a fine-grained basalt, exposed only on the shore, the remainder of the island being a series of sandhills covered with low shrubs and luxuriant grass growing in tufts. Having left Captain Stanley’s party on their way to the lighthouse, I found on the western side of the island a long sandy beach strewed with marine rejectamenta, among which were many new species of zoophytes; the number and variety of sponges was very great, but nearly all had suffered so much from exposure to the sun and weather, as to be useless as specimens. Returning to the ship before noon, we immediately got underweigh for Sydney.
RETURN TO SYDNEY.
Yesterday morning we picked up a strong South-South-East wind, which brought us off Botany Bay by 8 A.M., but the weather being thick with rain, and the land doubtful, being seen only in occasional glimpses, it was judged prudent to haul off, standing in again during a clearing. At length the lighthouse was distinguished, when we bore up, and in little more than an hour reached our former anchorage in Farm Cove.
Sail on our Second Northern Cruise.
Entrance to the Inner Passage.
Arrive at Rockingham Bay.
Land Mr. Kennedy’s Expedition.
Commence the Survey at Dunk Island.
Communication with Natives.
Examine a New River.
Find the Coconut Palm.
The Will-o-the-Wisp and her Story.
Animals of a Coral Reef.
Stay at Lizard Island.
Howick, Pelican, and Claremont Isles.
Meet party of Natives in Distress.
Arrive at Cape York.
SAIL ON SECOND NORTHERN CRUISE.
The season for passing through Torres Strait from the southward having arrived, we left Port Jackson on a ten-months cruise, in order to complete the survey of the Inner Passage, or the clear channel between the north-east coast of Australia and the inner edge of the outer reefs, which again are bounded to seaward by the Great Barrier Reef, stretching from north to south, for a distance of upwards of 1000 miles.