At three P.M. the weather rather more moderate. Both vessels got underweigh, and worked close inshore. At 4.30 anchored in three and three-quarters fathoms, mud: Tree Island North-East by East half East; Pile Island West half South; north extreme of Albany Island South by East half East; within a short half mile of the shore.
Got all ready for a start in the morning, should the weather be moderate. Should the weather continue bad, I proposed to Jackey to try the overland route. He said the distance was too great, and the country very bad to travel through; that it would take several days.
Friday, May 11th, 1849.
All night fresh breeze and squally, at daylight rather more moderate, at half-past six despatched the whaleboat, fully manned and armed and provisioned for two days, and Jackey and his two companions. I gave charge of the boat to Macnate, my chief officer. I did not think there was any necessity to go myself, as Jackey said they were not likely to fall in with any natives. Captain Elliot volunteered his services and accompanied the party. Employed watering ship, found water very abundant all over Albany Island.
Saturday, May 12th, 1849.
At half-past one P.M. the whaleboat returned, having got the papers, etc., secreted by Jackey in a hollow tree. A rat or some animal had pulled them out of the tree, and they were saturated with water, and I fear nearly destroyed; they consisted of a roll of charts and some memorandum books. The charts with care may be deciphered. The following is Mr. Macnate’s statement:
At eight A.M. we rounded Fly Point, set sail and steered South by West, the boat going about five knots, just laying along the shore. At ten A.M. crossed a bank with only nine feet of water on it, passed a reef about three miles from Fly Point, and half a mile from the shore; from former shoal had three and four fathoms to the entrance of the river. At half-past eleven A.M. entered the mouth of a river, near the centre of Newcastle Bay; here we lost sight of Albany Island, making the distance from it about fourteen miles; the entrance of this river is about one mile and a half wide; on the northern half of the entrance the water is deep, three fathoms; on the southern side there is a sandbank, nearly dry at low-water.
From the entrance we went South-South-West five miles, when the river narrowed to about the third of a mile, we had from six to two and a half fathoms all the way in. From here we went into the branch of the river that ran about south, the main river going west. The entrance to the branch is about two cables’ lengths wide, we went in a southerly direction about six miles, when the river narrowed to forty feet; here we landed at half-past three P.M. Leaving two hands in charge of the boat, walked about two and a half miles, where Jackey found the papers, they had been pulled out of the hollow trunk where he had