As the landing on this isle, if practicable, would have caused a delay which I could ill spare at this time, we resumed our course to the west; and on the 25th we again began to use our sea-biscuits, the fruit which had served as a succedaneum being all consumed; but our stock of fresh pork still continued, each man having as much every day as was needful. In our route to the west we now and then saw men-of-war and tropic birds, and a small sea-bird, which is seldom seen but near the shores of the isles; we, therefore, conjectured that we had passed some land at no great distance. As we advanced to the west, the variation of the compass gradually increased, so that on the 29th, being in the latitude of 21 deg. 26’ S., longitude 170 deg. 40’ W., it was 10 deg. 45’ E.
At two o’clock p.m. on the 1st of October, we made the island of Middleburg, bearing W.S.W.; at six o’clock it extended from S.W, by W. to N.W., distant four leagues, at which time another land was seen in the direction of N.N.W. The wind being at S.S.E., I hauled to the south, in order to get round the south end of the island before the morning; but at eight o’clock a small island was seen lying off it, and not knowing but they might be connected by a reef, the extent of which we must be ignorant of, I resolved to spend the night where we were. At day-break the next morning, we bore up for the S.W. side of Middleburg, passing between it and the little isle above mentioned, where we found a clear channel two miles broad.
After ranging the S.W. side of the greater isle, to about two-thirds of its length, at the distance of half a mile from the shore, without seeing the least prospect of either anchorage or landing-place, we bore away for Amsterdam, which we had in sight. We had scarcely turned our sails before we observed the shores of Middleburg to assume another aspect, seeming to offer both anchorage and landing. Upon this we hauled the wind, and plied in under the island. In the mean time, two canoes, each conducted by two or three men, came boldly alongside; and some of them entered the ship without hesitation. This mark of confidence gave me a good opinion of these islanders, and determined me to visit them, if possible. After making a few trips, we found good anchorage, and came to in twenty-five fathoms water, and gravel bottom, at three cables’ length from the shore. The highest land on the island bore S.E. by E.; the north point N.E. 1/2 E., and the west S. by W. 1/2