Everything being in readiness to put to sea, at sun-rise, on the 13th of September, we weighed, and with a fine gale at E. by S., stood out for the same channel we came in by. At half past seven we were in the middle of it. Observatory Isle bore S. 5 deg. E., distant four miles, and the isle of Balabea W.N.W. As soon as we were clear of the reef, we hauled the wind to the starboard tack, with a view of plying in to the S.E.; but as Mr Gilbert was of opinion that he had seen the end, or N.W. extremity of the land, and that it would be easier to get round by the N.W., I gave over plying, and bore up along the outside of the reef, steering N.N.W., N.W., and N.W. by W., as it trended. At noon the island of Balabea bore S. by W., distant thirteen miles; and what we judged to be the west end of the great land, bore S.W. 1/2 S., and the direction of the reef was N.W. by W., latitude observed 19 deg. 53’ 20”. Longitude from Observatory Isle 14’ W. We continued to steer N.W. by W. along the outside of the reef till three o’clock, at which time the isle of Balabea bore S. by E. 1/2 E. In this direction we observed a partition in the reef, which we judged to be a channel, by the strong tide which set out of it. From this place the reef inclined to the north for three or four leagues, and then to the N.W. We followed its direction, and as we advanced to N.W., raised more land, which seemed to be connected with what we had seen before; so that Mr Gilbert was mistaken, and did not see the extremity of the coast. At five o’clock this land bore W. by N. 1/2 N., distant twenty miles; but what we could see of the reef trended in the direction of N.W. by N.
Having hauled the wind to the starboard tack, and spent the night plying, on the 14th, at sun-rise, the island of Balabea bore S. 6 E., and the land seen the preceding night W., but the reef still trended N.W., along which we steered with a light breeze at E.S.E. At noon we observed in latitude 19 deg. 28’, longitude from Observatory Isle 27’ W. We had now no sight of Balabea; and the other land, that is, the N.W. part of it, bore W. by S. 1/2 S., but we were not sure if this was one continued coast, or separate islands. For though some partitions were seen, from space to space, which made it look like the latter, a multitude of shoals rendered a nearer approach to it exceedingly dangerous, if not impracticable. In the afternoon, with a fine breeze at E.S.E., we ranged the outside of these shoals, which we found to trend in the direction of N.W. by W., N.W. by N., and N.N.E. At three o’clock we passed a low sandy isle, lying on the outer edge of the reef, in latitude 19 deg. 25’, and in the direction of N.E. from the north-westernmost land, six or seven leagues distant. So much as we could see of this space was strewed with shoals, seemingly detached from each other; and the channel leading in amongst them appeared to be on the S.E. side of the sandy isle; at least, there was a space where the sea did not