I must observe, that in finding the longitude by Mr Kendal’s watch, we suppose it to have gone mean time from the Cape of Good Hope. Had its cape rate been allowed, the error would not have been so great.
Passage from Dusky Bay to Queen Charlottes Sound, with an Account of some Water Spouts, and of our joining the Adventure.
After leaving Dusky Bay, as hath been already mentioned, I directed my course along shore for Queen Charlotte’s Sound, where I expected to find the Adventure. In this passage we met with nothing remarkable, or worthy of notice, till the 17th at four o’clock in the afternoon. Being then about three leagues to the westward of Cape Stephens; having a gentle gale at west by south, and clear weather, the wind at once flattened to a calm, the sky became suddenly obscured by dark dense clouds, and seemed to forebode much wind. This occasioned as to clew up all our sails, and presently after six water-spouts were seen. Four rose and spent themselves between us and the land; that is, to the south-west of us, the fifth was without us, the sixth first appeared in the south-west, at the distance of two or three miles at least from us. Its progressive motion was to the north-east, not in a straight but in a crooked line, and passed within fifty yards of our stern, without our feeling any of its effects. The diameter of the base of this spout I judged to be about fifty or sixty feet; that is, the sea within this space was much agitated, and foamed up to a great height. From this a tube, or round body, was formed, by which the water or air, or both, was carried in a spiral stream up to the clouds. Some of our people said they saw a bird in the one near us, which was whirled round like the fly of a jack, as it was carried upwards. During the time these spouts lasted, we had now and then light puffs of wind from all points of the compass, with some few slight showers of rain, which generally fell in large drops; and the weather continued thick and hazy for some hours after, with variable light breezes of wind. At length the wind fixed in its old point, and the sky resumed its former serenity. Some of these spouts appeared at times to be stationary; and at other times to have a quick but very unequal progressive motion, and always in a crooked line, sometimes one way and sometimes another; so that, once or twice, we observed them to cross one another. From the ascending motion of the bird, and several other circumstances, it was very plain to us that these spouts were caused by whirlwinds, and that the water in them was violently hurried upwards, and did not descend from the clouds as I have heard some assert. The first appearance of them is by the violent agitation and rising up of the water; and, presently after, you see a round column or tube forming from the clouds above, which apparently descends till it joins the agitated water below.