When I got into latitude 16 deg. S. and not before, I found the true trade-wind; and as we proceeded to the north-west, and the northward, we found the variation increase very fast; for when we had advanced to latitude 18 deg. 15’ S. and were in longitude 80 deg. 1/4 W. of our departure, it was 7 deg. 3O’ E. We had bad weather, with hard gales, and a great sea from the eastward till the 25th, when, being in latitude 12 deg. 15’ S., we saw many birds flying in flocks, and supposed ourselves to be near some land, particularly several islands that are laid down in the charts, and one which was seen by Commodore Byron in 1765, and called the Island of Danger; none of these islands, however, could we see. At this time it blew so hard, that, although we went before the wind, we were obliged to reef our top-sails, and the weather was still very thick and rainy. The next morning, being in latitude 10 deg. S., longitude 167 deg. W., we kept nearly in the same parallel, in hopes to have fallen in with some of the islands called Solomon’s Islands, this being the latitude in which the southermost of them is laid down. We had here the trade-wind strong, with violent squalls and much rain, and continuing our course till Monday the 3d of August, we were then in latitude 10 deg. 18’ S. longitude, by account, 177 deg. 1/2 E.; our distance west from the continent of America about twenty-one hundred leagues, and we were five degrees to the westward of the situation of those islands in the charts. It was not our good fortune, however, to fall in with any land; probably we might pass near some, which the thick weather prevented our seeing; for in this run great numbers of sea birds were often about the ship: However, as Commodore Byron in his last voyage sailed over the northern limits of that part of the ocean in which the Islands of Solomon are said to lie, and as I sailed over the southern limits without seeing them, there is great reason to conclude, that, if there are any such islands, their situation in all our, charts is erroneously laid down.
[Footnote 58: See what is said on this subject in the account of Byron’s voyage. It will be resumed when we come to speak of some of Cook’s discoveries—E.]
From the latitude 14 deg. S., longitude 163 deg. 46’ W., we had a strong gale from the S.E. which made a great sea after us, and from that time I did not observe the long billows from the southward till we got into latitude 10 deg. 18’ S., longitude 177 deg. 30’ E., and then it returned from the S.W. and S.S.W., and we found a current setting to the southward, although a current in the contrary direction had attended us almost all the way from the Streight of Magellan; I conjectured therefore that here the passage opened between New Zealand and New Holland. The variation here was 11 deg. 14’ E. On the 5th, being in latitude 10 deg. 1/2 S., longitude 175 deg. 44’ E., the variation was 11 deg. 15’ E.; and on the 8th, in latitude 11 deg. S., longitude 171 deg. 14’ E. it was 14 deg. 1/2 E.