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Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 659 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels Volume 12.


The Passage from Mindanao to the Island of Celebes, with a particular Account of the Streight of Macassar, in which many Errors are corrected.

After leaving Mindanao, I stood to the westward for the passage between the islands of Borneo and Celebes, called the Streight of Macassar, and made it on Saturday the 14th.  I observed, that during the whole of this run we had a strong north-westerly current; but that while we were nearer to Mindanao than Celebes, it ran rather towards the north than the west; and that when we came nearer to Celebes than we were to Mindanao, it ran rather towards the west than the north.  The land of Celebes on the north end runs along to the entrance of the passage, is very lofty, and seems to trend away about W. by S. to a remarkable point in the passage, which makes in a hummock, and which at first we took for an island.  I believe it to be the same which in the French charts is called Stroomen Point, but I gave it the name of Hummock Point.  Its latitude, according to my account, is 1 deg. 20’ N., longitude 121 deg. 39’ E.; and it is a good mark for those to know the passage that fall in with the land coming from the eastward, who, if possible, should always make this side of the passage.  From Hummock Point the land trends more away to the southward, about S.W. by W. and to the southward of it there is a deep bay, full of islands and rocks, which appeared to me to be very dangerous.  Just off the point there are two rocks, which, though they are above water, cannot be seen, from a ship till she is close to the land.  To the eastward of this point, close to the shore, are two islands, one of them very flat, long, and even, and the other swelling into a hill; both these islands, as well as the adjacent country, are well covered with trees:  I stood close in a little to the eastward of them, and had no ground with an hundred fathom, within half a mile of the shore, which seemed to be rocky.  A little to the westward of these islands, we saw no less than sixty boats, which were fishing on some shoals that lie between them and Hammock Point.  This part of the shore appeared to be foul, and I think should not be approached without great caution.  In this place I found the currents various and uncertain, sometimes setting to the southward, and sometimes to the northward, and sometimes there was no current at all; the weather also was very unsettled, and so was the wind; it blew, however, chiefly to the south and south-west quarter, but we had sometimes sudden and violent gusts, and tornadoes from the N.W. with thunder, lightning, and rain:  These generally lasted about an hour, when they were succeeded by a dead calm, and the wind would afterwards spring up fresh from the S.W. or S.S.W. which was right against us, and blow strong.  From these appearances I conjectured that the shifting season had commenced, and that the west monsoon would soon set in.  The ship sailed so ill that we made very little way; we frequently sounded in this passage, but could get no ground.

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