A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 12 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 760 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 12.

On the 21st of November, as we were standing towards Borneo, we made two small islands, which I judged to be the same that in the French chart are called Taba Islands:  They are very small, and covered with trees.  By my account, they lie in latitude 1 deg. 44’ N., longitude 7 deg. 32 W. off the south end of Mindanao, and are distant from Hummock, or Stroomen Point, about fifty-eight leagues.  The weather was now hazy, but happening suddenly to clear up, we saw a shoal, with breakers, at the distance of about five or six miles, from the south to the north-west.  Off the north end of this shoal we saw four hummocks close together, which we took for small islands, and seven more from the S. 1/2 W. to the W. 1/2 S.:  Whether these are really islands, or some hills on the island of Borneo, I could not determine.  This shoal is certainly very dangerous, but may be avoided by going to the westward of Taba Islands, where the passage is clear and broad.  In the French chart of Monsieur D’Apres de Mandevillette, published in 1745, two shoals are laid down, to the eastward, and a little to the north of these islands:  One of them is called Vanloorif, and the other, on which are placed two islands, Harigs; but these shoals and islands have certainly no existence, as I turned through this part of the passage from side to side, and sailed over the very spot where they are supposed to lie.  In the same chart seven small islands are also laid down within half a degree to the northward of the Line, and exactly in the middle of the narrowest part of this passage; but neither have these islands any existence, except upon paper, though I believe there may-be some small islands close to the main land of Borneo:  We thought we had seen two, which we took to be those that are laid down in the charts off Porto Tubo, but of this I am not certain.  The southermost and narrowest part of this passage is about eighteen or twenty leagues broad, with high lands on each side.  We continued labouring in it till the 27th, before we crossed the Line, so that we were a fortnight in sailing eight-and-twenty leagues, the distance from the north entrance of the streight, which we made on the 14th.  After we got to the southward of the Line, we found a slight current setting against us to the northward, which daily increased:  The weather was still unsettled, with much wet:  The winds were chiefly S.W. and W.S.W. and very seldom farther to the northward than W.N.W. except in the tornadoes, which grew more frequent and violent; and by them we got nothing but hard labour, as they obliged us to hand all our sails, which indeed with our utmost effort we were scarcely able to do, our debility daily increasing by the falling sick of the few that were well, or the death of some among the many that were sick.  Under these circumstances we used our utmost endeavours to get hold of the land on the Borneo side, but were not able, and continued to struggle with our misfortunes till the 3d of December, when we fell in

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