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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 Run from Tinian to Pulo Timoan, with some Account of that Island, its Inhabitants and Productions, and thence to Batavia.

We continued our course till Thursday the 10th, when being in latitude 18 deg.33’N. longitude 136 deg.50’E. we found the ship two-and-twenty miles to the southward of her account, which must have been the effect of a strong current in that direction.  The variation here was 5 deg.10’E. and for some time we found it regularly decreasing, so that on the 19th, being in latitude 21 deg.10’N. longitude 124 deg.17’E. the needle pointed due north.

On the 18th, we had found the ship eighteen miles to the northward of her account, and saw several land-birds about the ship, which appeared to be very much tired:  We caught one as it was resting upon the booms, and found it very remarkable.  It was about as big as a goose, and all over as white as snow, except the legs and beak which were black; the beak was curved, and of so great a length and thickness, that it is not easy to conceive now the muscles of the neck, which was about a foot long, and as small as that of a crane, could support it.  We kept it about four months upon biscuit and water, but it then died, apparently for want of nourishment, being almost as light as a bladder.  It was very different from every species of the toucan that is represented by Edwards, and I believe has never been described.  These birds appeared to have been blown off some island to the northward of us, that is not laid down in the charts.

The needle continued to point due north till the 22d, when, at six o’clock in the morning, Grafton’s Island, the northermost of the Bashee Islands, bore south, distant six leagues.  As I had designed to touch at these islands, I stood for that in sight; but as the navigation from hence to the strait of Banca is very dangerous, and we had now both a fine morning and a fine gale, I thought it best to proceed on our way, and therefore steered westward again.  The principal of these islands are five in number, and by a good observation Grafton’s Island lies in latitude 21 deg.8’N. longitude 118 deg.14’E.  The variation of the compass was now 1 deg. 20’W.

On the 24th, being in latitude 16 deg.59’N. longitude 115 deg. 1’E. we kept a good look-out for the Triangles, which lie without the north end of the Prasil, and form a most dangerous shoal.[46] On the 30th we saw several trees and large bamboos floating about the ship, and upon sounding had three-and-twenty fathom, with dark brown sand, and small pieces of shells.  Our latitude was now 7 deg.17’N. longitude 104 deg.21’E, the variation was 30 deg.W.  The next day we found the ship thirteen miles to the northward of her account, which we judged to be the effect of a current; and on the 2d of November, we found her thirty-eight miles to the southward of her account.  Our latitude by observation was 3 deg.54’N. longitude 103 deg.20’E.  We had here soundings at forty-two and forty-three fathom, with soft mud.

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