At this place I continued from the 28th of November to the 10th of December, when, having procured what refreshments I could for my people, and taken on board a sufficient quantity of rice and arrack, to serve for the rest of the voyage, I weighed anchor and made sail. The fort saluted me with eleven guns, and the Dutch commodore with thirteen, which I returned; we were saluted also by the English ship. We worked down to Prince’s Island, in the strait of Sunda, and came to an anchor there on the 14th. In this passage, the boats came off to us from the Java shore, and supplied us with turtle in such plenty, that neither of the ship’s companies eat any thing else. We lay at Prince’s Island till the 19th, and during all that time we subsisted wholly upon the same food, which was procured from the inhabitants at a very reasonable rate. Having now taken on board as much wood and water as we could stow, we weighed, and got without Java Head before night: But by this time a dangerous putrid fever had broken out among us; three of my people had died, and many others now lay in so dangerous a condition that there were little hopes of their recovery: We did not, however, bury one at Batavia, which, notwithstanding our stay was so short, was thought to be a very extraordinary instance of good fortune; and our sick gradually recovered after we had been a week or two at sea.
The Passage from Batavia to the Cape of Good Hope, and from thence to England.
We continued our course, without any event worthy of notice, (except that one of my best men unhappily fell overboard and was drowned,) till Monday the 10th of February, when, at six o’clock in the morning, we saw the coast of Africa, bearing from N.N.W. to N.E. distant about seven leagues: It made in several high hills, and white sandy cliffs, and its latitude was 34 deg. 15’ S. longitude 21 deg. 45’ E.; the variation here was 22 deg. W. and our depth of water fifty-three fathom, with a bottom of coarse brown sand.
I stood in for the land, and when I was within about two leagues of it, I saw a great smoke rising from a sandy beach. I imagined the smoke to be made by the Hottentots; yet I was astonished at their chusing this part of the coast for their residence, for it consisted of nothing but sand-banks as far as we could see, without the least bush or a single blade of verdure, and so heavy a sea broke upon the coast, that it was impossible to catch any fish.