At six o’clock in the morning of Friday the 3d, we made another unsuccessful attempt to warp the ship out of the harbour; but at five o’clock in the morning of the 4th, our efforts had a better effect, and about seven we got once more under sail, with a light air from the land, which soon died away, and was followed by the sea breezes from S.E. by S., with which we stood off to sea E. by N., having the pinnace a-head, which was ordered to keep sounding continually. The yawl had been sent to the turtle bank to take up the net which had been left there; but as the wind freshened, we got out before her. A little before noon we anchored in fifteen fathom water, with a sandy bottom, for I did not think it safe to run in among the shoals till I had well viewed them at low water from the mast head, which might determine me which way to steer; for as yet I was in doubt whether I should beat back to the southward, round all the shoals, or seek a passage to the eastward or the northward, all which at present appeared to be equally difficult and dangerous. When we were at anchor, the harbour from which we sailed bore S. 70 W., distant about five leagues; the northermost point of the main in sight, which I named Cape Bedford, and which lies in latitude 15 deg. 16’ S. longitude 214 deg. 45’ W., bore N. 20 W., distant three leagues and a half; but to the N.E. of this cape we could see land which had the appearance of two high islands: The turtle banks bore east, distant one mile; our latitude by observation was 15 deg. 32’ S., and our depth of water in standing off from the land was from three and a half to fifteen fathom.
Departure from Endeavour River; a particular Description of the Harbour there, in which the Ship was refitted, the adjacent Country, and several Islands near the Coast; the Range from Endeavour River to the Northern Extremity of the Country, and the Dangers of that Navigation.
To the harbour which we had now left, I gave the name of Endeavour River. It is only a small bar, harbour, or creek, which runs in a winding channel three or four leagues inland, and at the head of which there is a small brook of fresh water: There is not depth of water for shipping above a mile within the bar, and at this distance only on the north side; where the bank is so steep for near a quarter of a mile, that a ship may lie afloat at low water, so near the shore as to reach it with a stage, and the situation is extremely convenient for heaving down; but at low water the depth upon the bar is not more than nine or ten feet, nor more than seventeen or eighteen at the height of the tide; the difference between high and low water, at spring tides, being about nine feet. At the new and full of the moon it is high water between nine and ten o’clock: It must also be remembered, that this part of the coast is so barricaded with shoals, as to make the harbour still more difficult of access; the safest approach is from the southward, keeping the main land close upon the board all the way. Its situation may always be found by the latitude, which has been very accurately laid down. Over the south point is some high land, but the north point is formed by a low sandy beach, which extends about three miles to the northward, where the land begins again to be high.