The Passage from New South Wales to New Guinea, with an Account of what happened upon landing there.
In the afternoon of Thursday, August the 23d, after leaving Booby Island, we steered W.N.W. with light airs from the S.S.W. till five o’clock, when it fell calm, and the tide of ebb soon after setting to the N.E., we came to an anchor in eight fathom water, with a soft sandy bottom. Booby Island bore S. 50 E., distant five miles, and the Prince of Wales’s Isles extended from N.E. by N. to S. 55 E.; between these there appeared to be a clear open passage, extending from N. 46 E. to E. by N.
At half an hour after five in the morning of the 24th, as we were purchasing the anchor, the cable parted at about eight or ten fathom from the ring: The ship then began to drive, but I immediately dropped another anchor, which brought her up before she got more than a cable’s length from the buoy; the boats were then sent to sweep for the anchor, but could not succeed. At noon our latitude by observation was 10 deg. 30’ S. As I was resolved not to leave the anchor behind, while there remained a possibility of recovering it, I sent the boats again after dinner with a small line, to discover where it lay; this being happily effected, we swept for it with a hawser, and by the same hawser hove the ship up to it: We proceeded to weigh it, but just as we were about to ship it, the hawser slipped, and we had all our labour to repeat: By this time it was dark, and we were obliged to suspend our operations till the morning.
As soon as it was light, we sweeped it again, and heaved it to the bows: By eight o’clock we weighed the other anchor, got under sail, and, with a fine breeze at E.N.E. stood to the north-west. At noon, our latitude, by observation, was 10 deg. 18’ S., longitude 219 deg. 39’ W. At this time we had no land in sight, but about two miles to the southward of us lay a large shoal, upon which the sea broke with great violence, and part of which, I believe, is dry at low water. It extends N.W. and S.E., and is about five leagues in circuit. Our depth of water, from the time we weighed till now, was nine fathom, but it soon shallowed to seven fathom; and at half an hour after one, having run eleven miles between noon and that time, the boat which was a-head made the signal for shoal water; we immediately let go an anchor, and brought the ship up with all the sails standing, for the boat, having just been relieved, was at but a little distance: Upon looking out from the ship, we saw shoal water almost all round us, both wind and tide at the same time setting upon it. The ship was in six fathom, but upon sounding round her, at the distance of half a cable’s length, we found scarcely two. This shoal reached from the east, round by the north and west, as far as the south-west, so that there was no way for us to get clear but that which we came. This was