[Footnote 102: An interesting enough subject for enquiry is here started. We shall, in another part of our work, have to give it some attention.—E.]
The Passage from New Guinea to the Island of Semau, and the Transactions there.
[Footnote 103: It is quite unnecessary, and would answer no good purpose, to occupy the reader’s attention with any geographical notes respecting the islands mentioned in this section. Subsequent voyages, and other publications, have greatly enriched our acquaintance with this subject; but it would make sad patch-work to detail it here. The reader will do better to amuse himself with the narrative for the present, and to reserve study for a future occasion.—E.]
We made sail, from noon on Monday the 3d, to noon on Tuesday the 4th, standing to the westward, and all the time kept in soundings, having from fourteen to thirty fathom; not regular, but sometimes more, sometimes less. At noon on the 4th, we were in fourteen fathom, and latitude 6 deg. 44’ S., longitude 223 deg. 51’ W.; our course and distance since the 3d, at noon, were S. 76 W., one hundred and twenty miles to the westward. At noon on the 5th of September, we were in latitude 7 deg. 25’ S., longitude 225 deg. 41’ W., having been in soundings the whole time from ten to twenty fathom.
At half an hour after one in the morning of the next day, we passed a small island which bore from us N.N.W., distant between three and four miles; and at day-light we discovered another low island, extending from N.N.W. to N.N.E., distant about two or three leagues. Upon this island, which did not appear to be very small, I believe I should have landed to examine its produce, if the wind had not blown too fresh to admit of it. When we passed this island we had only ten fathom water, with a rocky bottom, and therefore I was afraid of running down to leeward, lest I should meet with shoal water and foul ground. These islands have no place in the charts except they are the Arrou islands; and if these, they are laid down much too far from New Guinea. I found the south part of them to lie in latitude 7 deg. 6’ S., longitude 225 deg. W.
We continued to steer W.S.W., at the rate of four miles and a half an hour, till ten o’clock at night, when we had forty-two fathom, at eleven we had thirty-seven, at twelve forty-five, at one in the morning, forty-nine, and at three, 120, after which we had no ground. At day-light we made all the sail we could, and at ten o’clock saw land extending from N.N.W. to W. by N., distant between five and six leagues: At noon it bore from N. to W., and at about the same distance: It appeared to be level, and of a moderate height; by our distance from New Guinea, it ought to have been part of the Arrou Islands, but it lies a degree farther to the south than any of these islands are laid down in the charts; and, by the latitude, should be Timor Laoet: We sounded, but had no ground with fifty fathom.