A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 13 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 794 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 13.

As I was not able to satisfy myself from any chart, what land it was that I saw to leeward, and fearing that it might trend away more southerly, the weather also being so hazy that we could not see far, I steered S.W., and by four had lost sight of the island.  I was now sure that no part of it lay to the southward of 8 deg. 15’ S., and continued standing to the S.W. with an easy sail, and a fresh breeze at S.E. by E. and E.S.E.:  We sounded every hour, but had no bottom with 120 fathom.

At day-break in the morning, we steered W.S.W., and afterwards W. by S., which by noon brought us into the latitude of 9 deg. 30’ S., longitude 229 deg. 34’ W., and by our run from New Guinea, we ought to have been within sight of Weasel Isles, which in the charts are laid down at the distance of twenty or twenty-five leagues from the coast of New Holland; we however saw nothing, and therefore they must have been placed erroneously; nor can this be thought strange, when it is considered that not only these islands, but the coast which bounds this sea, have been discovered and explored by different people, and at different times, and the charts upon which they are delineated, put together by others, perhaps at the distance of more than a century after the discoveries had been made; not to mention that the discoverers themselves had not all the requisites for keeping an accurate journal, of which those of the present age are possessed.

We continued our course, steering W. till the evening of the 8th, when the variation of the compass, by several azimuths, was 12’ W., and by the amplitude 5’ W. At noon, on the 9th, our latitude, by observation, was 9 deg. 46’ S., longitude 232 deg. 7’ W. For the last two days we had steered due W., yet, by observation, we made sixteen miles southing, six miles from noon on the 6th to noon on the 7th, and ten miles from noon on the 7th to noon on the 8th, by which it appeared that there was a current setting to the southward.  At sun-set, we found the variation to be 2 W., and at the same time, saw an appearance of very high land bearing N.W.

In the morning of the 10th, we saw clearly that what had appeared to be land the night before, was Timor.  At noon, our latitude, by observation, was 10 deg. 1’ S., which was fifteen miles to the southward of that given by the log; our longitude, by observation, was 233 deg. 27’ W. We steered N.W. in order to obtain a more distinct view of the land in sight, till four o’clock in the morning of the 11th, when the wind came to the N.W. and W., with which we stood to the southward till nine, when we tacked and stood N.W., having the wind now at W.S.W.  At sun-rise the land had appeared to extend from W.N.W. to N.E., and at noon, we could see it extend to the westward as far as W. by S. 1/2 S. but no farther to the eastward than N. by E. We were now well assured, that as the first land we had seen was Timor, the last island we had passed was Timor Laoet, or Laut.[104]

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