In the afternoon, I went upon Cape St Louis, accompanied by Mr King, my second lieutenant. I was in hopes, from this elevation, to have had a view of the sea-coast, and of the islands lying off it. But, when I got up, I found every distant object below me hid in a thick fog. The land on the same plain, or of a greater height, was visible enough, and appeared naked and desolate in the highest degree, except some hills to the southward, which were covered with snow.
[Footnote 114: Cape Francois.—D.]
When I got on board, I found the launch hoisted in, the ships unmoored, and ready to put to sea; but our sailing was deferred till five o’clock the next morning, when we weighed anchor.
[Footnote 115: The reader is probably not a little wearied with Dr Douglas’s minute comparisons of Kerguelen’s and Cook’s accounts of the lands in question, which indeed seem unworthy of so much concern. It was of consequence, however, to guard our navigator’s reputation; and some persons may relish the discussion, as exhibiting the acumen and good sense which the detector of the infamous Lauder, and the author of “The Criterion,” so eminently possessed.—E.]
Departure from Christmas Harbour.—Range along the Coast, to discover its Position and Extent.—Several Promontories and Bays, and a Peninsula, described and named.—Danger from Shoals.—Another Harbour and a Sound.—Mr Anderson’s Observations on the Natural Productions, Animals, Soil, &c. of. Kerguelen’s Land.
As soon as the ships were out of Christmas Harbour, we steered S.E. 1/2 S., along the coast, with a fine breeze at N.N.W., and clear weather. This we thought the more fortunate, as, for some time past, fogs had prevailed, more or less, every day; and the continuance of them would have defeated our plan of extending Kerguelen’s discovery. We kept the lead constantly going; but seldom struck ground with a line of fifty or sixty fathoms.
About seven or eight o’clock, we were off a promontory, which I called Cape Cumberland. It lies a league and a half from the south point of Christmas Harbour, in the direction of S.E. 1/2 S. Between them is a bay with two arms, both of which seemed to afford good shelter for shipping. Off Cape Cumberland is a small but pretty high island, on the summit of which is a rock like a sentry-box, which occasioned our giving that name to the island. Two miles farther to the eastward, lies a group of small islands and rocks, with broken ground about them: We sailed between these and Sentry-Box Island, the channel being a full mile broad, and more than forty fathoms deep; for we found no bottom with that length of line.
Being through this channel, we discovered, on the south side of Cape Cumberland, a bay, running in three leagues to the westward. It is formed by this Cape to the north, and by a promontory to the south, which I named Point Pringle, after my good friend Sir John Pringle, President of the Royal Society. The bottom of this bay was called Cumberland Bay; and it seemed to be disjoined from the sea, which washes the N.W. coast of this country, by a narrow neck of land. Appearances, at least, favoured such a conjecture.