To the southward of Point Pringle, the coast is formed into a fifth bay; of which this point is the northern extreme; and from it to the southern extreme, is about four miles in the direction of S.S.E. 1/4 E. In this bay, which obtained the name of White Bay, on account of some white spots of land or rocks in the bottom of it, are several lesser bays or coves, which seemed to be sheltered from all winds. Off the south point are several rocks which raise their heads above water; and, probably, many more than do that.
Thus far our course was in a direction parallel to the coast, and not more than two miles from it. Thither our glasses were continually pointed; and we could easily see that, except the bottoms of the bays and coves, which, for the most part, terminated in sandy beaches, the shores were rocky, and, in many places, swarmed with birds; but the country had the same barren and naked appearance as in the neighbourhood of Christmas Harbour.
We had kept, on our larboard bow, the land which first opened off Cape St Louis, in the direction of S. 53 deg. E., thinking that it was an island, and that we should find a passage between it and the main. We now discovered this to be a mistake; and found that it was a peninsula, joined to the rest of the coast by a low isthmus. I called the bay, formed by this peninsula, Repulse Bay; and a branch of it seemed to run a good way inland towards the S.S.W. Leaving this, we steered for the northern point of the peninsula, which we named Howe’s Foreland, in honour of Admiral Lord Howe.
[Footnote 116: Cape Francois.]
As we drew near it, we perceived some rocks and breakers near the N.W. part; and two islands a league and a half to the eastward of it, which, at first, appeared as one. I steered between them and the Foreland; and was in the middle of the channel by noon. At that time our latitude, by observation, was 48 deg. 51’ S.; and we had made twenty-six miles of east longitude from Cape St Louis.
[Footnote 117: Though Kerguelen’s ships, in 1773, did not venture to explore this part of the coast, Monsieur de Pages’s account of it answers well to Captain Cook’s. “Du 17 au 23, l’on ne prit d’autre connoissance que celle de la figure de la cote, qui, courant d’abord au Sud-Est, & revenant ensuite au Nord-Est, formoit un grand golfe. Il etoit occupe par des brisans & des rochers; il avoit aussi une isle basse, & assez etendue, & l’on usa d’une bien soigneuse precaution, pour ne pas s’affaler dans ce golfe.”—Voyage du M. de Pages, tom. ii. p. 67.—D.]
[Footnote 118: Cape Francois.]
From this situation, the most advanced land to the southward bore S.E.; but the trending of the coast from the Foreland was more southerly. The islands which lie off Christmas Harbour bore N.; and the north point of the Foreland N. 60 deg. W., distant three miles. The land of this Peninsula, or Foreland, is of a moderate height, and of a hilly and rocky substance. The coast is low, with rocky points shooting out from it; between which points are little coves, with sandy beaches; and these, at this time, were mostly covered with sea birds. We also saw upon them some seals.