On the fifth of November, at midnight, we made the coast of China; and the next day, about two o’clock, as we were standing to the westward within two leagues of the coast, and still surrounded by fishing vessels in as great numbers as at first, we perceived that a boat a-head of us waved a red flag, and blew a horn; This we considered as a signal made to us, either to warn us of some shoal, or to inform us that they would supply us with a pilot, and in this belief we immediately sent our cutter to the boat, to know their intentions; but we were soon made sensible of our mistake, and found that this boat was the commodore of the whole fishery, and that the signal she had made, was to order them all to leave off fishing, and to return in shore, which we saw them instantly obey. On this disappointment we kept on our course, and soon after passed by two very small rocks, which lay four or five miles distant from the shore; but night came on before we got sight of Pedro Blanco, and we therefore brought-to till the morning, when we had the satisfaction to discover it. It is a rock of a small circumference, but of a moderate height, and, both in shape and colour, resembles a sugar-loaf, and is about seven or eight miles from the shore. We passed within a mile and a half of it, and left it between us and the land, still keeping on to the westward; and the next day, being the 7th, we were a-breast of a chain of islands, which stretched from east to west. These, as we afterwards found, were called the islands of Lema; they are rocky and barren, and are in all, small and great, fifteen or sixteen; and there are, besides, a great number of other islands between them and the main land of China. These islands we left on the star-board side, passing within four miles of them, where we had twenty-four fathom water. We were still surrounded by fishing-boats; and we once more sent the cutter on board one of them, to endeavour to procure a pilot, but could not prevail; however, one of the Chinese directed us by signs to sail round the westermost of the islands, or rocks of Lema, and then to hale up. We followed this direction; and in the evening came to an anchor in eighteen fathom.
[Footnote 6: Called Grand Lema in Arrowsmith’s map, and touched at by the Lion in 1793.—E.]
On the 9th at four in the morning, we sent our cutter to sound the channel, where we proposed to pass; but before the return of the cutter, a Chinese pilot put on board us, and told us, in broken Portuguese, he would carry us to Macao for thirty dollars: These were immediately paid him, and we then weighed and made sail; and soon after, several other pilots came on board us, who, to recommend themselves, produced certificates from the captains of several ships they had piloted in, but we continued the ship under the management of the Chinese who came first on board. By this time we learnt, that we were not far distant from Macao, and that there were in the river of Canton,