A Voyage to the South Sea eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 274 pages of information about A Voyage to the South Sea.

I know not how far this reef extends.  It may be a continuation or a detached part of the range of shoals that surround the coast.  I believe the mountainous islands to be separate from the shoals, and have no doubt that near them may be found good passages for ships.  But I rather recommend to those who are to pass this strait from the eastward to take their direction from the coast of New Guinea:  yet I likewise think that a ship coming from the southward will find a fair strait in the latitude of 10 degrees south.  I much wished to have ascertained this point but in our distressful situation any increase of fatigue or loss of time might have been attended with the most fatal consequences.  I therefore determined to pass on without delay.

As an addition to our dinner of bread and water I served to each person six oysters.

At two o’clock in the afternoon as we were steering to the south-west towards the westernmost part of the land in sight we fell in with some large sandbanks that run off from the coast:  I therefore called this Shoal Cape.  We were obliged to steer to the northward again till we got round the shoals, when I directed the course to the west.

At four o’clock the westernmost of the islands to the northward bore north four leagues; Wednesday Island east by north five leagues, and shoal cape south-east by east two leagues.  A small island was seen bearing west, at which we arrived before dark and found that it was only a rock where boobies resort, for which reason I called it Booby Island.  Here terminated the rocks and shoals of the north part of New Holland for except Booby Island no land was seen to the westward of south after three o’clock this afternoon.

I find that Booby island was seen by Captain Cook and, by a remarkable coincidence of ideas, received from him the same name, but I cannot with certainty reconcile the situation of some parts of the coast that I have seen to his survey.  I ascribe this to the various forms in which land appears when seen from the different heights of a ship and a boat.  The chart I have given is by no means meant to supersede that made by Captain Cook, who had better opportunities than I had and was in every respect properly provided for surveying.  The intention of mine is chiefly to render this narrative more intelligible, and to show in what manner the coast appeared to me from an open boat.  I have little doubt but that the opening which I named the Bay of Islands is Endeavour Straits; and that our track was to the northward of Prince of Wales’ Isles.  Perhaps, by those who shall hereafter navigate these seas, more advantage may be derived from the possession of both our charts than from either of them singly.

CHAPTER 17.

Passage from New Holland to the Island Timor.  Arrive at Coupang.  Reception there.

June 1789.

Wednesday 3.

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