Plying on the new guinea coast.
Departure from Timor.
On the 12th of December 1699 we sailed from Babao, coasting along the island Timor to the eastward towards New Guinea. It was the 20th before we got as far as Laphao, which is but forty leagues. We saw black clouds in the north-west and expected the wind from that quarter above a month sooner.
The islands Omba and Fetter.
That afternoon we saw the opening between the islands Omba and Fetter, but feared to pass through in the night. At two o’clock in the morning it fell calm; and continued so till noon, in which time we drove with the current back again south-west six or seven leagues.
On the 22nd, steering to the eastward to get through between Omba and Fetter, we met a very strong tide against us, so that we, although we had a very fresh gale, yet made way very slowly; yet before night got through. By a good observation we found that the south-east point of Omba lies in latitude 8 degrees 25 minutes. In my charts it is laid down in 8 degrees 10 minutes. My true course from Babao is east 25 degrees north, distance one hundred and eighty-three miles. We sounded several times when near Omba, but had no ground. On the north-east point of Omba we saw four or five men, and a little further three pretty houses on a low point, but did not go ashore.
At five this afternoon we had a tornado which yielded much rain, thunder and lightning; yet we had but little wind. The 24th in the morning we caught a large shark, which gave all the ship’s company a plentiful meal.
A burning island.
The 27th we saw the burning island, it lies in latitude 6 degrees 36 minutes south; it is high and but small. It runs from the sea a little sloping towards the top; which is divided in the middle into two peaks, between which issued out much smoke: I have not seen more from any volcano. I saw no trees; but the north side appeared green, and the rest looked very barren.
Their missing the turtle isles.
Having passed the burning island I shaped my course for two islands called Turtle Isles which lie north-east by east a little easterly, and distant about fifty leagues from the burning isle. I, fearing the wind might veer to the eastward of the north, steered 20 leagues north-east, then north-east by east. On the 28th we saw two small low islands called Luca Paros, to the north of us. At noon I accounted myself 20 leagues short of the Turtle Isles.