In the evening we passed by Cape Mabo; and afterwards steered away south-east half east, keeping along the shore which here trends south-easterly. The next morning, seeing a large opening in the land with an island near the south side, I stood in, thinking to anchor there. When we were shot in within 2 leagues of the island the wind came to the west, which blows right into the opening. I stood to the north shore; intending, when I came pretty nigh, to send my boat into the opening, and sound before I would adventure in. We found several deep bays, but no soundings within 2 miles of the shore; therefore I stood off again. Then, seeing a rippling under our lee, I sent my boat to sound on it; which returned in half an hour and brought me word that the rippling we saw was only a tide, and that they had no ground there.
Navigation among the islands.
The author’s return from the coast of new guinea.
The wind seeming to incline to east, as might be expected according to the season of the year, I rather chose to shape my course as these winds would best permit than strive to return the same way we came; which, for many leagues, must have been against this monsoon: though indeed, on the other hand, the dangers in that way we already knew; but what might be in this by which we now proposed to return we could not tell.
A deep channel.
We were now in a channel about 8 on 9 leagues wide, having a range of islands on the north side, and another on the south side, and very deep water between, so that we had no ground. The 22nd of April in the morning I sent my boat ashore to an island on the north side, and stood that way with the ship. They found no ground till within a cable’s length of the shore, and then had coral rocks; so that they could not catch any fish, though they saw a great many. They brought aboard a small canoe, which they found adrift. They met with no game ashore save only one party-coloured parakeet. The land is of an indifferent height; very rocky, yet clothed with tall trees, whose bare roots run along upon the rocks. Our people saw a pond of salt-water but found no fresh. Near this island we met a pretty strong tide but found neither tide nor current off at some distance.
On the 24th, being about 2 leagues from an island to the southward of us, we came over a shoal on which we had but 5 fathom and a half. We did not descry it till we saw the ground under us. In less than half an hour before the boat had been sounding in discoloured water, but had no ground. We manned the boat presently and towed the ship about; and then sounding had 12, 15, and 17 fathom, and then no ground with our hand-lead. The shoal was rocky; but in 12 and 15 fathom we had oazy ground.