To enable me to form a better judgment, I dispatched Mr Gore, with two armed boats, to examine the northern arm; and the master, with two other boats, to examine another arm that seemed to take an easterly direction. Late in the evening they both returned. The master reported, that the arm he had been sent to, communicated with that from which we had last come; and that one side of it was only formed by a group of islands. Mr Gore informed me, that he had seen the entrance of an arm, which, he was of opinion, extended a long way to the N.E.; and that, probably by it, a passage might be found. On the other hand, Mr Roberts, one of the mates, whom I had sent with Mr Gore to sketch out the parts they had examined, was of opinion, that they saw the head of this arm. The disagreement of these two opinions, and the circumstance already mentioned of the flood-tide entering the Sound from the south, rendered the existence of a passage this way very doubtful. And, as the wind in the morning had become favourable for getting out to sea, I resolved to spend no more time in searching for a passage in a place that promised so little success. Besides this, I considered, that, if the land on the west should prove to be islands, agreeably to the late Russian Discoveries, we could not fail of getting far enough to the north, and that in good time, provided we did not lose the season in searching places, where a passage was not only doubtful, but improbable. We were now upward of five hundred and twenty leagues to the westward of any part of Baffin’s, or of Hudson’s Bay. And whatever passage there may be, it must be, or, at least, part of it, must lie to the north of latitude 72 deg.. Who could expect to find a passage or strait of such extent?
[Footnote 10: Captain Cook seems to take his ideas of these from Mr Staehlin’s map, prefixed to the account of the Northern Archipelago, published by Dr Maty. London, 1774.—D.]
[Footnote 11: On what evidence Captain Cook formed his judgment as to this, is mentioned in the Introduction.—D.]
Having thus taken my resolution, next morning at three o’clock, we weighed, and with a gentle breeze at north, proceeded to the southward down the inlet, and met with the same broken ground, as on the preceding day. However, we soon extricated ourselves from it, and afterward never struck ground with a line of forty fathoms. Another passage into this inlet was now discovered to the S.W. of that by which we came in, which enabled us to shorten our way out to sea. It is separated from the other by an island, extending eighteen leagues in the direction of N.E. and S.W.; to which I gave the name of Montagu Island.
In this S.W. channel are several islands. Those that lie in the entrance, next the open sea, are high and rocky. But those within are low ones; and being entirely free from snow, and covered with wood and verdure, on this account they were called Green Islands.