Return from Cape North, along the Coast of Asia.—Views of the Country.—Burner’s Island.—Cape Serdze Kamen, the Northern Limit of Beering’s Voyage.—Pass the East Cape of Asia.—Description and Situation of it.—Observations on Muller.—The Tschutski.—Bay of Saint Laurence.—Two other Bays, and Habitations of the Natives.—Beering’s Cape Tschukotskoi.—Beering’s Position of this Coast accurate.—Island of Saint Laurence.—Pass to the American Coast.—Cape Darby.—Bald Head.—Cape Denbigh, on a Peninsula.—Besborough Island.—Wood and Water procured.—Visits from the Natives.—Their Persons and Habitations.—Produce of the Country.—Marks that the Peninsula had formerly been surrounded by the Sea.—Lieutenant King’s Report.—Norton Sound.—Lunar Observations there.—Staehlin’s Map proved to be erroneous,—Plan of future Operations.
After having stood off till we got into eighteen fathoms water, I bore up to the eastward, along the coast, which, by this time; it was pretty certain, could only be the continent of Asia. As the wind blew fresh, with a very heavy fall of snow, and a thick mist, it was necessary to proceed with great caution. I therefore brought-to for a few hours in the night.
At day-break, on the 30th, we made sail, and steered such a course as I thought would bring us in with the land, being in a great measure guided by the lead. For the weather was as thick as ever, and it snowed incessantly. At ten, we got sight of the coast, bearing S.W., four miles distant; and presently after, having shoaled the water to seven fathoms, we hauled off. At this time, a very low point, or spit, bore S.S.W., two or three miles distant; to the E. of which there appeared to be a narrow channel, leading into some water that we saw over the point. Probably the lake before mentioned communicates here with the sea.
At noon, the mist dispersing for a short interval, we had a tolerably good view of the coast, which extended from S.E. to N.W. by W. Some parts appeared higher than others; but in general it was very low, with high land farther up the country. The whole was now covered with snow, which had lately fallen quite down to the sea. I continued to range along the coast at two leagues distance, till ten at night, when we hauled off; but we resumed our course next morning, soon after day-break, when we got sight of the coast again, extending from W. to S.E. by S. At eight, the eastern part bore S., and proved to be an island, which at noon bore S.W. 1/2 S., four or five miles distant. It is about four or five miles in circuit, of a middling height, with a steep, rocky coast, situated about three leagues from the main, in the latitude of 67 deg. 45’, and distinguished in the chart by the name of Burney’s Island.
The inland country hereabout is full of hills, some of which are of a considerable height. The land was covered with snow, except a few spots upon the sea-coast, which still continued low, but less so than farther westward. For the two preceding days, the mean height of the mercury in the thermometer had been very little above the freezing point, and often below it; so that the water in the vessels upon the deck was frequently covered with a sheet of ice.