The Part Borne by the Dutch in the Discovery of Australia 1606-1765 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 186 pages of information about The Part Borne by the Dutch in the Discovery of Australia 1606-1765.

A.

Woeful diurnal annotations [of Commander PELSAERT] touching the loss of our ship Batavia, run aground on the Abrolhos, or rocks of Fredrick Houtman, situated in 281/2 degrees S. Lat., at 9 miles’ distance from the Southland.

On the fourth of June [1619], it being Whitmonday, with a light, clear full moon, about two hours before daybreak...I felt the ship’s rudder strike the rocks with a violent horrible shock.  Upon which the ship’s course was forthwith checked by the rocks...I rushed on deck, and found all the sails atop; the wind south-west; our course during the night had been north-east by north, and we were now lying amidst thick foam.  Still, at the moment, the breakers round the ship were not violent, but shortly after the sea was heard to run upon us with great vehemence on all sides...

[When] day broke, we found ourselves surrounded by cliffs and shoals...

I saw no land that I thought would remain above water at high tide, except an island, which by estimation was fully three miles from the ship.  I therefore sent the skipper to two small islets or cliffs, in order to ascertain whether our men and part of our cargo could be landed there.  About 9 o’clock the skipper returned, informing me that it was well-nigh impossible to get through the rocks and cliffs, the pinnace running aground in one place, and the water being several fathom deep in another.  As far as he could judge, the islands would remain above water at high tide.  Therefore, moved by the loud lamentations raised on board by women, children, sick people, and faint-hearted men, we thought it best first to land the greater part of our people...

[On June 5] at their earnest instances to move me, it was determined, as shown by the resolution, that we should try to find fresh water in the neighbouring islands, or on the mainland coast in order to save their lives and our own; and that, if no water should be found, we should in that case at the mercy of God with the pinnace continue our voyage to Batavia, there to make known our calamitous and unheard-of disasters...

{Page 56}

This day the 6th do...[we] set sail in the pinnace, and on this day touched at two separate islands, where we found at best some brackish water, which had collected in the cavities of the rocks on the beach after the rain, but it was largely mixed with seawater.  On the 7th do. we remained here, in order to repair our pinnace with a plank, for we found that without this it would have been impossible to reach the mainland...

On the 8th do. in the morning we set sail from this island for the mainland...

At noon we were in 28 deg. 13’ Lat., and shortly after sighted the mainland, which we estimated to lie 6 miles north by west of our ship.  The wind blew from the west, and we sounded 25 and 30 fathom about 3 o’clock in the afternoon.  During the night we kept off the land, and after midnight shaped our course for it again.

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The Part Borne by the Dutch in the Discovery of Australia 1606-1765 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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