Wednesday, 30th. In the P.M. I went again in search of Fresh Water, but had no better success than before; wherefore I gave over all thoughts of laying the Ship a Shore, being resolved to spend as little time as possible in a place that was likely to afford us no sort of refreshment. But as I had observed from the Hills the inlet to run a good way in, I thought this a good time to penetrate into the Country to see a little of the inland parts. Accordingly I prepared for making that Excursion in the morning, but the first thing I did was to get upon a pretty high Hill, which is at the North-West entrance of the inlet, before Sunrise, in order to take a view of the Sea Coast and Islands, etc., that lay off it, and to take their bearings, having the Azimuth Compass with me for that purpose, the Needle of which differ’d from its True position something very considerable, even above 30 degrees, in some places more, and in other less, for I try’d it in several places. I found it differ in itself above 2 points in the space of about 14 feet. The loose stones which lay upon the Ground had no effect upon the Needle; I therefore concluded that it must be owing to Iron Ore upon the Hill, visible signs of which appeared not only here, but in several other places. As soon as I had done here I proceeded up the inlet. I set out with the first of the flood, and long before high water got about 8 Leagues up it; its breadth thus far was from 2 to 4 or 5 Miles upon a South-West by South direction; but here it spread every way, and formed a Large lake, which communicated with the Sea to the North-West. I not only saw the Sea in this direction, but found the tide of flood coming strong in from the North-West. I likewise observ’d an Arm of this Lake extending to the Eastward, and it is not at all improbable but what it Communicates with the Sea in the bottom of the bay, which lies to the Westward of Cape Townshend. On the South side of the Lake is a ridge of pretty high hills, which I was desirous of going upon; but as the day was far spent and high water, I was afraid of being bewilder’d among the Shoals in the night, which promised to be none of the best, being already rainy, dirty weather, and therefore I made the best of my way to the Ship. In this little Excursion I saw only 2 people, and those at a distance, and are all that we have seen in this place, but we have met with several fire places, and seen smokes at a distance. This inlet, which I have named Thirsty Sound, by reason we could find no fresh Water, lies in the Latitude of 22 degrees 05 minutes South, and Longitude 210 degrees 24 West; it may be known by a Group of small Islands Laying under the shore from 2 to 5 Leagues North-West from it. There is likewise another Group of Islands laying right before it between 3 and 4 Leagues out at Sea. Over each of the Points that form the Entrance is a pretty high, round Hill; that on the North-West is a Peninsula, surrounded by the Sea at high water; the distance from the one to the other is about 2 Miles bold to both Shores. Here is good Anchoring in 7, 6, 5, and 4 fathoms water, and very Convenient places for laying a Ship ashore, where at Spring Tides the tides doth not rise less than 16 or 18 feet, and flows at full and Change of the Moon about 11 o’Clock. We met with no fresh water, or any other kind of refreshments whatever; we saw 2 Turtle, but caught none, nor no sort of Fish or wild fowl, except a few small land birds. Here are the same sort of Water Fowl as we saw in Botany Bay, and like them, so shy that it is hardly possible to get within shott of them. No signs of Fertility is to be seen upon the Land; the Soil of the up lands is mostly a hard, redish Clay, and produceth several sorts of Trees, such as we have seen before, and some others, and clear of all underwoods. All the low lands are mostly overrun with Mangroves, and at Spring tides overflow’d by the Sea; and I believe in the rainy Seasons here are large land floods, as we saw in many places Gullies, which seem’d to have been made by torrents of Water coming from the Adjacent hills, besides other Visible signs of the Water having been a Considerable height above the Common Spring Tides. Dr. Solander and I was upon a rising Ground up the inlet, which we thought had at one time or another been overflow’d by the Sea, and if so great part of the Country must at that time been laid under Water. Up in the lakes, or lagoons, I suppose, are shell fish, on which the few Natives subsist. We found Oysters sticking to most of the Rocks upon the Shore, which were so small, as not to be worth the picking off.
May 30, 2013
Wednesday, 30th May, 1770