Tuesday, 21st. Winds at East by South and East-South-East, fresh breeze. By one o’Clock we had run nearly the length of the Southermost of the 2 Islands before mentioned, and finding that we could not well go to windward of them without carrying us too far from the Main land, we bore up, and run to Leeward, where we found a fair open passage. This done, we steer’d North by West, in a parrallel direction with the Main land, leaving a small Island between us and it, and some low sandy Isles and Shoals without us, all of which we lost sight of by 4 o’Clock; neither did we see any more before the sun went down, at which time the farthest part of the Main in sight bore North-North-West 1/2 West. Soon after this we Anchor’d in 13 fathoms, soft Ground, about five Leagues from the Land, where we lay until day light, when we got again under sail, having first sent the Yawl ahead to sound. We steer’d North-North-West by Compass from the Northermost land in sight; Variation 3 degrees 6 minutes East. Seeing no danger in our way we took the Yawl in Tow, and made all the Sail we could until 8 o’Clock, at which time we discover’d Shoals ahead and on our Larboard bow, and saw that the Northermost land, which we had taken to be a part of the Main, was an Island, or Islands, between which and the Main their appeared to be a good Passage thro’ which we might pass by running to Leeward of the Shoals on our Larboard bow, which was now pretty near us. Whereupon we wore and brought too, and sent away the Pinnace and Yawl to direct us clear of the Shoals, and then stood after them. Having got round the South-East point of the Shoal we steer’d North-West along the South-West, or inside of it, keeping a good lookout at the Masthead, having another Shoal on our Larboard side; but we found a good Channel of a Mile broad between them, wherein were from 10 to 14 fathoms. At 11 o’Clock, being nearly the length of the Islands above mentioned, and designing to pass between them and the Main, the Yawl, being thrown a stern by falling in upon a part of the Shoal, She could not get over. We brought the Ship too, and Sent away the Long boat (which we had a stern, and rigg’d) to keep in Shore upon our Larboard bow, and the Pinnace on our Starboard; for altho’ there appear’d nothing in the Passage, yet I thought it necessary to take this method, because we had a strong flood, which carried us on end very fast, and it did not want much of high water. As soon as the Boats were ahead we stood after them, and got through by noon, at which time we were by observation in the Latitude of 10 degrees 36 minutes 30 seconds South. The nearest part of the Main, and which we soon after found to be the Northermost, bore West southerly, distant 3 or 4 Miles; the Islands which form’d the passage before mentioned extending from North to North 75 degrees East, distant 2 or 3 Miles. At the same time we saw Islands at a good distance off extending from North by West to West-North-West, and behind them another chain of high land, which we likewise judged to be Islands. The Main land we thought extended as far as North 71 degrees West; but this we found to be Islands. The point of the Main, which forms one side of the Passage before mentioned, and which is the Northern Promontory of this Country, I have named York Cape, in honour of his late Royal Highness, the Duke of York. It lies in the Longitude of 218 degrees 24 minutes West, the North point in the Latitude of 10 degrees 37 minutes South, and the East point in 10 degrees 41 minutes. The land over and to the Southward of this last point is rather low and very flatt as far inland as the Eye could reach, and looks barren. To the Southward of the Cape the Shore forms a large open bay, which I called Newcastle bay, wherein are some small, low Islands and shoals, and the land all about it is very low, flatt, and sandy. The land on the Northern part of the Cape is rather more hilly, and the shore forms some small bays, wherein there appear’d to be good Anchorage, and the Vallies appear’d to be tolerably well Cloathed with wood. Close to the East point of the Cape are 3 small Islands, and a small Ledge of rocks spitting off from one of them. There is also an Island laying close to the North Point. The other Islands before spoke of lay about 4 Miles without these; only two of them are of any extent. The Southermost is the largest, and much higher than any part of the Main land. On the North-West side of this Island seem’d to be good Anchorage, and Vallies that to all appearance would afford both wood and fresh Water. These Isles are known in the Chart by the name of York Isles. To the Southward and South-East of them, and even to the Eastward and Northward, are several low Islands, rocks, and Shoals. Our depth of Water in sailing between them and the Main was 12, 13, and 14 fathoms.
August 21, 2013
Tuesday, 21st August, 1770
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