Thursday, 23rd August, 1770

Thursday, 23rd. In the P.M. had little wind and Variable, with which and the Tide of Flood we keept advancing to the West-North-West; depth of Water 8, 7, and 5 fathoms. At 1/2 past 1 the pinnace, which was ahead, made the Signal for Shoal Water, upon which we Tackt and sent away the Yawl to sound also, and then Tack’d again, and stood after them with the Ship; 2 hours after this they both at once made the Signal for having Shoal water. I was afraid to stand on for fear of running aground at that time of the Tide, and therefore came to an Anchor in 1/4 less 7 fathoms, sandy ground. Wallice’s Islands bore South by West 1/2 West, distant 5 or 6 Miles, the Islands to the Northward extending from North 73 degrees East to North 10 degrees East, and a small island just in sight bearing North-West 1/2 West. Here we found the flood Tide set to the Westward and Ebb to the Contrary. After we had come to Anchor I sent away the Master with the Long boat to sound, who, upon his return in the evening, reported that there was a bank stretching North and South, upon which were 3 fathoms Water, and behind it 7 fathoms. We had it Calm all Night and until 9 in the morning, at which time we weigh’d, with a light breeze at South-South-East, and steer’d North-West by West for the Small Island above mentioned, having first sent the Boats ahead to sound; depth of Water 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, and 3 fathoms when upon the Bank, it being now the last Quarter Ebb. At this time the most Northermost Islands we had in sight bore North 9 degrees East; the South-West point of the largest Islands on the North-West side of the Passage, which I named Cape Cornwall, bore East; distant 3 Leagues. This bank, at least so much as we sounded, extends nearly North and South, how far I cannot say; its breadth, however, is not more than 1/4 or at most 1/2 a Mile. Being over the Bank, we deepned our water to a 1/4 less 7 fathoms, which depth we carried all the way to the small Island ahead, which we reached by Noon, at which time it bore South, distant near 1/2 a Mile; depth of Water 5 fathoms. The most northermost land we had in sight (being part of the same Chain of Islands we have had to the Northward of us since we entered the Passage) bore North 71 degrees East; Latitude in, by Observation, 10 degrees 33 minutes South, Longitude 219 degrees 22 minutes West. In this situation we had no part of the Main land in sight. Being now near the island, and having but little wind, Mr. Banks and I landed upon it, and found it to be mostly a barren rock frequented by Birds, such as Boobies, a few of which we shott, and occasioned my giving it the name of Booby Island. I made but very short stay at this Island before I return’d to the Ship; in the meantime the wind had got to the South-West, and although it blow’d but very faint, yet it was accompanied with a Swell from the same quarter. This, together with other concuring Circumstances, left me no room to doubt but we had got to the Westward of Carpentaria, or the Northern extremity of New Holland, and had now an open Sea to the Westward; which gave me no small satisfaction, not only because the danger and fatigues of the Voyage was drawing near to an end, but by being able to prove that New Holland and New Guinea are 2 separate Lands or Islands, which until this day hath been a doubtful point with Geographers.


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