Sunday, 26th. Fresh breezes at East in standing to the North-West. We began to Shoalden our water from 9 to 7 fathoms, and at 1/2 past one, having run 11 Miles since Noon, the boat which was a head made the signal for Shoal Water, immediately upon which we let go an Anchor, and brought the Ship up with the sails standing as the boats was but a little way ahead, having but just relieved the Crew, and at same time we saw from the Ship Shoal Water in a manner all round us, and both wind and Tide setting upon it. We lay in 6 fathoms with the Ship, but upon sounding about her found hardly 2 fathoms, a very rocky bottom, not much above 1/2 a cable’s length from us from the east round by the North and West as far as South-West, so that there was no way to get clear but the way we came. This was one of the many Fortunate Escapes we have had from Shipwreck, for it was near high water, and there run a short cockling sea that would soon have bulged the Ship had she struck. These Shoals that lay a fathom or 2 under Water are the most dangerous of any, for they do not shew themselves until you are close upon them, and then the water upon them looks brown like the reflection of dark clouds. Between 3 and 4 the Ebb began to make, when I sent the Master to sound to the Southward and South Westward, and in the meantime, as the Ship tended, hove up the Anchor, and with a little Sail stood to the Southward and afterwards edged away to the Westward, and got once more out of danger, where at sun set we Anchor’d in 10 fathoms Sandy bottom. Having a fresh of wind at East-South-East, at 6 o’clock in the morning we weighed and stood West, with a fresh of wind at East, having first sent a boat ahead to sound. I did intend to have steer’d North-West until we had made the Coast of New Guinea, designing if Possible to touch upon that Coast, but the meeting with these Shoals last night made me Alter the Course to West, in hopes of meeting with fewer dangers and deeper Water; and this we found, for by Noon we had deepned our water gradually to 17 fathoms, and this time we were by observation in the Latitude of 10 degrees 10 minutes South, Longitude 220 degrees 12 minutes West. Course and distance sail’d since yesterday at noon North 76 degrees West, 11 Leagues, no land in sight.
August 26, 2013
Sunday, 26th August, 1770
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