Having described his voyage from Brazil to New Holland, this celebrated navigator thus proceeds:
About the latitude of 26 degrees south we saw an opening, and ran in, hoping to find a harbour there; but when we came to its mouth, which was about two leagues wide, we saw rocks and foul ground within, and therefore stood out again; there we had twenty fathom water within two miles of the shore: the land everywhere appeared pretty low, flat, and even, but with steep cliffs to the sea, and when we came near it there were no trees, shrubs, or grass to be seen. The soundings in the latitude of 26 degrees south, from about eight or nine leagues off till you come within a league of the shore, are generally about forty fathoms, differing but little, seldom above three or four fathoms; but the lead brings up very different sorts of sand, some coarse, some fine, and of several colours, as yellow, white, grey, brown, bluish, and reddish.
When I saw there was no harbour here, nor good anchoring, I stood off to sea again in the evening of the 2nd of August, fearing a storm on a lee~shore, in a place where there was no shelter, and desiring at least to have sea-room, for the clouds began to grow thick in the western-board, and the wind was already there and began to blow fresh almost upon the shore, which at this place lies along north-north-west and south-south~east. By nine o’clock at night we got a pretty good offing, but the wind still increasing, I took in my main-top-sail, being able to carry no more sail than two courses and the mizen. At two in the morning, August 3rd, it blew very hard, and the sea was much raised, so that I furled all my sails but my mainsail, though the wind blew so hard, we had pretty clear weather till noon, but then the whole sky was blackened with thick clouds, and we had some rain, which would last a quarter of an hour at a time, and then it would blow very fierce while the squalls of rain were over our heads, but as soon as they were gone the wind was by much abated, the stress of the storm being over; we sounded several times, but had no ground till eight o’clock, August the 4th, in the evening, and then had sixty fathom water, coral ground. At ten we had fifty-six fathom, fine sand. At twelve we had fifty-five fathom, fine sand, of a pale bluish colour. It was now pretty moderate weather, yet I made no sail till morning, but then the wind veering about to the south-west, I made sail and stood to the north, and at eleven o’clock the next day, August 5th, we saw land again, at about ten leagues distant. This noon we were in latitude 25 degrees 30 minutes, and in the afternoon our cook died, an old man, who had been sick a great while, being infirm before we came out of England.
The 6th of August, in the morning, we saw an opening in the land, and we ran into it, and anchored in seven and a half fathom water, two miles from the shore, clean sand. It was somewhat difficult getting in here, by reason of many shoals we met with; but I sent my boat sounding before me. The mouth of this sound, which I called Shark’s Bay, lies in about 25 degrees south latitude, and our reckoning made its longitude from the Cape of Good Hope to be about 87 degrees, which is less by one hundred and ninety-five leagues than is usually laid down in our common draughts, if our reckoning was right and our glasses did not deceive us. As soon as I came to anchor in this bay, I sent my boat ashore to seek for fresh water, but in the evening my men returned, having found none. The next morning I went ashore myself, carrying pickaxes and shovels with me, to dig for water, and axes to cut wood. We tried in several places for water, but finding none after several trials, nor in several miles compass, we left any further search for it, and spending the rest of the day in cutting wood, we went aboard at night.
The land is of an indifferent height, so that it may be seen nine or ten leagues off. It appears at a distance very even; but as you come nigher you find there are many gentle risings, though none steep or high. It is all a steep shore against the open sea; but in this bay or sound we were now in, the land is low by the seaside, rising gradually in with the land. The mould is sand by the seaside, producing a large sort of samphire, which bears a white flower. Farther in the mould is reddish, a sort of sand, producing some grass, plants, and shrubs. The grass grows in great tufts as big as a bushel, here and there a tuft, being intermixed with much heath, much of the kind we have growing on our commons in England. Of trees or shrubs here are divers sorts, but none above ten feet high, their bodies about three feet about, and five or six feet high before you come to the branches, which are bushy, and composed of small twigs there spreading abroad, though thick set and full of leaves, which were mostly long and narrow. The colour of the leaves was on one side whitish, and on the other green, and the bark of the trees was generally of the same colour with the leaves, of a pale green. Some of these trees were sweet-scented, and reddish within the bark, like sassafras, but redder. Most of the trees and shrubs had at this time either blossoms or berries on them. The blossoms of the different sorts of trees were of several colours, as red, white, yellow, etc., but mostly blue, and these generally smelt very sweet and fragrant, as did some also of the rest. There were also besides some plants, herbs, and tall flowers, some very small flowers growing on the ground, that were sweet and beautiful, and, for the most part, unlike any I had seen elsewhere.
There were but few land fowls. We saw none but eagles of the larger sorts of birds, but five or six sorts of small birds. The biggest sort of these were not bigger than larks, some no bigger than wrens, all singing with great variety of fine shrill notes; and we saw some of their nests with young ones in them. The water-fowls are ducks (which had young ones now, this being the beginning of the spring in these parts), curlews, galdens, crab-catchers, cormorants, gulls, pelicans, and some water-fowl, such as I have not seen anywhere besides.
The land animals that we saw here were only a sort of raccoons, different from those of the West Indies, chiefly as to their legs, for these have very short forelegs, but go jumping upon them as the others do (and like them are very good meat), and a sort of guanos, of the same shape and size with other guanos described, but differing from them in three remarkable particulars; for these had a larger and uglier head, and had no tail, and at the rump, instead of the tail there, they had a stump of a tail, which appeared like another head, but not really such, being without mouth or eyes; yet this creature seemed by this means to have a head at each end, and, which may be reckoned a fourth difference, the legs also seemed all four of them to be forelegs, being all alike in shape and length, and seeming by the joints and bending to be made as if they were to go indifferently either head or tail foremost. They were speckled black and yellow like toads, and had scales or knobs on their backs like those of crocodiles, plated on to the skin, or stuck into it, as part of the skin. They are very slow in motion, and when a man comes nigh them they will stand still and hiss, not endeavouring to get away. Their livers are also spotted black and yellow; and the body, when opened, hath a very unsavoury smell. I did never see such ugly creatures anywhere but here. The guanos I have observed to be very good meat, and I have often eaten of them with pleasure; but though I have eaten of snakes, crocodiles, and alligators, and many creatures that look frightfully enough, and there are but few I should have been afraid to eat of if pressed by hunger, yet I think my stomach would scarce have served to venture upon these New Holland guanos, both the looks and the smell of them being so offensive.
The sea-fish that we saw here (for here was no river, land or pond of fresh water to be seen) are chiefly sharks. There are abundance of them in this particular sound, that I therefore gave it the name of Shark’s Bay. Here are also skates, thornbacks, and other fish of the ray kind (one sort especially like the sea-devil), and gar-fish, bonetas, etc. Of shell-fish we got here mussels, periwinkles, limpets, oysters, both of the pearl kind and also eating oysters, as well the common sort as long oysters, besides cockles, etc. The shore was lined thick with many other sorts of very strange and beautiful shells for variety of colour and shape, most finely spotted with red, black, or yellow, etc., such as I have not seen anywhere but at this place. I brought away a great many of them, but lost all except a very few, and those not of the best.
There are also some green turtle weighing about two hundred pounds. Of these we caught two, which the water ebbing had left behind a ledge of rock which they could not creep over. These served all my company two days, and they were indifferent sweet meat. Of the sharks we caught a great many, which our men ate very savourily. Among them we caught one which was eleven feet long. The space between its two eyes was twenty inches, and eighteen inches from one corner of his mouth to the other. Its maw was like a leather sack, very thick, and so tough that a sharp knife could scarce cut it, in which we found the head and bones of a hippopotamus, the hairy lips of which were still sound and not putrified, and the jaw was also firm, out of which we plucked a great many teeth, two of them eight inches long and as big as a man’s thumb, small at one end, and a little crooked, the rest not above half so long. The maw was full of jelly, which stank extremely. However, I saved for awhile the teeth and the shark’s jaw. The flesh of it was divided among my men, and they took care that no waste should be made of it.
It was the 7th of August when we came into Shark’s Bay, in which we anchored at three several places, and stayed at the first of them (on the west side of the bay) till the 11th, during which time we searched about, as I said, for fresh water, digging wells, but to no purpose. However, we cut good store of firewood at this first anchoring-place, and my company were all here very well refreshed with raccoons, turtle, shark, and other fish, and some fowls, so that we were now all much brisker than when we came in hither. Yet still I was for standing farther into the bay, partly because I had a mind to increase my stock of fresh water, which was begun to be low, and partly for the sake of discovering this part of the coast. I was invited to go further by seeing from this anchoring-place all open before me, which therefore I designed to search before I left the bay. So on the 11th about noon I steered further in, with an easy sail, because we had but shallow water. We kept, therefore, good looking out for fear of shoals, sometimes shortening, sometimes deepening the water. About two in the afternoon we saw the land ahead that makes the south of the bay, and before night we had again sholdings from that shore, and therefore shortened sail and stood off and on all night, under two top-sails, continually sounding, having never more than ten fathom, and seldom less than seven. The water deepened and sholdened so very gently, that in heaving the lead five or six times we should scarce have a foot difference. When we came into seven fathom either way, we presently went about. From this south part of the bay we could not see the land from whence we came in the afternoon; and this land we found to be an island of three or four leagues long; but it appearing barren, I did not strive to go nearer it, and the rather because the winds would not permit us to do it without much trouble, and at the openings the water was generally shoal: I therefore made no farther attempts in this south-west and south part of the bay, but steered away to the eastward, to see if there was any land that way, for as yet we had seen none there. On the 12th, in the morning, we passed by the north point of that land, and were confirmed in the persuasion of its being an island by seeing an opening to the east of it, as we had done on the west. Having fair weather, a small gale, and smooth water, we stood further on in the bay to see what land was on the east of it. Our soundings at first were seven fathom, which held so a great while, but at length it decreased to six. Then we saw the land right ahead. We could not come near it with the ship, having but shoal water, and it being dangerous lying there, and the land extraordinarily low, very unlikely to have fresh water (though it had a few trees on it, seemingly mangroves), and much of it probably covered at high water, I stood out again that afternoon, deepening the water, and before night anchored in eight fathom, clean white sand, about the middle of the bay. The next day we got up our anchor, and that afternoon came to an anchor once more near two islands and a shoal of coral rocks that face the bay. Here I scrubbed my ship; and finding it very improbable I should get any further here, I made the best of my way out to sea again, sounding all the way; but finding, by the shallowness of the water, that there was no going out to sea to the east of the two islands that face the bay, nor between them, I returned to the west entrance, going out by the same way I came in at, only on the east instead of the west side of the small shoal: in which channel we had ten, twelve, and thirteen fathom water, still deepening upon us till we were out at sea. The day before we came out I sent a boat ashore to the most northerly of the two islands, which is the least of them, catching many small fish in the meanwhile, with hook and line. The boat’s crew returning told me that the isle produces nothing but a sort of green, short, hard, prickly grass, affording neither wood nor fresh water, and that a sea broke between the two islands — a sign that the water was shallow. They saw a large turtle, and many skates and thornbacks, but caught none.
It was August the 14th when I sailed out of this bay or sound, the mouth of which lies, as I said, in 25 degrees 5 minutes, designing to coast along to the north-east till I might commodiously put in at some other port of New Holland. In passing out we saw three water-serpents swimming about in the sea, of a yellow colour spotted with dark brown spots. They were each about four foot long, and about the bigness of a man’s wrist, and were the first I saw on this coast, which abounds with several sorts of them. We had the winds at our first coming out at north, and the land lying north-easterly. We plied off and on, getting forward but little till the next day, when the wind coming at south-south-west and south, we began to coast it along the shore on the northward, keeping at six or seven leagues off shore, and sounding often, we had between forty and forty-six fathom water, brown sand with some white shells. This 15th of August we were in latitude 24 degrees 41 minutes. On the 16th day, at noon, we were in 23 degrees 22 minutes. The wind coming at east by north, we could not keep the shore aboard, but were forced to go farther off, and lost sight of the land; then sounding, we had no ground with eighty-fathom line. However, the wind shortly after came about again to the southward, and then we jogged on again to the northward, and saw many small dolphins and whales, and abundance of cuttle-shells swimming on the sea, and some water-snakes every day. The 17th we saw the land again and took a sight of it.
The 18th, in the afternoon, being three or four leagues off shore, I saw a shoal-point stretching from the land into the sea a league or more; the sea broke high on it, by which I saw plainly there was a shoal there. I stood farther off and coasted along shore to about seven or eight leagues distance, and at twelve o’clock at night we sounded, and had but twenty fathom, hard sand. By this I found I was upon another shoal, and so presently steered off west half an hour, and had then forty fathom. At one in the morning of the 18th day we had eighty-five fathom; by two we could find no ground, and then I ventured to steer along shore again due north, which is two points wide of the coast (that lies north-north-east), for fear of another shoal. I would not be too far off from the land, being desirous to search into it wherever I should find an opening or any convenience of searching about for water, etc. When we were off the shoal-point I mentioned, where we had but twenty fathom water, we had in the night abundance of whales about the ship, some ahead, others astern, and some on each side, blowing and making a very dismal noise; but when we came out again into deeper water, they left us; indeed, the noise that they made by blowing and dashing of the sea with their tails, making it all of a breach and foam, was very dreadful to us, like the breach of the waves in very shoal water or among rocks. The shoal these whales were upon had depth of water sufficient, no less than twenty fathom, as I said, and it lies in latitude 22 degrees 22 minutes. The shore was generally bold all along. We had met with no shoal at sea since the Abrohlo shoal, when we first fell on the New Holland coast in the latitude of 28 degrees, till yesterday in the afternoon and this night. This morning also, when we expected by the draught we had with us to have been eleven leagues off shore, we were but four, so that either our draughts were faulty, which yet hitherto and afterwards we found true enough as to the lying of the coast, or else here was a tide unknown to us that deceived us, though we had found very little of any tide on this coast hitherto; as to our winds in the coasting thus far, as we had been within the verge of the general trade (though interrupted by the storm I mentioned), from the latitude of 28 degrees, when we first fell in with the coast, and by that time we were in the latitude of 25 degrees, we had usually the regular trade wind (which is here south-south-east) when we were at any distance from shore; but we had often sea and land breezes, especially when near shore and when in Shark’s Bay, and had a particular north-west wind or storm that set us in thither. On this 18th of August we coasted with a brisk gale of the true trade wind at south-south-east, very fair and clear weather; but hauling off in the evening to sea, were next morning out of sight of land, and the land now trending away north~easterly, and we being to the northward of it, and the wind also shrinking from the south-south-east to the east-south-east (that is, from the true trade wind to the sea breeze, as the land now lay), we could not get in with the land again yet awhile so as to see it, though we trimmed sharp and kept close on a wind. We were this 19th day in latitude 21 degrees 42 minutes. The 20th we were in latitude 19 degrees 37 minutes, and kept close on a wind to get sight of the land again, but could not yet see it. We had very fair weather, and though we were so far from the land as to be out of sight of it, yet we had the sea and land breezes. In the night we had the land breeze at south-south-east, a small gentle gale, which in the morning about sun-rising would shift about gradually (and withal increasing in strength) till about noon we should have it at east-south-east, which is the true sea breeze here. Then it would blow a brisk gale so that we could scarce carry our top-sails double-reefed; and it would continue thus till three in the afternoon, when it would decrease again. The weather was fair all the while, not a cloud to be seen, but very hazy, especially nigh the horizon. We sounded several times this 20th day, and at first had no ground, but had afterwards from fifty-two to forty-five fathom, coarse brown sand, mixed with small brown and white stones, with dints besides in the tallow.
The 21st day also we had small land breezes in the night, and sea breezes in the day, and as we saw some sea-snakes every day, so this day we saw a great many, of two different sorts or shapes. One sort was yellow, and about the bigness of a man’s wrist, about four feet long, having a flat tail about four fingers broad. The other sort was much smaller and shorter, round, and spotted black and yellow. This day we sounded several times, and had forty-five fathom, sand. We did not make the land till noon, and then saw it first from our topmast head; it bore south~east by east about nine leagues distance, and it appeared like a cape or head of land. The sea breeze this day was not so strong as the day before, and it veered out more, so that we had a fair wind to run in with to the shore, and at sunset anchored in twenty fathom, clean sand, about five leagues from the Bluff point, which was not a cape (as it appeared at a great distance), but the easternmost end of an island about five or six leagues in length, and one in breadth. There were three or four rocky islands about a league from us, between us and the Bluff point, and we saw many other islands both to the east and west of it, as far as we could see either way from our topmast-head, and all within them to the south there was nothing but islands of a pretty height, that may be seen eight or nine leagues off; by what we saw of them they must have been a range of islands of about twenty leagues in length, stretching from east~north-east to west-south-west, and, for aught I know, as far as to those of Shark’s Bay, and to a considerable breadth also, for we could see nine or ten leagues in among them, towards the continent or mainland of New Holland, if there be any such thing hereabouts; and by the great tides I met with awhile afterwards, more to the north-east, I had a strong suspicion that here might be a kind of archipelago of islands, and a passage possibly to the south of New Holland and New Guinea into the great South Sea eastward, which I had thoughts also of attempting in my return from New Guinea, had circumstances permitted, and told my officers so; but I would not attempt it at this time, because we wanted water, and could not depend upon finding it there. This place is in the latitude of 20 degrees 21 minutes, but in the draught that I had of this coast, which was Tasman’s, it was laid down in 19 degrees 50 minutes, and the shore is laid down as all along joining in one body or continent, with some openings appearing like rivers, and not like islands as really they are. This place lies more northerly by 40 minutes than is laid down in Mr. Tasman’s draught, and besides its being made a firm continued land, only with some openings like the mouths of rivers, I found the soundings also different from what the pricked line of his course shows them, and generally shallower than he makes them, which inclines me to think that he came not so near the shore as his line shows, and so had deeper soundings, and could not so well distinguish the islands. His meridian or difference of longitude from Shark’s Bay agrees well enough with my account, which is two hundred and thirty-two leagues, though we differ in latitude; and to confirm my conjecture that the line of his course is made too near the shore, at least not far to the east of this place, the water is there so shallow that he could not come there so nigh.
But to proceed. In the night we had a small land breeze, and in the morning I weighed anchor, designing to run in among the islands, for they had large channels between them of a league wide at least, and some two or three leagues wide. I sent in my boat before to sound, and if they found shoal water to return again, but if they found water enough to go ashore on one of the islands and stay till the ship came in, where they might in the meantime search for water. So we followed after with the ship, sounding as we went in, and had twenty fathom till within two leagues of the Bluff head, and then we had shoal water and very uncertain soundings; yet we ran in still with an easy sail, sounding and looking out well, for this was dangerous work. When we came abreast of the Bluff head, and about two miles from it, we had but seven fathom, then we edged away from it, but had no more water, and running in a little farther we had but four fathoms, so we anchored immediately; and yet when we had veered out a third of a cable, we had seven fathom water again, so uncertain was the water. My boat came immediately on board, and told me that the island was very rocky and dry, and they had little hopes of finding water there. I sent them to sound, and bade them, if they found a channel of eight or ten fathom water, to keep on, and we would follow with the ship. We were now about four leagues within the outer small rocky islands, but still could see nothing but islands within us, some five or six leagues long, others not above a mile round. The large islands were pretty high, but all appeared dry, and mostly rocky and barren. The rocks looked of a rusty yellow colour, and therefore I despaired of getting water on any of them, but was in some hopes of finding a channel to run in beyond all these islands, could I have spent time here, and either got to the main of New Holland or find out some other islands that might afford us water and other refreshments; besides that among so many islands we might have found some sort of rich mineral, or ambergris, it being a good latitude for both these. But we had not sailed above a league farther before our water grew shoaler again, and then we anchored in six fathom, hard sand.
We were now on the inner side of the island, on whose outside is the Bluff point. We rode a league from the island, and I presently went ashore and carried shovels to dig for water, but found none. There grow here two or three sorts of shrubs, one just like rosemary, and therefore I called this Rosemary Island; it grew in great plenty here, but had no smell. Some of the other shrubs had blue and yellow flowers; and we found two sorts of grain like beans; the one grew on bushes, the other on a sort of creeping vine that runs along on the ground, having very thick broad leaves, and the blossom like a bean blossom, but much larger and of a deep red colour, looking very beautiful. We saw here some cormorants, gulls, crab-catchers, etc., a few small land birds, and a sort of white parrots, which flew a great many together. We found some shell-fish, viz., limpets, periwinkles, and abundance of small oysters growing on the rocks, which were very sweet. In the sea we saw some green turtle, many sharks, and abundance of water-snakes of several sorts and sizes. The stones were all of rusty colour, and ponderous.
We saw a smoke on an island three or four leagues off, and here also the bushes had been burned, but we found no other sign of inhabitants. It was probable that on the island where the smoke was there were inhabitants, and fresh water for them. In the evening I went aboard, and consulted with my officers whether it was best to send thither, or to search among any other of these islands with my boat, or else go from hence and coast along shore with the ship, till we could find some better place than this was to ride in, where we had shoal water and lay exposed to winds and tides. They all agreed to go from hence, so I gave orders to weigh in the morning as soon as it should be light, and to get out with the land breeze.
Accordingly, August 23rd, at five in the morning, we ran out, having a pretty fresh land breeze at south-south-east. By eight o’clock we were got out, and very seasonably, for before nine the sea breeze came on us very strong, and increasing, we took in our top-sails and stood off under two courses and a mizen, this being as much sail as we could carry. The sky was clear, there being not one cloud to be seen, but the horizon appeared very hazy, and the sun at setting the night before, and this morning at rising, appeared very red. The wind continued very strong till twelve, then it began to abate; I have seldom met with a stronger breeze. These strong sea breezes lasted thus in their turns three or four days. They sprang up with the sunrise; by nine o’clock they were very strong, and so continued till noon, when they began to abate; and by sunset there was little wind, or a calm, till the land breezes came, which we should certainly have in the morning about one or two o’clock. The land breezes were between the south-south-west and south-south-east: the sea breezes between the east-north-east and north-north-east. In the night while calm, we fished with hook and line, and caught good store of fish viz., snappers, breams, old-wives, and dog-fish. When these last came we seldom caught any others; for it they did not drive away the other fish, yet they would be sure to keep them from taking our hooks, for they would first have them themselves, biting very greedily. We caught also a monk-fish, of which I brought home the picture.
On the 25th of August we still coasted along shore, that we might the better see any opening; kept sounding, and had about twenty fathom, clean sand. The 26th day, being about four leagues off shore, the water began gradually to sholden from twenty to fourteen fathom. I was edging in a little towards the land, thinking to have anchored; but presently after the water decreased almost at once, till we had but five fathom. I durst, therefore, adventure no farther, but steered out the same way that we came in, and in a short time had ten fathom (being then about four leagues and a half from the shore), and even soundings. I steered away east-north-east, coasting along as the land lies. This day the sea breezes began to be very moderate again, and we made the best of our way along shore, only in the night edging off a little for fear of shoals. Ever since we left Shark’s Bay we had fair clear weather, and so for a great while still.
The 27th day we had twenty fathom water all night, yet we could not see land till one in the afternoon from our topmast-head. By three we could just discern land from our quarter-deck; we had then sixteen fathom. The wind was at north, and we steered east-by-north, which is but one point in on the land; yet we decreased our water very fast, for at four we had but nine fathom, the next cast but seven, which frightened us; and we then tacked instantly and steed off, but in a short time the wind coming at north-west and west-north-west, we tacked again and steered north-north-east, and then deepened our water again, and had all night from fifteen to twenty fathom.
The 28th day we had between twenty and forty fathom. We saw no land this day, but saw a great many snakes and some whales. We saw also some boobies and noddy-birds, and in the night caught one of these last. It was of another shape and colour than any I had seen before. It had a small long bill, as all of them have, flat feet like ducks’ feet, its tail forked like a swallow, but longer and broader, and the fork deeper than that of the swallow, with very long wings; the top or crown of the head of this noddy was coal-black, having also small black streaks round about and close to the eyes; and round these streaks on each side, a pretty broad white circle. The breast, belly, and under part of the wings of this noddy were white, and the back and upper part of its wings of a faint black or smoke colour. Noddies are seen in most places between the tropics, as well in the East Indies and on the coast of Brazil, as in the West Indies. They rest ashore at night, and therefore we never see them far at sea, not above twenty or thirty leagues, unless driven off in a storm. When they come about a ship they commonly perch in the night, and will sit still till they are taken by the seamen. They build on cliffs against the sea, or rocks.
The 30th day, being in latitude 18 degrees 21 minutes, we made the land again, and saw many great smokes near the shore; and having fair weather and moderate breezes, I steered in towards it. At four in the afternoon I anchored in eight fathom water, clear sand, about three leagues and a half from the shore. I presently sent my boat to sound nearer in, and they found ten fathom about a mile farther in, and from thence still farther in the water decreased gradually to nine, eight, seven, and at two miles distance to six fathom. This evening we saw an eclipse of the moon, but it was abating before the moon appeared to us; for the horizon was very hazy, so that we could not see the moon till she had been half an hour above the horizon; and at two hours twenty-two minutes after sunset, by the reckoning of our glasses, the eclipse was quite gone, which was not of many digits. The moon’s centre was then 33 degrees 40 minutes high.
The 31st of August, betimes in the morning, I went ashore with ten or eleven men to search for water. We went armed with muskets and cutlasses for our defence, expecting to see people there, and carried also shovels and pickaxes to dig wells. When we came near the shore we saw three tall, black, naked men on the sandy bay ahead of us; but as we rowed in, they went away. When we were landed, I sent the boat with two men in her to lie a little from the shore at an anchor, to prevent being seized; while the rest of us went after the three black men, who were now got on the top of a small hill about a quarter of a mile from us, with eight or nine men more in their company. They, seeing us coming, ran away. When we came on the top of the hill where they first stood, we saw a plain savannah, about half a mile from us, farther in from the sea. There were several things like hay-cocks standing in the savannah, which at a distance we thought were houses, looking just like the Hottentots’ houses at the Cape of Good Hope: but we found them to be so many rocks. We searched about these for water, but could find none, nor any houses, nor people, for they were all gone. Then we turned again to the place where we landed, and there we dug for water.
While we were at work there came nine or ten of the natives to a small hill a little way from us, and stood there menacing and threatening us, and making a great noise. At last one of them came towards us, and the rest followed at a distance. I went out to meet him, and came within fifty yards of him, making to him all the signs of peace and friendship I could, but then he ran away, neither would they any of them stay for us to come nigh them, for we tried two or three times. At last I took two men with me, and went in the afternoon along by the sea-side, purposely to catch one of them, if I could, of whom I might learn where they got their fresh water. There were ten or twelve of the natives a little way off, who, seeing us three going away from the rest of our men, followed us at a distance. I thought they would follow us, but there being for awhile a sand-bank between us and them, that they could not then see us, we made a halt, and hid ourselves in a bending of the sand-bank. They knew we must be thereabouts, and being three or four times our numbers, thought to seize us. So they dispersed themselves, some going to the sea~shore, and others beating about the sand-hills. We knew by what rencounter we had had with them in the morning that we could easily out~run them, so a nimble young man that was with me, seeing some of them near, ran towards them; and they for some time ran away before him, but he soon overtaking them, they faced about and fought him. He had a cutlass and they had wooden lances, with which, being many of them, they were too hard for him. When he first ran towards them I chased two more that were by the shore; but fearing how it might be with my young man, I turned back quickly and went to the top of a sand-hill, whence I saw him near me, closely engaged with them. Upon their seeing me, one of them threw a lance at me, that narrowly missed me. I discharged my gun to scare them, but avoided shooting any of them, till finding the young man in great danger from them, and myself in some; and that though the gun had a little frightened them at first, yet they had soon learnt to despise it, tossing up their hands and crying, “pooh, pooh, pooh,” and coming on afresh with a great noise, I thought it high time to charge again, and shoot one of them, which I did. The rest, seeing him fall, made a stand again, and my young man took the opportunity to disengage himself and come off to me; my other man also was with me, who had done nothing all this while, having come out unarmed, and I returned back with my men, designing to attempt the natives no farther, being very sorry for what had happened already. They took up their wounded companion; and my young man, who had been struck through the cheek by one of their lances, was afraid it had been poisoned, but I did not think that likely. His wound was very painful to him, being made with a blunt weapon; but he soon recovered of it.
Among the New Hollanders, whom we were thus engaged with, there was one who by his appearance and carriage, as well in the morning as this afternoon, seemed to be the chief of them, and a kind of prince or captain among them. He was a young brisk man, not very tall, nor so personable as some of the rest, though more active and courageous: he was painted (which none of the rest were at all) with a circle of white paste or pigment (a sort of lime, as we thought) about his eyes, and a white streak down his nose, from his forehead to the tip of it: and his breast and some part of his arms were also made white with the same paint; not for beauty or ornament, one would think, but as some wild Indian warriors are said to do, he seemed thereby to design the looking more terrible; this his painting adding very much to his natural deformity; for they all of them have the most unpleasant looks and the worst features of any people that ever I saw, though I have seen great variety of savages. These New Hollanders were probably the same sort of people as those I met with on this coast in my voyage round the world, for the place I then touched at was not above forty or fifty leagues to the north-east of this, and these were much the same blinking creatures (here being also abundance of the same kind of flesh-flies teazing them,) and with the same black skins, and hair frizzled, tall and thin, &c. as those were: but we had not the opportunity to see whether these, as the former, wanted two of their fore-teeth.
We saw a great many places where they had made fires, and where there were commonly three or four boughs stuck up to windward of them; for the wind, (which is the sea-breeze), in the day-time blows always one way with them, and the land-breeze is but small. By their fire-places we should always find great heaps of fish-shells of several sorts; and it is probable that these poor creatures here lived chiefly on the shell-fish, as those I before described did on small fish, which they caught in wires or holes in the sand at low water. These gathered their shell-fish on the rocks at low water but had no wires (that we saw), whereby to get any other sorts of fish; as among the former I saw not any heaps of shells as here, though I know they also gathered some shell-fish. The lances also of those were such as these had; however, they being upon an island, with their women and children, and all in our power, they did not there use them against us, as here on the continent, where we saw none but some of the men under head, who come out purposely to observe us. We saw no houses at either place, and I believe they have none, since the former people on the island had none, though they had all their families with them.
Upon returning to my men I saw that though they had dug eight or nine feet deep, yet found no water. So I returned aboard that evening, and the next day, being September 1st, I sent my boatswain ashore to dig deeper, and sent the seine within him to catch fish. While I stayed aboard I observed the flowing of the tide, which runs very swift here, so that our nun-buoy would not bear above the water to be seen. It flows here (as on that part of New Holland I described formerly) about five fathom; and here the flood runs south-east by south till the last quarter; then it sets right in towards the shore (which lies here south~south-west and north north-east) and the ebb runs north-west by north. When the tides slackened we fished with hook and line, as we had already done in several places on this coast; on which in this voyage hitherto we had found but little tides; but by the height, and strength, and course of them hereabouts, it should seem that if there be such a passage or strait going through eastward to the great South Sea, as I said one might suspect, one would expect to find the mouth of it somewhere between this place and Rosemary Island, which was the part of New Holland I came last from.
Next morning my men came aboard and brought a runlet of brackish water which they had got out of another well that they dug in a place a mile off, and about half as far from the shore; but this water was not fit to drink. However, we all concluded that it would serve to boil our oatmeal, for burgoo, whereby we might save the remains of our other water for drinking, till we should get more: and accordingly the next day we brought aboard four hogsheads of it: but while we were at work about the well we were sadly pestered with the flies, which were more troublesome to us than the sun, though it shone clear and strong upon us all the while very hot. All this while we saw no more of the natives, but saw some of the smoke of some of their fires at two or three miles distance.
The land hereabouts was much like the port of New Holland that I formerly described; it is low, but seemingly barricaded with a long chain of sand~hills to the sea, that lets nothing be seen of what is farther within land. At high water the tides rising so high as they do, the coast shows very low: but when it is low water it seems to be of an indifferent height. At low water-mark the shore is all rocky, so that then there is no landing with a boat; but at high water a boat may come in over those rocks to the sandy bay, which runs all along on this coast. The land by the sea for about five or six hundred yards is a dry sandy soil, bearing only shrubs and bushes of divers sorts. Some of these had them at this time of the year, yellow flowers or blossoms, some blue, and some white; most of them of a very fragrant smell. Some had fruit like peascods, in each of which there were just ten small peas; I opened many of them, and found no more nor less. There are also here some of that sort of bean which I saw at Rosemary Island: and another sort of small red hard pulse, growing in cods also, with little black eyes like beans. I know not their names, but have seen them used often in the East Indies for weighing gold; and they make the same use of them at Guinea, as I have heard, where the women also make bracelets with them to wear about their arms. These grow on bushes; but here are also a fruit like beans growing on a creeping sort of shrub-like vine. There was great plenty of all these sorts of cod-fruit growing on the sand-hills by the sea side, some of them green, some ripe, and some fallen on the ground: but I could not perceive that any of them had been gathered by the natives; and might not probably be wholesome food.
The land farther in, that is, lower than what borders on the sea, was so much as we saw of it, very plain and even; partly savannahs and partly woodland. The savannahs bear a sort of thin coarse grass. The mould is also a coarser sand than that by the sea-side, and in some places it is clay. Here are a great many rocks in the large savannah we were in, which are five or six feet high, and round at top like a hay-cock, very remarkable; some red and some white. The woodland lies farther in still, where there were divers sorts of small trees, scarce any three feet in circumference, their bodies twelve or fourteen feet high, with a head of small knibs or boughs. By the sides of the creeks, especially nigh the sea, there grow a few small black mangrove-trees.
There are but few land animals. I saw some lizards; and my men saw two or three beasts like hungry wolves, lean like so many skeletons, being nothing but skin and bones; it is probable that it was the foot of one of those beasts that I mentioned as seen by us in New Holland. We saw a raccoon or two, and one small speckled snake.
The land fowls that we saw here were crows, just such as ours in England, small hawks and kites, a few of each sort: but here are plenty of small turtle doves, that are plump, fat, and very good meat. Here are two or three sorts of smaller birds, some as big as larks, some less; but not many of either sort. The sea-fowl are pelicans, boobies, noddies, curlews, seapies, &c., and but few of these neither.
The sea is plentifully stocked with the largest whales that I ever saw; but not to compare with the vast ones of the Northern Seas. We saw also a great many green turtle, but caught none, here being no place to set a turtle net in; there being no channel for them, and the tides running so strong. We saw some sharks and parracoots; and with hooks and lines we caught some rock-fish and old-wives. Of shell-fish, here were oysters both of the common kind for eating, and of the pearl kind; and also whelks, conchs, muscles, limpits, periwinkles, &c., and I gathered a few strange shells, chiefly a sort not large, and thickset all about with rays or spikes growing in rows.
And thus having ranged about a considerable time upon this coast, without finding any good fresh water or any convenient place to clean the ship, as I had hoped for; and it being moreover the height of the dry season, and my men growing scorbutic for want of refreshments, so that I had little encouragement to search further, I resolved to leave this coast, and accordingly in the beginning of September set sail towards Timor.
On the 12th of December, 1699, we sailed from Babao, coasting along the island Timor to the eastward, towards New Guinea. It was the 20th before we got as far as Laphao, which is but forty leagues. We saw black clouds in the north-west, and expected the wind from that quarter above a month sooner.
That afternoon we saw the opening between the islands Omba and Fetter, but feared to pass through in the night. At two o’clock in the morning it fell calm, and continued so till noon, in which time we drove with the current back again south-west six or seven leagues.
On the 22nd, steering to the eastward to get through between Omba and Fetter, we met a very strong tide against us, so that although we had a very fresh gale, we yet made way very slowly; but before night got through. By a good observation we found that the south-east point of Omba lies in latitude 8 degrees 25 minutes. In my drafts it is laid down in 8 degrees 10 minutes. My true course from Babao, is east 25 degrees north, distance one hundred eighty-three miles. We sounded several times when near Omba, but had no ground. On the north-east point of Omba we saw four or five men, and a little further three pretty houses on a low point, but did not go ashore.
At five this afternoon we had a tornado, which yielded much rain, thunder, and lightning; yet we had but little wind. The 24th in the morning we caught a large shark, which gave all the ship’s company a plentiful meal.
The 27th we saw the Burning Island; it lies in latitude 6 degrees 36 minutes south; it is high, and but small; it runs from the sea a little sloping towards the top, which is divided in the middle into two peaks, between which issued out much smoke: I have not seen more from any volcano. I saw no trees; but the north side appeared green, and the rest looked very barren.
Having passed the Burning Island, I shaped my course for two islands, called Turtle Isles, which lie north-east by east a little easterly, and distant about fifty leagues from the Burning Isle. I fearing the wind might veer to the eastward of the north, steered twenty leagues north~east, then north-east by east. On the 28th we saw two small low islands, called Lucca–Parros, to the north of us. At noon I accounted myself twenty leagues short of the Turtle Isles.
The next morning, being in the latitude of the Turtle Islands, we looked out sharp for them, but saw no appearance of any island till eleven o’clock, when we saw an island at a great distance. At first we supposed it might be one of the Turtle Isles, but it was not laid down true, neither in latitude nor longitude from the Burning Isle, nor from the Lucca–Parros, which last I took to be a great help to guide me, they being laid down very well from the Burning Isle, and that likewise in true latitude and distance from Omba, so that I could not tell what to think of the island now in sight, we having had fair weather, so that we could not pass by the Turtle Isles without seeing them, and this in sight was much too far off for them. We found variation 1 degrees 2 minutes east. In the afternoon I steered north-east by east for the islands that we saw. At two o’clock I went and looked over the fore-yard, and saw two islands at much greater distance than the Turtle Islands are laid down in my drafts, one of them was a very high peaked mountain, cleft at top, and much like the Burning Island that we passed by, but bigger and higher; the other was a pretty long high flat island. Now I was certain that these were not the Turtle Islands, and that they could be no other than the Bande Isles, yet we steered in to make them plainer. At three o’clock we discovered another small flat island to the north-west of the others, and saw a great deal of smoke rise from the top of the high island. At four we saw other small islands, by which I was now assured that these were the Bande Isles there. At five I altered my course and steered east, and at eight east-south-east, because I would not be seen by the inhabitants of those islands in the morning. We had little wind all night, and in the morning, as soon as it was light we saw another high peaked island; at eight it bore south-south-east half-east, distance eight leagues: and this I knew to be Bird Isle. It is laid down in our drafts in latitude 5 degrees 9 minutes south, which is too far southerly by twenty-seven miles, according to our observation, and the like error in laying down the Turtle Islands might be the occasion of our missing them.
At night I shortened sail, for fear of coming too nigh some islands, that stretch away bending like a half moon from Ceram towards Timor, and which in my course I must of necessity pass through. The next morning betimes I saw them, and found them to be at a farther distance from Bird Island than I expected. In the afternoon it fell quite calm, and when we had a little wind, it was so unconstant, flying from one point to another, that I could not without difficulty get through the islands where I designed; besides, I found a current setting to the southward, so that it was betwixt five and six in the evening before I passed through the islands, and then just weathered little Watela, whereas I thought to have been two or three leagues more northerly. We saw the day before, betwixt two and three, a spout but a small distance from us, it fell down out of a black cloud, that yielded great store of rain, thunder and lightning; this cloud hovered to the southward of us for the space of three hours, and then drew to the westward a great pace, at which time it was that we saw the spout, which hung fast to the cloud till it broke, and then the cloud whirled about to the south-east, then to east-north-east, where meeting with an island, it spent itself and so dispersed, and immediately we had a little of the tail of it, having had none before. Afterwards we saw a smoke on the island Kosiway, which continued till night.
On New Year’s Day we first descried the land of New Guinea, which appeared to be high land, and the next day we saw several high islands on the coast of New Guinea, and ran in with the main land. The shore here lies along east-south-east and west-north-west. It is high even land, very well clothed with tall flourishing trees, which appeared very green, and gave us a very pleasant prospect. We ran to the westward of four mountainous islands, and in the night had a small tornado, which brought with it some rain and a fair wind. We had fair weather for a long time, only when near any land we had some tornadoes; but off, at sea, commonly clear weather, though, if in sight of land, we usually saw many black clouds hovering about it.
On the 5th and 6th of January we plied to get in with the land, designing to anchor, fill water, and spend a little time in searching the country, till after the change of the moon, for I found a strong current setting against us. We anchored in thirty-eight fathom water, good oozy ground. We had an island of a league long without us, about three miles distant, and we rode from the main about a mile. The easternmost point of land seen bore east-by-south half-south, distance three leagues, and the westernmost west-south-west half-south, distance two leagues. So soon as we anchored, we sent the pinnace to look for water and try if they could catch any fish. Afterwards we sent the yawl another way to see for water. Before night the pinnace brought on board several sorts of fruits that they found in the woods, such as I never saw before. One of my men killed a stately land-fowl, as big as the largest dunghill cock; it was of a sky-colour, only in the middle of the wings was a white spot, about which were some reddish spots; on the crown it had a large bunch of long feathers, which appeared very pretty; his bill was like pigeon’s; he had strong legs and feet, like dunghill fowls, only the claws were reddish; his crop was full of small berries. It lays an egg as big as a large hen’s egg, for our men climbed the tree where it nested, and brought off one egg. They found water, and reported that the trees were large, tall, and very thick, and that they saw no sign of people. At night the yawl came aboard and brought a wooden fish-spear, very ingeniously made, the matter of it was a small cane; they found it by a small barbecue, where they also saw a shattered canoe.
The next morning I sent the boatswain ashore fishing, and at one haul he caught three hundred and fifty-two mackerel, and about twenty other fishes, which I caused to be equally divided among all my company. I sent also the gunner and chief mate to search about if they could find convenient anchoring near a watering-place; by night they brought word that they had found a fine stream of good water, where the boat could come close to, and it was very easy to be filled, and that the ship might anchor as near to it as I pleased, so I went thither. The next morning, therefore, we anchored in twenty-five fathom water, soft oozy ground, about a mile from the river; we got on board three tuns of water that night, and caught two or three pike-fish, in shape much like a parracota, but with a longer snout, something resembling a garr, yet not so long. The next day I sent the boat again for water, and before night all my casks were full.
Having filled here about fifteen tuns of water, seeing we could catch but little fish, and had no other refreshments, I intended to sail next day, but finding that we wanted wood, I sent to cut some, and going ashore to hasten it, at some distance from the place where our men were, I found a small cove, where I saw two barbecues, which appeared not to be above two months’ standing; the spars were cut with some sharp instrument, so that, if done by the natives, it seems that they have iron. On the 10th, a little after twelve o’clock, we weighed and stood over to the north side of the bay, and at one o’clock stood out with the wind at north and north~north-west. At four we passed out by a White Island, which I so named from its many white cliffs, having no name in our drafts. It is about a league long, pretty high, and very woody; it is about five miles from the main, only at the west end it reaches within three miles of it. At some distance off at sea the west point appears like a cape-land, the north side trends away north-north-west, and the east side east-south-east. This island lies in latitude 3 degrees 4 minutes south, and the meridian distance from Babao five hundred and twelve miles east. After we were out to sea, we plied to get to the northward, but met with such a strong current against us, that we got but little, for if the wind favoured us in the night, that we got three or four leagues, we lost it again, and were driven as far astern next morning, so that we plied here several days.
The 14th, being past a point of land that we had been three days getting about, we found little or no current, so that, having the wind at north~west-by-west and west-north-west, we stood to the northward, and had several soundings: at three o’clock thirty-eight fathom, the nearest part of New Guinea being about three leagues’ distance; at four, thirty-seven; at five, thirty-six; at six, thirty-six; at eight, thirty-three fathom; then the Cape was about four leagues’ distant, so that as we ran off we found our water shallower; we had then some islands to the westward of us, at about four leagues’ distance.
A little after noon we saw smoke on the islands to the west of us, and having a fine gale of wind, I steered away for them. At seven o’clock in the evening we anchored in thirty-five fathom, about two leagues from an island, good soft oozy ground. We lay still all night, and saw fires ashore. In the morning we weighed again, and ran farther in, thinking to have shallower water; but we ran within a mile of the shore, and came to in thirty-eight fathom good soft holding ground. While we were under sail two canoes came off within call of us. They spoke to us, but we did not understand their language nor signs. We waved to them to come aboard, and I called to them in the Malayan language to do the same, but they would not. Yet they came so nigh us that we could show them such things as we had to truck with them; yet neither would this entice them to come on board, but they made signs for us to come ashore, and away they went. Then I went after them in my pinnace, carrying with me knives, beads, glasses, hatchets, &c. When we came near the shore, I called to them in the Malayan language. I saw but two men at first, the rest lying in ambush behind the bushes; but as soon as I threw ashore some knives and other toys, they came out, flung down their weapons, and came into the water by the boat’s side, making signs of friendship by pouring water on their heads with one hand, which they dipped into the sea. The next day, in the afternoon, several other canoes came aboard, and brought many roots and fruits, which we purchased.
The island has no name in our drafts, but the natives call it Pub Sabuda; it is about three leagues long, and two miles wide, more or less; it is of a good height, so as to be seen eleven or twelve leagues; it is very rocky, yet above the rocks there is good yellow and black mould, not deep, yet producing plenty of good tall trees, and bearing any fruits or roots which the inhabitants plant. I do not know all its produce, but what we saw were plantains, cocoa-nuts, pine-apples, oranges, papaes, potatoes, and other large roots. Here are also another sort of wild jacas, about the bigness of a man’s two fists, full of stones or kernels, which eat pleasant enough when roasted. The libby tree grows here in the swampy valleys, of which they make sago cakes. I did not see them make any, but was told by the inhabitants that it was made of the pith of the tree, in the same manner I have described in my “Voyage Round the World.” They showed me the tree whereof it was made, and I bought about forty of the cakes. I bought also three or four nutmegs in their shell, which did not seem to have been long gathered; but whether they be the growth of this island or not, the natives would not tell whence they had them, and seem to prize them very much. What beasts the island affords I know not, but here are both sea and land fowl. Of the first, boobies and men-of~war birds are the chief, some goldens, and small milk-white crab-catchers; the land-fowl are pigeons, about the bigness of mountain~pigeons in Jamaica, and crows about the bigness of those in England, and much like them, but the inner part of their feathers are white, and the outside black, so that they appear all black, unless you extend the feathers. Here are large sky-coloured birds, such as we lately killed on New Guinea, and many other small birds, unknown to us. Here are likewise abundance of bats, as big as young coneys, their necks, head, ears, and noses like foxes, their hair rough, that about their necks is of a whitish yellow, that on their heads and shoulders black, their wings are four feet over from tip to tip; they smell like foxes. The fish are bass, rock-fish, and a sort of fish like mullets, old-wives, whip-rays, and some other sorts that I knew not; but no great plenty of any, for it is deep water till within less than a mile of the shore, then there is a bank of coral rocks, within which you have shoal-water, white clean sand, so there is no good fishing with the seine.
This island lies in latitude 2 degrees 43 minutes south, and meridian distance from port Babo, on the island Timor, four hundred and eighty-six miles: besides this island, here are nine or ten other small islands.
The inhabitants of this island are a sort of very tawny Indians, with long black hair, who in their manners differ but little from the Mindanayans, and others of these eastern islands. These seem to be the chief; for besides them we saw also shock curl pated New Guinea negroes, many of which are slaves to the others, but I think not all. They are very poor, wear no clothes but have a clout about their middle, made of the rinds of the tops of palmetto trees; but the women had a sort of calico cloth. Their chief ornaments are blue and yellow beads, worn about their wrists. The men arm themselves with bows and arrows, lances, broad swords, like those of Mindanao; their lances are pointed with bone: they strike fish very ingeniously with wooden fish-spears, and have a very ingenious way of making the fish rise; for they have a piece of wood curiously carved, and painted much like a dolphin (and perhaps other figures); these they let down into the water by a line with a small weight to sink it; when they think it low enough, they haul the line into their boats very fast, and the fish rise up after this figure, and they stand ready to strike them when they are near the surface of the water. But their chief livelihood is from their plantations; yet they have large boats, and go over to New Guinea, where they get slaves, fine parrots, &c, which they carry to Goram and exchange for calicoes. One boat came from thence a little before I arrived here, of whom I bought some parrots, and would have bought a slave but they would not barter for anything but calicoes, which I had not. Their houses on this side were very small, and seemed only to be for necessity; but on the other side of the island we saw good large houses. Their prows are narrow, with outriggers on each side, like other Malayans. I cannot tell of what religion these are; but I think they are not Mahometans, by their drinking brandy out of the same cup with us without any scruple. At this island we continued till the 20th instant, having laid in store of such roots and fruits as the island afforded.
On the 20th, at half an hour after six in the morning, I weighed, and standing out we saw a large boat full of men lying at the north point of the island. As we passed by, they rowed towards their habitations, where we supposed they had withdrawn themselves for fear of us, though we gave them no cause of terror, or for some differences among themselves.
We stood to the northward till seven in the evening, then saw a rippling; and, the water being discoloured, we sounded, and had but twenty-two fathom. I went about and stood to the westward till two next morning then tacked again, and had these several soundings: at eight in the evening, twenty-two; at ten, twenty-five; at eleven, twenty-seven; at twelve, twenty-eight fathom; at two in the morning, twenty-six; at four, twenty-four; at six, twenty-three; at eight, twenty-eight; at twelve, twenty-two.
We passed by many small islands, and among many dangerous shoals without any remarkable occurrence till the 4th of February, when we got within three leagues of the north-west cape of New Guinea, called by the Dutch Cape Mabo. Off this cape there lies a small woody island, and many islands of different sizes to the north and north-east of it. This part of New Guinea is high land, adorned with tall trees, that appeared very green and flourishing. The cape itself is not very high, but ends in a low sharp point, and on either side there appears another such point at equal distances, which makes it resemble a diamond. This only appears when you are abreast of the middle point, and then you have no ground within three leagues of the shore.
In the afternoon we passed by the cape and stood over for the islands. Before it was dark we were got within a league of the westernmost, but had no ground with fifty fathom of line: however, fearing to stand nearer in the dark, we tacked and stood to the east and plied all night. The next morning we were got five or six leagues to the eastward of that island, and, having the wind easterly, we stood in to the northward among the islands, sounded, and had no ground; then I sent in my boat to sound, and they had ground with fifty fathom near a mile from the shore. We tacked before the boat came aboard again, for fear of a shoal that was about a mile to the east of that island the boat went to, from whence also a shoal-point stretched out itself till it met the other: they brought with them such a cockle as I have mentioned in my “Voyage Round the World” found near Celebes, and they saw many more, some bigger than that which they brought aboard, as they said, and for this reason I named it Cockle Island. I sent them to sound again, ordering them to fire a musket if they found good anchoring; we were then standing to the southward, with a fine breeze. As soon as they fired, I tacked and stood in; they told me they had fifty fathom when they fired. I tacked again, and made all the sail I could to get out, being near some rocky islands and shoals to leeward of us. The breeze increased, and I thought we were out of danger, but having a shoal just by us, and the wind failing again, I ordered the boat to tow us, and by their help we got clear from it. We had a strong tide setting to the westward.
At one o’clock, being past the shoal, and finding the tide setting to the westward, I anchored in thirty-five fathom coarse sand, with small coral and shells. Being nearest to Cockle Island, I immediately sent both the boats thither, one to cut wood, and the other to fish. At four in the afternoon, having a small breeze at south-south-west, I made a sign for my boats to come on board. They brought some wood, and a few small cockles, none of them exceeding ten pounds’ weight, whereas the shell of the great one weighed seventy-eight pounds; but it was now high water, and therefore they could get no bigger. They also brought on board some pigeons, of which we found plenty on all the islands where we touched in these seas: also in many places we saw many large bats, but killed none, except those I mentioned at Pub Sabuda. As our boats came aboard, we weighed and made sail, steering east-south-east as long as the wind held. In the morning we found we had got four or five leagues to the east of the place where we weighed. We stood to and fro till eleven; and finding that we lost ground, anchored in forty-two fathom coarse gravelly sand, with some coral. This morning we thought we saw a sail.
In the afternoon I went ashore on a small woody island, about two leagues from us. Here I found the greatest number of pigeons that ever I saw either in the East or West Indies, and small cockles in the sea round the island in such quantities that we might have laden the boat in an hour’s time. These were not above ten or twelve pounds’ weight. We cut some wood, and brought off cockles enough for all the ship’s company; but having no small shot, we could kill no pigeons. I returned about four o’clock, and then my gunner and both mates went thither, and in less than three-quarters of an hour they killed and brought off ten pigeons. Here is a tide: the flood sets west and the ebb east, but the latter is very faint and but of small continuance, and so we found it ever since we came from Timer: the winds we found easterly, between north-east and east-south-east, so that if these continue, it is impossible to beat farther to the eastward on this coast against wind and current. These easterly winds increased from the time we were in the latitude of about 2 degrees south, and as we drew nigher the line they hung more easterly: and now being to the north of the continent of New Guinea, where the coast lies east and west, I find the trade-wind here at east, which yet in higher latitudes is usually at north-north-west and north-west; and so I did expect them here, it being to the south of the line.
The 7th, in the morning, I sent my boat ashore on Pigeon Island, and stayed till noon. In the afternoon my men returned, brought twenty-two pigeons, and many cockles, some very large, some small: they also brought one empty shell, that weighed two hundred and fifty-eight pounds.
At four o’clock we weighed, having a small westerly wind and a tide with us; at seven in the evening we anchored in forty-two fathom, near King William’s Island, where I went ashore the next morning, drank His Majesty’s health, and honoured it with his name. It is about two leagues and a half in length, very high and extraordinarily well clothed with woods; the trees are of divers sorts, most unknown to us, but all very green and flourishing; many of them had flowers, some white, some purple, others yellow: all which smelt very fragrantly: the trees are generally tall and straight bodied, and may be fit for any use. I saw one of a clean body, without knot or limb, sixty or seventy feet high by estimation; it was three of my fathoms about, and kept its bigness, without any sensible decrease, even to the top. The mould of the island is black, but not deep, it being very rocky. On the sides and top of the island are many palmetto trees, whose heads we could discern over all the other trees, but their bodies we could not see.
About one in the afternoon we weighed and stood to the eastward, between the main and King William’s Island, leaving the island on our larboard side, and sounding till we were past the island, and then we had no ground. Here we found the flood setting east-by-north, and the ebb west~by-south; there were shoals and small islands between us and the main, which caused the tide to set very inconstantly, and make many whirlings in the water; yet we did not find the tide to set strong any way, nor the water to rise much.
On the 9th, being to the eastward of King William’s Island, we plied all day between the main and other islands, having easterly winds and fair weather till seven the next morning; then we had very hard rain till eight, and saw many shoals of fish. We lay becalmed off a pretty deep bay on New Guinea, about twelve or fourteen leagues wide, and seven or eight leagues deep, having low land near its bottom, but high land without. The easternmost part of New Guinea seen bore east-by-south, distant twelve leagues; Cape Mabo west-south-west half-south, distant seven leagues.
At one in the afternoon it began to rain, and continued till six in the evening, so that, having but little wind and most calms, we lay still off the forementioned bay, having King William’s Island still in sight, though distant by judgment fifteen or sixteen leagues west. We saw many shoals of small fish, some sharks, and seven or eight dolphins, but caught none. In the afternoon, being about four leagues from the shore, we saw an opening in the land, which seemed to afford good harbour. In the evening we saw a large fire there, and I intended to go in (if winds and weather would permit) to get some acquaintance with the natives.
Since the 4th instant that we passed Cape Mabo, to the 12th, we had small easterly winds and calms, so that we anchored several times, where I made my men cut wood, that we might have a good stock when a westerly wind should present, and so we plied to the eastward, as winds and currents would permit, having not got in all above thirty leagues to the eastward of Cape Mabo; but on the 12th, at four in the afternoon, a small gale sprang up at north-east-by-north, with rain; at five it shuffled about to north-west, from thence to the south-west, and continued between those two points a pretty brisk gale, so that we made sail and steered away north-east, till the 13th, in the morning, to get about the Cape of Good Hope. When it was day we steered north-east half east, then north-east~by-east till seven o’clock, and, being then seven or eight leagues off shore, we steered away east, the shore trending east-by-south. We had very much rain all night, so that we could not carry much sail, yet we had a very steady gale. At eight this morning the weather cleared up, and the wind decreased to a fine top-gallant gale, and settled at west-by~south. We had more rain these three days past, than all the voyage, in so short a time. We were now about six leagues from the land of New Guinea, which appeared very high; and we saw two headlands about twenty leagues asunder, the one to the east and the other to the west, which last is called the Cape of Good Hope. We found variation east 4 degrees.
The 15th, in the morning, between twelve and two o’clock, it blew a very brisk gale at north-west, and looked very black in the south-west. At two it flew about at once to the south-south-west, and rained very hard. The wind settled some time at west-south-west, and we steered east-north~east till three in the morning; then the wind and rain abating, we steered east-half-north for fear of coming near the land. Presently after, it being a little clear, the man at the bowsprit end called out, “Land on our starboard bow.” We looked out and saw it plain: I presently sounded, and had but ten fathom, soft ground. The master, being somewhat scared, came running in haste with this news, and said it was best to anchor. I told him no, but sound again; then we had twelve fathom; the next cast, thirteen and a half; the fourth, seventeen fathom; and then no ground with fifty fathom line. However, we kept off the island, and did not go so fast but that we could see any other danger before we came nigh it; for here might have been more islands not laid down in my drafts besides this, for I searched all the drafts I had, if perchance I might find any island in the one which was not in the others, but I could find none near us. When it was day we were about five leagues off the land we saw; but, I believe, not above five miles, or at most two leagues, off it when we first saw it in the night.
This is a small island, but pretty high; I named it Providence. About five leagues to the southward of this there is another island, which is called William Scouten’s Island, and laid down in our drafts: it is a high island, and about twenty leagues big.
It was by mere providence that we missed the small island; for, had not the wind come to west-south-west, and blown hard, so that we steered east~north-east, we had been upon it by our course that we steered before, if we could not have seen it. This morning we saw many great trees and logs swim by us, which, it is probable, came out of some great rivers on the main.
On the 16th we crossed the line, and found variation 6 degrees 26 minutes east. The 18th, by my observation at noon, we found that we had had a current setting to the southward, and probably that drew us in so nigh Scouten’s Island. For this twenty-four hours we steered east-by-north with a large wind, yet made but an east-by-south half south course, though the variation was not above 7 degrees east.
The 21st we had a current setting to the northward, which is against the true trade monsoon, it being now near the full moon. I did expect it here, as in all other places. We had variation 8 degrees 45 minutes east. The 22nd we found but little current, if any; it set to the southward.
On the 23rd, in the afternoon, we saw two snakes, and the next morning another passing by us, which was furiously assaulted by two fishes, that had kept us company five or six days; they were shaped like mackerel, and were about that bigness and length, and of a yellow-greenish colour. The snake swam away from them very fast, keeping his head above water; the fish snapped at his tail, but when he turned himself, that fish would withdraw, and another would snap, so that by turns they kept him employed, yet he still defended himself, and swam away a great pace, till they were out of sight.
The 25th, betimes in the morning, we saw an island to the southward of us, at about fifteen leagues’ distance. We steered away for it, supposing it to be that which the Dutch call Wishart’s Island; but, finding it otherwise, I called it Matthias, it being that saint’s day. This island is about nine or ten leagues long, mountainous and woody, with many savannahs, and some spots of land which seemed to be cleared.
At eight in the evening we lay by, intending, if I could, to anchor under Matthias Isle; but the next morning, seeing another island about seven or eight leagues to the eastward of it, we steered away for it. At noon we came up fair with its south-west end, intending to run along by it and anchor on the south-east side, but the tornadoes came in so thick and hard that I could not venture in. This island is pretty low and plain, and clothed with wood; the trees were very green, and appeared to be large and tall, as thick as they could stand one by another. It is about two or three leagues long, and at the south-west point there is another small, low, woody island, about a mile round, and about a mile from the other. Between them there runs a reef of rocks which joins them. (The biggest I named Squally Island.)
Seeing we could not anchor here, I stood away to the southward, to make the main; but having many hard squalls and tornadoes, we were often forced to hand all our sails and steer more easterly to go before it. On the 26th at four o’clock it cleared up to a hard sky and a brisk settled gale; then we made as much sail as we could. At five it cleared up over the land, and we saw, as we thought, Cape Solomaswer bearing south-south~east, distance ten leagues. We had many great logs and trees swimming by us all this afternoon, and much grass; we steered in south-south-east till six, then the wind slackened, and we stood off till seven, having little wind; then we lay by till ten, at which time we made sail, and steered away east all night. The next morning, as soon as it was light, we made all the sail we could, and steered away east-south-east, as the land lay, being fair in sight of it, and not above seven leagues’ distance. We passed by many small low woody islands which lay between us and the main, not laid down in our drafts. We found variation 9 degrees 50 minutes east.
The 28th we had many violent tornadoes, wind, rain, and some spouts, and in the tornadoes the wind shifted. In the night we had fair weather, but more lightning than we had seen at any time this voyage. This morning we left a large high island on our larboard side, called in the Dutch drafts Wishart’s Isle, about six leagues from the main; and, seeing many smokes upon the main, I therefore steered towards it.
The mainland at this place is high and mountainous, adorned with tall, flourishing trees; the sides of the hills had many large plantations and patches of clear land, which, together with the smoke we saw, were certain signs of its being well inhabited; and I was desirous to have some commerce with the inhabitants. Being nigh shore, we saw first one proa; a little after, two or three more, and at last a great many boats came from all the adjacent bays. When they were forty-six in number they approached so near us that we could see each other’s signs and hear each other speak, though we could not understand them, nor they us. They made signs for us to go in towards the shore, pointing that way. It was squally weather, which at first made me cautious of going too near; but the weather beginning to look pretty well, I endeavoured to get into a bay ahead of us, which we could have got into well enough at first; but while we lay by, we were driven so far to leeward that now it was more difficult to get in. The natives lay in their proas round us; to whom I showed beads, knives, glasses, to allure them to come nearer. But they would not come so nigh as to receive anything from us; therefore I threw out some things to them, viz., a knife fastened to a piece of board, and a glass bottle corked up with some beads in it, which they took up, and seemed well pleased. They often struck their left breast with their right hand, and as often held up a black truncheon over their heads, which we thought was a token of friendship, wherefore we did the like. And when we stood in towards their shore, they seemed to rejoice; but when we stood off, they frowned, yet kept us company in their proas, still pointing to the shore. About five o’clock we got within the mouth of the bay, and sounded several times, but had no ground, though within a mile of the shore. The basin of this bay was about two miles within us, into which we might have gone; but as I was not assured of anchorage there, so I thought it not prudent to run in at this time, it being near night, and seeing a black tornado rising in the west, which I most feared. Besides, we had near two hundred men in proas close by us; and the bays on the shore were lined with men from one end to the other, where there could not be less than three or four hundred more. What weapons they had, we knew not, nor yet their design; therefore I had, at their first coming near us, got up all our small arms, and made several put on cartouch boxes, to prevent treachery. At last I resolved to go out again; which, when the natives in their proas perceived, they began to fling stones at us as fast as they could, being provided with engines for that purpose, wherefore I named this place Slinger’s Bay; but at the firing of one gun they were all amazed, drew off, and flung no more stones. They got together, as if consulting what to do; for they did not make in towards the shore, but lay still, though some of them were killed or wounded; and many more of them had paid for their boldness, but that I was unwilling to cut off any of them, which, if I had done, I could not hope afterwards to bring them to treat with me.
The next day we sailed close by an island, where we saw many smokes, and men in the bays, out of which came two or three canoes, taking much pains to overtake us, but they could not, though we went with an easy sail, and I could not now stay for them. As I passed by the south-east point I sounded several times within a mile of the Sandy Bays, but had no ground. About three leagues to the northward of the south-east point we opened a large, deep bay, secured from west-north-west and south-west winds. There were two other islands that lay to the north-east of it, which secured the bay from north-east winds; one was but small, yet woody; the other was a league long, inhabited, and full of cocoa-nut trees. I endeavoured to get into this bay, but there came such flaws off from the high land over it that I could not. Besides, we had many hard squalls, which deterred me from it; and, night coming on, I would not run any hazard, but bore away to the small inhabited island, to see if we could get anchorage on the east side of it. When we came there we found the island so narrow, that there could be no shelter; therefore I tacked and stood towards the greater island again; and being more than midway between both, I lay by, designing to endeavour for anchorage next morning. Between seven and eight at night we spied a canoe close by us, and seeing no more, suffered her to come aboard. She had three men in her, who brought off five cocoa-nuts, for which I gave each of them a knife and a string of beads, to encourage them to come off again in the morning: but before these went away we saw two more canoes coming; therefore we stood away to the northward from them, and then lay by again till day. We saw no more boats this night, neither designed to suffer any to come aboard in the dark.
By nine o’clock the next morning we were got within a league of the great island, but were kept off by violent gusts of wind. These squalls gave us warning of their approach by the clouds which hung over the mountains, and afterwards descended to the foot of them; and then it is we expect them speedily.
On the 3rd of March, being about five leagues to leeward of the great island, we saw the mainland ahead, and another great high island to leeward of us, distant about seven leagues, which we bore away for. It is called in the Dutch drafts Garret Dennis Isle. It is about fourteen or fifteen leagues round, high and mountainous, and very woody. Some trees appeared very large and tall, and the bays by the seaside are well stared with cocoa-nut trees, where we also saw some small houses. The sides of the mountains are thickset with plantations, and the mould in the new-cleared land seemed to be of a brown-reddish colour. This island is of no regular figure, but is full of points shooting forth into the sea, between which are many sandy bays, full of cocoa-nut trees. The middle of the isle lies in 3 degrees 10 minutes south latitude. It is very populous. The natives are very black, strong, and well-limbed people, having great round heads, their hair naturally curled and short, which they shave into several forms, and dye it also of divers colours — viz., red, white, and yellow. They have broad round faces, with great bottle-noses, yet agreeable enough till they disfigure them by painting, and by wearing great things through their noses as big as a man’s thumb, and about four inches long. These are run clear through both nostrils, one end coming out by one cheek-bone, and the other end against the other; and their noses so stretched that only a small slip of them appears about the ornament. They have also great holes in their ears, wherein they wear such stuff as in their noses. They are very dexterous, active fellows in their proas, which are very ingeniously built. They are narrow and long, with outriggers on one side, the head and stern higher than the rest, and carved into many devices — viz., some fowl, fish, or a man’s head painted or carved; and though it is but rudely done, yet the resemblance appears plainly, and shows an ingenious fancy. But with what instruments they make their proas or carved work I know not, for they seem to be utterly ignorant of iron. They have very neat paddles, with which they manage their proas dexterously, and make great way through the water. Their weapons are chiefly lances, swords and slings, and some bows and arrows. They have also wooden fish-spears for striking fish. Those that came to assault us in Slinger’s Bay on the main are in all respects like these, and I believe these are alike treacherous. Their speech is clear and distinct. The words they used most when near us were vacousee allamais, and then they pointed to the shore. Their signs of friendship are either a great truncheon, or bough of a tree full of leaves, put on their heads, often striking their heads with their hands.
The next day, having a fresh gale of wind, we got under a high island, about four or five leagues round, very woody, and full of plantations upon the sides of the hills; and in the bays, by the waterside, are abundance of cocoa-nut trees. It lies in the latitude of 3 degrees 25 minutes south, and meridian distance from Cape Mabo 1,316 miles. On the south-east part of it are three or four other small woody islands, one high and peaked, the others low and flat, all bedecked with cocoa-nut trees and other wood. On the north there is another island of an indifferent height and of a somewhat larger circumference than the great high island last mentioned. We passed between this and the high island. The high island is called in the Dutch drafts Anthony Cave’s Island. As for the flat, low island, and the other small one, it is probable they were never seen by the Dutch, nor the islands to the north of Garret Dennis’s Island. As soon as we came near Cave’s Island some canoes came about us, and made signs for us to come ashore, as all the rest had done before, probably thinking we could run the ship aground anywhere, as they did their proas, for we saw neither sail nor anchor among any of them, though most Eastern Indians have both. These had proas made of one tree, well dug, with outriggers on one side; they were but small, yet well shaped. We endeavoured to anchor, but found no ground within a mile of the shore. We kept close along the north side, still sounding till we came to the north-east end, but found no ground, the canoes still accompanying us, and the bays were covered with men going along as we sailed. Many of them strove to swim off to us, but we left them astern. Being at the north-east point, we found a strong current setting to the north-west, so that though we had steered to keep under the high island, yet we were driven towards the flat one. At this time three of the natives came on board. I gave each of them a knife, a looking-glass, and a string of beads. I showed them pumpkins and cocoa-nut shells, and made signs to them to bring some aboard, and had presently three cocoa-nuts out of one of the canoes. I showed them nutmegs, and by their signs I guessed they had some on the island. I also showed them some gold dust, which they seemed to know, and called out “Manneel, Manneel,” and pointed towards the land. A while after these men were gone, two or three canoes came from the flat island, and by signs invited us to their island, at which the others seemed displeased, and used very menacing gestures and, I believe, speeches to each other. Night coming on, we stood off to sea, and having but little wind all night, were driven away to the north-west. We saw many great fires on the flat island. The last men that came off to us were all black as those we had seen before, with frizzled hair. They were very tall, lusty, well-shaped men. They wear great things in their noses, and paint as the others, but not much. They make the same signs of friendship, and their language seems to be one; but the others had proas, and these canoes. On the sides of some of these we saw the figures of several fish neatly cut, and these last were not so shy as the others.
Steering away from Cave’s Island south-south-east, we found a strong current against us, which set only in some places in streams, and in them we saw many trees and logs of wood, which drove by us. We had but little wood aboard; wherefore I hoisted out the pinnace, and sent her to take up some of this driftwood. In a little time she came aboard with a great tree in tow, which we could hardly hoist in with all our tackles. We cut up the tree and split it for firewood. It was much worm-eaten, and had in it some live worms above an inch long, and about the bigness of a goose-quill, and having their heads crusted over with a thin shell.
After this we passed by an island, called by the Dutch St. John’s Island, leaving it to the north of us. It is about nine or ten leagues round, and very well adorned with lofty trees. We saw many plantations on the sides of the hills, and abundance of cocoa-nut trees about them, as also thick groves on the bays by the seaside. As we came near it three canoes came off to us, but would not come aboard. They were such as we had seen about the other islands. They spoke the same language, and made the same signs of peace, and their canoes were such as at Cave’s Island.
We stood along by St. John’s Island till we came almost to the south-east point, and then, seeing no more islands to the eastward of us, nor any likelihood of anchoring under this, I steered away for the main of New Guinea, we being now, as I supposed, to the east of it, on this north side. My design of seeing these islands as I passed along was to get wood and water, but could find no anchor ground, and therefore could not do as I purposed; besides, these islands are all so populous, that I dared not send my boat ashore, unless I could have anchored pretty nigh; wherefore I rather chose to prosecute my design on the main, the season of the year being now at hand, for I judged the westerly winds were nigh spent.
On the 8th of March we saw some smoke on the main, being distant from it four or five leagues. It is very high, woody land, with some spots of savannah. About ten in the morning six or seven canoes came off to us. Most of them had no more than one man in them. They were all black, with short curled hair, having the same ornaments in their noses, and their heads so shaved and painted, and speaking the same words as the inhabitants of Cave’s Island before mentioned.
There was a headland to the southward of us, beyond which, seeing no land, I supposed that from thence the land trends away more westerly. This headland lies in the latitude of 5 degrees 2 minutes south, and meridian distance from Cape Mabo 1,290 miles. In the night we lay by, for fear of overshooting this headland, between which and Cape St. Manes the land is high, mountainous and woody, having many points of land shooting out into the sea, which make so many fine bays; the coast lies north-north-east and south-south-west.
The 9th, in the morning a huge black man came off to us in a canoe, but would not come aboard. He made the same signs of friendship to us as the rest we had met with; yet seemed to differ in his language, not using any of those words which the others did. We saw neither smoke nor plantations near this headland. We found here variation 1 degree east.
In the afternoon, as we plied near the shore, three canoes came off to us; one had four men in her, the others two apiece. That with the four men came pretty nigh us, and showed us a cocoa-nut and water in a bamboo, making signs that there was enough ashore where they lived; they pointed to the place where they would have us go, and so went away. We saw a small round pretty high island about a league to the north of this headland, within which there was a large deep bay, whither the canoes went; and we strove to get thither before night, but could not; wherefore we stood off, and saw land to the westward of this headland, bearing west~by-south-half-south distance about ten leagues, and, as we thought, still more land bearing south-west-by-south, distance twelve or fourteen leagues, but being clouded, it disappeared, and we thought we had been deceived. Before night we opened the headland fair, and I named it Cape St. George. The land from hence trends away west-north-west about ten leagues, which is as far as we could see it; and the land that we saw to the westward of it in the evening, which bore west-by-south-half-south, was another point about ten leagues from Cape St. George; between which there runs in a deep bay for twenty leagues or more. We saw some high land in spots like islands, down in that bay at a great distance; but whether they are islands, or the main closing there we know not. The next morning we saw other land to the south-east of the westernmost point, which till then was clouded; it was very high land, and the same that we saw the day before, that disappeared in a cloud. This Cape St. George lies in the latitude of 5 degrees 5 minutes south; and meridian distance from Cape Mabo 1,290 miles. The island off this cape I called St. George’s Isle; and the bay between it and the west point I named St. George’s Bay. [Note:— No Dutch drafts go so far as this cape by ten leagues.] On the 10th, in the evening, we got within a league of the westernmost land seen, which is pretty high and very woody, but no appearance of anchoring. I stood off again, designing, if possible, to ply to and fro in this bay till I found a conveniency to wood and water. We saw no more plantations nor cocoa-nut trees; yet in the night we discerned a small fire right against us. The next morning we saw a burning mountain in the country. It was round, high, and peaked at top, as most volcanoes are, and sent forth a great quantity of smoke. We took up a log of driftwood, and split it for firing; in which we found some small fish.
The day after we passed by the south-west cape of this bay, leaving it to the north of us. When we were abreast of it I called my officers together, and named it Cape Orford, in honour of my noble patron, drinking his Lordship’s health. This cape bears from Cape St. George south-west about eighteen leagues. Between them there is a bay about twenty-five leagues deep, having pretty high land all round it, especially near the capes, though they themselves are not high. Cape Orford lies in the latitude of 5 degrees 24 minutes south, by my observation; and meridian distance from Cape St. George, forty-four miles west. The land trends from this cape north-west by west into the bay, and on the other side south-west per compass, which is south-west 9 degrees west, allowing the variation, which is here 9 degrees east. The land on each side of the cape is more savannah than woodland, and is highest on the north-west side. The cape itself is a bluff-point, of an indifferent height, with a flat tableland at top. When we were to the south-west of the cape, it appeared to be a low point shooting out, which you cannot see when abreast of it. This morning we struck a log of driftwood with our turtle-irons, hoisted it in, and split it for firewood. Afterwards we struck another, but could not get it in. There were many fish about it.
We steered along south-west as the land lies, keeping about six leagues off the shore; and, being desirous to cut wood and fill water, if I saw any conveniency, I lay by in the night, because I would not miss any place proper for those ends, for fear of wanting such necessaries as we could not live without. This coast is high and mountainous, and not so thick with trees as that on the other side of Cape Orford.
On the 14th, seeing a pretty deep bay ahead, and some islands where I thought we might ride secure, we ran in towards the shore and saw some smoke. At ten o’clock we saw a point which shot out pretty well into the sea, with a bay within it, which promised fair for water; and we stood in with a moderate gale. Being got into the bay within the point, we saw many cocoa-nut-trees, plantations, and houses. When I came within four or five miles of the shore, six small boats came off to view us, with about forty men in them all. Perceiving that they only came to view us, and would not come aboard, I made signs and waved to them to go ashore; but they did not or would not understand me; therefore I whistled a shot over their heads out of my fowling-piece, and then they pulled away for the shore as hard as they could. These were no sooner ashore, than we saw three boats coming from the islands to leeward of us, and they soon came within call, for we lay becalmed. One of the boats had about forty men in her, and was a large, well-built boat; the other two were but small. Not long after, I saw another boat coming out of the bay where I intended to go; she likewise was a large boat, with a high head and stern painted, and full of men. This I thought came off to fight us, as it is probable they all did; therefore I fired another small shot over the great boat that was nigh us, which made them leave their babbling and take to their paddles. We still lay becalmed; and therefore they, rowing wide of us, directed their course towards the other great boat that was coming off. When they were pretty near each other I caused the gunner to fire a gun between them, which he did very dexterously; it was loaded with round and partridge shot; the last dropped in the water somewhat short of them, but the round shot went between both boats, and grazed about one hundred yards beyond them. This so affrighted them that they both rowed away for the shore as fast as they could, without coming near each other; and the little boats made the best of their way after them. And now, having a gentle breeze at south-south-east, we bore into the bay after them. When we came by the point, I saw a great number of men peeping from under the rocks: I ordered a shot to be fired close by, to scare them. The shot grazed between us and the point, and, mounting again, flew over the point, and grazed a second time just by them. We were obliged to sail along close by the bays; and, seeing multitudes sitting under the trees, I ordered a third gun to be fired among the cocoa-nut-trees to scare them; for my business being to wood and water, I thought it necessary to strike some terror into the inhabitants, who were very numerous, and (by what I saw now, and had formerly experienced) treacherous. After this I sent my boat to sound; they had first forty, then thirty, and at last twenty fathom water. We followed the boat, and came to anchor about a quarter of a mile from the shore, in twenty-six fathom water, fine black sand and ooze. We rode right against the mouth of a small river, where I hoped to find fresh water. Some of the natives standing on a small point at the river’s mouth, I sent a small shot over their heads to frighten them, which it did effectually. In the afternoon I sent my boat ashore to the natives who stood upon the point by the river’s mouth with a present of cocoa-nuts; when the boat was come near the shore, they came running into the water, and put their nuts into the boat. Then I made a signal for the boat to come aboard, and sent both it and the yawl into the river to look for fresh water, ordering the pinnace to lie near the river’s mouth, while the yawl went up to search. In an hour’s time they returned aboard with some barrecoes full fresh of water; which they had taken up about half a mile up the river. After which I sent them again with casks, ordering one of them to fill water, and the other to watch the motions of the natives, lest they should make any opposition. But they did not, and so the boats returned a little before sunset with a tun and a half of water; and the next day by noon brought aboard about six tuns of water.
I sent ashore commodities to purchase hogs, &c. being informed that the natives have plenty of them, as also of yams and other good roots; but my men returned without getting anything that I sent them for, the natives being unwilling to trade with us. Yet they admired our hatchets and axes, but would part with nothing but cocoa-nuts, which they used to climb the trees for; and so soon as they gave them our men, they beckoned to them to be gone, for they were much afraid of us.
The 18th I sent both boats again for water, and before noon they had filled all my casks. In the afternoon I sent them both to cut wood; but seeing about forty natives standing on the bay at a small distance from our men, I made a signal for them to come aboard again, which they did, and brought me word that the men which we saw on the bay were passing that way, but were afraid to come nigh them. At four o’clock I sent both the boats again for more wood, and they returned in the evening. Then I called my officers to consult whether it were convenient to stay here longer, and endeavour a better acquaintance with these people, or go to sea. My design of tarrying here longer was, if possible, to get some hogs, goats, yams, or other roots, as also to get some knowledge of the country and its product. My officers unanimously gave their opinions for staying longer here. So the next day I sent both boats ashore again, to fish and to cut more wood. While they were ashore about thirty or forty men and women passed by them; they were a little afraid of our people at first, but upon their making signs of friendship, they passed by quietly, the men finely bedecked with feathers of divers colours about their heads, and lances in their hands; the women had no ornament about them, nor anything to cover their nakedness but a bunch of small green boughs before and behind, stuck under a string which came round their waists. They carried large baskets on their heads, full of yams. And this I have observed amongst all the wild natives I have known, that they make their women carry the burdens while the men walk before, without any other load than their arms and ornaments. At noon our men came aboard with the wood they had cut, and had caught but six fishes at four or five hauls of the seine, though we saw abundance of fish leaping in the bay all the day long.
In the afternoon I sent the boats ashore for more wood; and some of our men went to the natives’ houses, and found they were now more shy than they used to be, had taken down all the cocoa-nuts from the trees, and driven away their hogs. Our people made signs to them to know what was become of their hogs, &e. The natives pointing to some houses in the bottom of the bay, and imitating the noise of those creatures, seemed to intimate that there were both hogs and goats of several sizes, which they expressed by holding their hands abroad at several distances from the ground.
At night our boats came aboard with wood, and the next morning I went myself with both boats up the river to the watering-place, carrying with me all such trifles and iron-work as I thought most proper to induce them to a commerce with us; but I found them very shy and roguish. I saw but two men and a boy. One of the men, by some signs, was persuaded to come to the boat’s side, where I was; to him I gave a knife, a string of beads, and a glass bottle. The fellow called out, “Cocos, cocos,” pointing to a village hard by, and signified to us that he would go for some; but he never returned to us: and thus they had frequently of late served our men. I took eight or nine men with me, and marched to their houses, which I found very mean, and their doors made fast with withies.
I visited three of their villages, and, finding all the houses thus abandoned by the inhabitants, who carried with them all their hogs, &c., I brought out of their houses some small fishing-nets in recompense for those things they had received of us. As we were coming away we saw two of the natives; I showed them the things that we carried with us, and called to them, “Cocos, cocos,” to let them know that I took these things because they had not made good what they had promised by their signs, and by their calling out “Cocos.” While I was thus employed the men in the yawl filled two hogsheads of water, and all the barrecoes. About one in the afternoon I came aboard, and found all my officers and men very importunate to go to that bay where the hogs were said to be. I was loth to yield to it, fearing they would deal too roughly with the natives. By two o’clock in the afternoon many black clouds gathered over the land, which I thought would deter them from their enterprise; but they solicited me the more to let them go. At last I consented, sending those commodities I had ashore with me in the morning, and giving them a strict charge to deal by fair means, and to act cautiously for their own security. The bay I sent them to was about two miles from the ship. As soon as they were gone, I got all things ready, that, if I saw occasion, I might assist them with my great guns. When they came to land, the natives in great companies stood to resist them, shaking their lances, and threatening them, and some were so daring as to wade into the sea, holding a target in one hand and a lance in the other. Our men held up to them such commodities as I had sent, and made signs of friendship, but to no purpose, for the natives waved them off. Seeing, therefore, they could not be prevailed upon to a friendly commerce, my men, being resolved to have some provision among them, fired some muskets to scare them away, which had the desired effect upon all but two or three, who stood still in a menacing posture, till the boldest dropped his target and ran away. They supposed he was shot in the arm; he and some others felt the smart of our bullets, but none were killed, our design being rather to frighten than to kill them. Our men landed, and found abundance of tame hogs running among the houses. They shot down nine, which they brought away, besides many that ran away wounded. They had but little time, for in less than an hour after they went from the ship it began to rain; wherefore they got what they could into the boats, for I had charged them to come away if it rained. By the time the boat was aboard and the hogs taken in it cleared up, and my men desired to make another trip thither before night; this was about five in the evening, and I consented, giving them orders to repair on board before night. In the close of the evening they returned accordingly, with eight hogs more, and a little live pig; and by this time the other hogs were jerked and salted. These that came last we only dressed and corned till morning, and then sent both boats ashore for more refreshments either of hogs or roots; but in the night the natives had conveyed away their provisions of all sorts. Many of them were now about the houses, and none offered to resist our boats landing, but, on the contrary, were so amicable, that one man brought ten or twelve cocoa-nuts, left them on the shore after he had shown them to our men, and went out of sight. Our people, finding nothing but nets and images, brought some of them away, which two of my men brought aboard in a small canoe, and presently after my boats came off. I ordered the boatswain to take care of the nets till we came at some place where they might be disposed of for some refreshment for the use of all the company. The images I took into my own custody.
In the afternoon I sent the canoe to the place from whence she had been brought, and in her two axes, two hatchets (one of them helved), six knives, six looking-glasses, a large bunch of beads, and four glass bottles. Our men drew the canoe ashore, placed the things to the best advantage in her, and came off in the pinnace which I sent to guard them; and now, being well-stocked with wood and all my water-casks full, I resolved to sail the next morning. All the time of our stay here we had very fair weather, only sometimes in the afternoon we had a shower of rain, which lasted not above an hour at most; also some thunder and lightning, with very little wind; we had sea and land breezes, the former between the south-south-east, and the latter from north-east to north~west.
This place I named Port Montague in honour of my noble patron: it lies in the latitude of 6 degrees 10 minutes south, and meridian distance from Cape St. George 151 miles west. The country hereabouts is mountainous and woody, full of rich valleys and pleasant fresh-water brooks. The mould in the valleys is deep and yellowish, that on the sides of the hill of a very brown colour, and not very deep, but rocky underneath, yet excellent planting land. The trees in general are neither very straight, thick, nor tall, yet appear green and pleasant enough; some of them bore flowers, some berries, and others big fruits, but all unknown to any of us; cocoa-nut trees thrive very well here, as well on the bays by the sea~side, as more remote among the plantations; the nuts are of an indifferent size, the milk and kernel very thick and pleasant. Here is ginger, yams, and other very good roots for the pot, that our men saw and tasted; what other fruits or roots the country affords I know not. Here are hogs and dogs; other land animals we saw none. The fowls we saw and knew were pigeons, parrots, cockatoos, and crows like those in England; a sort of birds about the bigness of a blackbird, and smaller birds many. The sea and rivers have plenty of fish; we saw abundance, though we caught but few, and these were cavallies, yellow-tails, and whip-rays.
We departed from hence on the 22nd of March, and on the 24th, in the evening, we saw some high land bearing north-west half-west, to the west of which we could see no land, though there appeared something like land bearing west a little southerly, but not being sure of it, I steered west~north-west all night, and kept going on with an easy sail, intending to coast along the shore at a distance. At ten o’clock I saw a great fire bearing north-west-by-west, blazing up in a pillar, sometimes very high for three or four minutes, then falling quite down for an equal space of time, sometimes hardly visible, till it blazed up again. I had laid me down, having been indisposed these three days; but upon a sight of this, my chief mate called me; I got up and viewed it for about half an hour, and knew it to be a burning hill by its intervals: I charged them to look well out, having bright moonlight. In the morning I found that the fire we had seen the night before was a burning island, and steered for it. We saw many other islands, one large high island, and another smaller but pretty high. I stood near the volcano, and many small low islands, with some shoals.
March the 25th, 1700, in the evening we came within three leagues of this burning hill, being at the same time two leagues from the main; I found a good channel to pass between them, and kept nearer the main than the island. At seven in the evening I sounded, and had fifty-two fathom fine sand and ooze. I stood to the northward to get clear of this strait, having but little wind and fair weather. The island all night vomited fire and smoke very amazingly, and at every belch we heard a dreadful noise like thunder, and saw a flame of fire after it the most terrifying that ever I saw; the intervals between its belches were about half a minute, some more, others less; neither were these pulses or eruptions alike, for some were but faint convulsions, in comparison of the more vigorous; yet even the weakest vented a great deal of fire; but the largest made a roaring noise, and sent up a large flame, twenty or thirty yards high; and then might be seen a great stream of fire running down to the foot of the island, even to the shore. From the furrows made by this descending fire, we could, in the day time, see great smoke arise, which probably were made by the sulphurous matter thrown out of the funnel at the top, which tumbling down to the bottom, and there lying in a heap, burned till either consumed or extinguished; and as long as it burned and kept its heat, so long the smoke ascended from it; which we perceived to increase or decrease, according to the quantity of matter discharged from the funnel: but the next night, being shot to the westward of the burning island, and the funnel of it lying on the south side, we could not discern the fire there, as we did the smoke in the day when we were to the southward of it. This volcano lies in the latitude of 5 degrees 33 minutes south, and meridian distance from Cape St. George, three hundred and thirty-two miles west.
The easternmost part of New Guinea lies forty miles to the westward of this tract of land; and by hydrographers they are made joining together; but here I found an opening and passage between, with many islands, the largest of which lie on the north side of this passage or strait. The channel is very good, between the islands and the land to the eastward. The east part of New Guinea is high and mountainous, ending on the north~east with a large promontory, which I named King William’s Cape, in honour of his present Majesty. We saw some smoke on it, and leaving it on our larboard side, steered away near the east land, which ends with two remarkable capes or heads, distant from each other about six or seven leagues: within each head were two very remarkable mountains, ascending very gradually from the sea-side, which afforded a very pleasant and agreeable prospect. The mountains and the lower land were pleasantly mixed with woodland and savannahs; the trees appeared very green and flourishing, and the savannahs seemed to be very smooth and even; no meadow in England appears more green in the spring than these. We saw smoke, but did not strive to anchor here, but rather chose to get under one of the islands (where I thought I should find few or no inhabitants), that I might repair my pinnace, which was so crazy that I could not venture ashore anywhere with her. As we stood over to the islands, we looked out very well to the north, but could see no land that way; by which I was well assured that we were got through, and that this east land does not join to New Guinea; therefore I named it Nova Britannia. The north-west cape I called Cape Gloucester, and the south-west-point Cape Anne; and the north-west mountain, which is very remarkable, I called Mount Gloucester.
This island which I called Nova Britannia, has about 4 degrees of latitude: the body of it lying in 4 degrees, and the northernmost part in 2 degrees 32 minutes, and the southernmost in 6 degrees 30 minutes south. It has about 5 degrees 18 minutes longitude from east to west. It is generally high mountainous land, mixed with large valleys, which, as well as the mountains appeared very fertile; and in most places that we saw, the trees are very large, tall and thick. It is also very well inhabited with strong well-limbed negroes, whom we found very daring and bold at several places. As to the product of it, I know no more than what I have said in my account of Port Montague; but it is very probable this island may afford as many rich commodities as any in the world: and the natives may be easily brought to commerce, though I could not pretend to it under my present circumstances.
Being near the island to the northward of the volcano, I sent my boat to sound, thinking to anchor here, but she returned and brought me word, that they had no ground till they met with a reef of coral rocks about a mile from the shore, then I bore away to the north side of the island, where we found no anchoring neither. We saw several people, and some cocoa-nut trees, but could not send ashore for want of my pinnace, which was out of order. In the evening I stood off to sea, to be at such a distance that I might not be driven by any current upon the shoals of this island, if it should prove calm. We had but little wind, especially the beginning of the night; but in the morning I found myself so far to the west of the island, that the wind being at east-south-east, I could not fetch it, wherefore I kept on to the southward, and stemmed with the body of a high island about eleven or twelve leagues long, lying to the southward of that which I before designed for. I named this island Sir George Rook’s Island.
We also saw some other islands to the westward, which may be better seen in my draft of these lands than here described; but seeing a very small island lying to the north-west of the long island which was before us, and not far from it. I steered away for that, hoping to find anchoring there; and having but little wind, I sent my boat before to sound, which, when we were about two miles’ distance from the shore, came on board and brought me word that there was good anchoring in thirty or forty fathom water, a mile from the isle, and within a reef of the rocks which lay in a half-moon, reaching from the north part of the island to the south-east; so at noon we got in and anchored in thirty-six fathom, a mile from the isle.
In the afternoon I sent my boat ashore to the island, to see what convenience there was to haul our vessel ashore in order to be mended, and whether we could catch any fish. My men in the boat rowed about the island, but could not land by reason of the rocks and a great surge running in upon the shore. We found variation here, 8 degrees 25 minutes west.
I designed to have stayed among these islands till I got my pinnace refitted; but having no more than one man who had skill to work upon her, I saw she would be a long time in repairing (which was one great reason why I could not prosecute my discoveries further); and the easterly winds being set in, I found I should scarce be able to hold my ground.
The 31st, in the forenoon, we shot in between two islands, lying about four leagues asunder, with intention to pass between them. The southernmost is a long island, with a high hill at each end; this I named Long Island. The northernmost is a round high island towering up with several heads or tops, something resembling a crown; this I named Crown Isle from its form. Both these islands appeared very pleasant, having spots of green savannahs mixed among the woodland: the trees appeared very green and flourishing, and some of them looked white and full of blossoms. We passed close by Crown Isle, saw many cocoa-nut trees on the bays and sides of the hills; and one boat was coming off from the shore, but returned again. We saw no smoke on either of the islands, neither did we see any plantations, and it is probable they are not very well peopled. We saw many shoals near Crown Island, and reefs of rocks running off from the points a mile or more into the sea: my boat was once overboard, with design to have sent her ashore, but having little wind, and seeing some shoals, I hoisted her in again, and stood off out of danger.
In the afternoon, seeing an island bearing north-west-by-west, we steered away north-west-by-north, to be to the northward of it. The next morning, being about midway from the islands we left yesterday, and having this to the westward of us, the land of the main of New Guinea within us to the southward, appeared very high. When we came within four or five leagues of this island to the west of us, four boats came off to view us, one came within call, but returned with the other three without speaking to us; so we kept on for the island, which I named Sir R. Rich’s Island. It was pretty high, woody, and mixed with savannahs like those formerly mentioned. Being to the north of it, we saw an opening between it and another island two leagues to the west of it, which before appeared all in one. The main seemed to be high land, trending to the westward.
On Tuesday, the 2nd of April, about eight in the morning, we discovered a high-peaked island to the westward, which seemed to smoke at its top: the next day we passed by the north side of the Burning Island, and saw smoke again at its top, but the vent lying on the south side of the peak, we could not observe it distinctly, nor see the fire. We afterwards opened three more islands, and some land to the southward, which we could not well tell whether it were islands or part of the main. These islands are all high, full of fair trees and spots of great savannahs, as well the Burning Isle as the rest; but the Burning Isle was more round and peaked at top, very fine land near the sea, and for two-thirds up it: we also saw another isle sending forth a great smoke at once, but it soon vanished, and we saw it no more; we saw also among these islands three small vessels with sails, which the people of Nova Britannia seem wholly ignorant of.
The 11th, at noon, having a very good observation, I found myself to the northward of my reckoning, and thence concluded that we had a current setting north-west, or rather more westerly, as the land lies. From that time to the next morning we had fair clear weather, and a fine moderate gale from south-east to east-by-north: but at daybreak the clouds began to fly, and it lightened very much in the east, south-east, and north~east. At sun-rising, the sky looked very red in the east near the horizon, and there were many black clouds both to the south and north of it. About a quarter of an hour after the sun was up, there was a squall to the windward of us; when on sudden one of our men on the forecastle called out that he saw something astern, but could not tell what: I looked out for it, and immediately saw a spout beginning to work within a quarter of a mile of us, exactly in the wind: we presently put right before it. It came very swiftly, whirling the water up in a pillar about six or seven yards high. As yet I could not see any pendulous cloud, from whence it might come, and was in hopes it would soon lose its force. In four or five minutes’ time it came within a cable’s length of us, and passed away to leeward, and then I saw a long pale stream coming down to the whirling water. This stream was about the bigness of a rainbow: the upper end seemed vastly high, not descending from any dark cloud, and therefore the more strange to me, I never having seen the like before. It passed about a mile to leeward of us, and then broke. This was but a small spout, not strong nor lasting; yet I perceived much wind in it as it passed by us. The current still continued at north-west a little westerly, which I allowed to run a mile per hour.
By an observation the 13th, at noon, I found myself 25 minutes to the northward of my reckoning; whether occasioned by bad steerage, a bad account, or a current, I could not determine; but was apt to judge it might be a complication of all; for I could not think it was wholly the current, the land here lying east-by-south, and west-by-north, or a little more northerly and southerly. We had kept so nigh as to see it, and at farthest had not been above twenty leagues from it, but sometimes much nearer; and it is not probable that any current should set directly off from a land. A tide indeed may; but then the flood has the same force to strike in upon the shore, as the ebb to strike off from it: but a current must have set nearly along shore, either easterly or westerly; and if anything northerly or southerly, it could be but very little in comparison of its east or west course, on a coast lying as this doth; which yet we did not perceive. If therefore we were deceived by a current, it is very probable that the land is here disjoined, and that there is a passage through to the southward, and that the land from King William’s Cape to this place is an island, separated from New Guinea by some strait, as Nova Britannia is by that which we came through. But this being at best but a probable conjecture, I shall insist no farther upon it.
The 14th we passed by Scouten’s Island, and Providence Island, and found still a very strong current setting to the north-west. On the 17th we saw a high mountain on the main, that sent forth great quantities of smoke from its top: this volcano we did not see in our voyage out. In the afternoon we discovered King William’s Island, and crowded all the sail we could to get near it before night, thinking to lie to the eastward of it till day, for fear of some shoals that lie at the west end of it. Before night we got within two leagues of it, and having a fine gale of wind and a light moon, I resolved to pass through in the night, which I hoped to do before twelve o’clock, if the gale continued; but when we came within two miles of it, it fell calm: yet afterwards by the help of the current, a small gale, and our boat, we got through before day. In the night we had a very fragrant smell from the island. By morning light we were got two leagues to the westward of it; and then were becalmed all the morning; and met such whirling tides, that when we came into them, the ship turned quite round: and though sometimes we had a small gale of wind, yet she could not feel the helm when she came into these whirlpools: neither could we get from amongst them, till a brisk gale sprang up: yet we drove not much any way, but whirled round like a top. And those whirlpools were not constant to one place but drove about strangely: and sometimes we saw among them large ripplings of the water, like great over-falls making a fearful noise. I sent my boat to sound, but found no ground.
The 18th Cape Mabo bore south, distance nine leagues; by which account it lies in the latitude of 50 minutes south, and meridian distance from Cape St. George one thousand two hundred and forty-three miles. St. John’s Isle lies forty-eight miles to the east of Cape St. George; which being added to the distance between Cape St. George and Cape Mabo, makes one thousand two hundred and ninety-one meridional parts; which was the furthest that I was to the east. In my outward-bound voyage I made meridian distance between Cape Mabo and Cape St. George, one thousand two hundred and ninety miles; and now in my return, but one thousand two hundred and forty-three; which is forty-seven short of my distance going out. This difference may probably be occasioned by the strong western current which we found in our return, which I allowed for after I perceived it; and though we did not discern any current when we went to the eastward, except when near the islands, yet it is probable we had one against us, though we did not take notice of it because of the strong easterly winds. King William’s Island lies in the latitude of 21 minutes south, and may be seen distinctly off Cape Mabo.
In the evening we passed by Cape Mabo; and afterwards steered away south~east half-east, keeping along the shore, which here trends south-easterly. The next morning, seeing a large opening in the land, with an island near the south side; I stood in, thinking to anchor there. When we were shot in within two leagues of the island, the wind came to the west, which blows right into the opening. I stood to the north shore, intending, when I came pretty nigh, to send my boat into the opening and sound, before I would venture in. We found several deep bays, but no soundings within two miles of the shore; therefore I stood off again, then seeing a rippling under our lee, I sent my boat to sound on it; which returned in half an hour, and brought me word that the rippling we saw was only a tide, and that they had no ground there.
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Last updated Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 14:14