On the 7th of October, being completely equipped, I put to sea at eleven A. M. with a fine breeze from the N. W. and bid adieu to many who came down to see the little vessel depart, most of whom entertained doubts of our ever reaching New South Wales. At four P. M. I got clear out of False Bay , and at seven in the evening Cape Hanglip bore E. N. E. and the Cape of Good Hope N. W. ½ W. distant five leagues. We had now fresh gales from the W. and W. N. W. which in the night freshened with rain and a considerable sea.
I found that the vessel had lost none of her good qualities; and as the S. E. Monsoon had set in at this season, which blows with much force at times, I was determined to keep as much as possible out of its track, by getting into a higher south latitude as fast as I could. It was recommended to me to run down my easting without going into a higher latitude than the Cape , from an idea that the heaviness of the sea in the latitude of 40ºS. would be too much for my vessel to scud through, owing to the W. winds blowing in these latitudes constantly all the year round, and generally from the S. and W. thereby occasioning much heavy sea, hail, sleet, etc. Being well assured of the safety of my vessel, joined to the de1ays that might attend my keeping in variable latitudes subject to the strong S. E. winds, I prosecuted for some time my course to the southward, judging that on finding ourselves in too heavy weather we could leave it by hauling to the northward, and keeping in that parallel which best answered my purpose; at the same time securing a fair W. wind.
Independent of this being my own idea, I was encouraged in it by Captain John Osborn, of his Majesty's ship Tremendous, an old and experienced Officer, whose attention to me whilst at the Cape, joined to much good advice concerning my voyage, I am happy in having the opportunity to acknowledge, and to say that I profited by it. At six A. M. we had squally weather with much rain, which by noon cleared off, and we observed the latitude to be 35º 40'S. I still continued running to the southward, and found, as we got into an higher latitude, the wind to increase with much rain at times, and in general gloomy and uncomfortable weather, though we had not as yet met with the S.W. winds so much looked for. In the latitude of 36º and 37º I found that they hung in the N. W. quarter, and shifted to N. and N. E.
On the 10th, I observed at noon the latitude to be 38º 40' S. We had much following sea, though not in my opinion wind enough to raise or cause it. The wind had varied from E.N.E. to N. W. by N. It had every appearance of blowing, and as I have often found since in these high southern latitudes, that the sea frequently gets to a great height before the gale comes on, I have also observed, that after a gale has done blowing for some time the sea, will continue to rise, break much, and become very troublesome. It is no uncommon thing to find an heavy gale that has continued to blow with great violence, and stead for many hours, die away in the course of half an hour to almost a perfect calm. To many who are in large heavy vessels, like those in general made use of in crossing these seas, some of the above particulars might, and I believe are but little observed or attended to; but owing to the small size of the Lady Nelson, it became of the utmost importance to me to attend particularly to all those evolutions: in larger vessels the sea is not so much felt. As I observed above, we had this day no more than a fresh wind with a heavy following sea; insomuch, that the difference of latitude, by observation at noon , was fifteen miles more than our distance run. It perhaps might be owing to currents; however I am inclined to impute it to the power the sea has over the light draught of water of small vessels like mine when going before it. Soon after noon it came on to blow very heavy, so that before night we were obliged to hand every thing except the close-reefed main-top-sail, and reefed fore-sail.
The vessel scudded through the sea remarkably well, though it had got up to an uncommon height, and so perpendicular, that when getting over it appeared as running down a steep precipice; yet she did not ship any water of consequence. From the magnified stories I had heard at the Cape , I was in some degree led to believe I should not have less all the way, I therefore made some easting and endeavoured to keep in this parallel of latitude, until I saw how the weather would turn out. At twelve P. M. it freshened so much that we were obliged to bunt the fore-sail, and let the vessel run with the close-reefed main-top-sail lowered down on the cap all night, which she did perfectly easy and dry.
I am aware that many seamen may think scudding under a main-top-sail in a brig is a bad plan in case of broaching to, and prefer going under the fore-top-sail; but here is another advantage, which vessels with sliding keels have over others. Vessels in general broach to in a sea from not answering thcir helms sufficiently quick, perhaps from the force of the sea depriving, by its lift for a time, the rudder of its power. It is often occasioned in deep-loaded vessels, by their being too much loaded by the head; so that in all weathers they require a great deal of weather-helm, or as it is termed steer wild. In these cases, no doubt, a fore-top-sail is serviceable to pay off the vessel again by. But it has also the disadvantage, that it will often bury her more in the sea, and not admit of her being so lively as she might prove from a sail more in the center. Some are of opinion that a fore-top-sail makes a vessel lively by the force of the wind, serving as it were to lift the vessel up; but in small short ones, in a heavy towering sea, it will be found to impel them much faster downwards, than in assisting them to rise to it, frequently burying the bowsprit in the water, if not carrying it entirely away. By such means every thing may be washed off the decks, and the vessel much strained.
The sliding keels in this last respect are particularly serviceable, because the trim of the vessel, that is, the draught of water at either extremity may be altered at pleasure; by which means if properly attended to, she may be steered in the heaviest weather with the greatest ease, and in general weather without touching the helm at all. In all cases, a vessel of this description can be brought up, or fall off faster than her sails can be trimmed to the wind.
There is another great advantage, which is, in heaving-to quickly in an heavy sea: this is particularly useful in small craft, as I have often experienced, by having the sail ready to set that I intended to lay-to under, and watching the passing of one sea, with proper attention to the keels, and taking the head-sail quickly off as the helm is put down; by which means the vessel will be round head to the next following sea, and would stay if not prevented by again righting the helm. This cannot be done in other vessels, they must be brought-to gradually, and often ship many seas before that can be accomplished, as their beam must necessarily for a time be exposed, and in deep-loaded vessels, frequently attended with the loss of every thing on deck from the force of the sea.
The same heavy weather continued with very little variation, accompanied with hail at times, and heavy rain till the 12th, when it began to moderate, and towards noon the gale had nearly subsided, but left behind it an high troublesome cross sea, which made the vessel tumble about a great deal, and ship some water at times. As the wind had varied during the gale from N. by E. to W.N. W. hauling back at times to N. N. W. and N. W. I altered our course as I found it convenient, keeping the vessel right before the wind, which, as it did not lead us out of our way, I preferred on account of the heaviness of the sea we had got into, which at times broke much: I was therefore from this circumstance obliged at all times to have a watchful eye upon the sea, and throw the vessel directly before it without regarding any particular course, by which means she shipped little water.
At noon on the 12th, by observation, I found we were in lat. 38º 17' S. long. by account, 27º 18' E.– We this day had many birds of the Pintadoe and Petterel kind about us. One of the former species, a very beautiful bird, in the height of the gale, from what cause I know not, unless it had overeaten itself, fell down on the deck, and vomited a greenish sort of matter as it was falling. One of the men picked it up, and brought it to me, but I ordered it to be laid on the deck, where it scrambled about till it got behind a hen-coop, when it lay quiet. I have reason to believe that aquatic birds, which chiefly prey on the water, and but seldom visit land, are incapable of walking, but assist themselves by scrambling with their feet and wings; at least all I have had an opportunity of observing did so. After remaining behind the coop about fifteen minutes, the bird again scrambled to the side of the vessel, and dropped into the water, where it appeared for the short time we saw it as lively as any of the others, which were in numbers about us, both in the water and on the wing. It is certain that the black Haglet, which I have several times mentioned in this narrative, procures its food by often harassing and fighting with other birds, particularly a species of gull (called by the seamen, the Fisherman) until they throw up the food they have swallowed, which the other instantly seizes on. Probably this might have been the cause of the Pintadoe taking shelter with us. Hereafter I shall have occasion to notice these kind of birds.
On the 13th, we had moderate fine weather, which enabled us to determine the longitude by observation of the sun and moon's nearest limb to be 29º E. of Greenwich. By account it was 29º 55' E. We had the wind at W. N. W.; towards evening it hauled to the S. and E. bringing with it squalls and rain, which gradually came round to the S. W. when we had clear steady weather.
On the 14th at noon , we were in latitude 38º 1' S. by observation. From this I judged that we had nothing to fear from the latitudes, which I had been informed were likely to give us much trouble io regard to the seas generally met with in them. As I had scudded through a very heavy one in the last gale without the smallest loss or damage, I intended not to get farther to the N. than 38' S. or to the S. than 40', as to the N. of the first mentioned latitude variable winds might much retard my progress, and in the latter we should have as rnuch wind as we could make a good use of without trouble or inconveniency. Though it is laid down as a general rule that strong W. or S.W. winds prevail or are to be met with in latitudes 35º and 36º S.
I shaped a course more S. and on the 16th at noon , observed the latitude to be 38º 44' S. and the variation, per sun's amplitude at setting, 28º 45' W. We had a strong breeze with rain the greatest part of the following day; but on the 18th the weather became very fine. The variation per sun's amplitude at setting was 31º 47' W.
As usual I ordered the bedding and clothes upon deck, cleaned thoroughly below by washing the cabins and berths with vinegar, and sprinkling oil of tar in all places where the air had not a free circulation. From this day till the 22d the weather was uncommonly fine, the wind generally from S. W. to N. W., N. N.W. and W.S.W. On the last mentioned day the weather became dark and cloudy, with fresh gales and heavy showers of rain at times. A number of Pintadoes, Petterels and Albatrosses of a large size were about us. We had no observation at noon . At midnight we were under close reefed main-top-sail and fore-sail; but at day-light it moderated.
On the 23d, we observed at noon our latitude to be 39º 44' S. These repetitions of latitudes, longitudes and weather, will be tedious and unsatisfactory to those who are not seamen or navigators; but to the latter who may pursue a similar track, and perhaps in a small vessel, it may be useful to know that in these parallels of latitude no land has been met with; and which as we got on to the E. was determined by our running down our easting in a parallel of latitude that no vessel we have any account of ever pursued; that is to say, in the parallel of 38º and 39º S. from Amsterdam Island until we made the S. and W. sides of New Holland.
On the 24th, we had variable and squally weather with showers of hail and sleet; however, it did not prevent our having an observation at noon , when we found our latitude to be 39º 13' S.
The following day at noon we were in latitude 38º 49' S. The weather cold and raw with sleet and snow, and an heavy cross sea running. However, the vessel got through it very well. On the 26th, we found the variation to be, per azimuth at sun-rising, 26º 57' W. latitude by observation at noon 39º S. longitude from lunar observation, sun and moon taken, forty- three minutes past noon, 60º 46' E. of Greenwich.
The weather until the 29th was various, generally squally with rain and sleet. On the 28th at noon , by observation, we were in lat. 38º 54' S. The following day the wind hauled to the N. E. and N.N. E.: had no observation this day, but by account it was 39º 1' S. Towards evening the wind from N.E. freshened into a heavy gale, so that we were obliged to heave the vessel to, as it blew with great violence in gusts with heavy showers of sleet and hail. The sea was so powerful that it often, from striking the bow of the vessel, threw her off so far as to expose her beam her much when in the trough of the hollow sea, which becalmed, nearly, the small after-sail we had set on her: I therefore tried the effect of a drag-sail, giving it a good scope. It answered remarkably well, and at the same time prevented her from making much drift; so that she never fell off more than three points, and presently returned; that is, when we had the wind at N.W. by W. to which point, when it veered round, she came up to N. by W. and fell off to N. N. E. We also got the fore-topsail-yard on deck, which eased her wonderfully, and made her much drier, though we shipped but very little water. Owing to her little draught and flat bottom she rose like a piece of cork on the top of every wave.
At seven o'clock in the morning of the 30th, we had much less wind, but a very heavy sea. We got up the fore-topsail-yard and bore up. By double altitude of the sun we found the latitude to be 39º 50' S.
On the 31st the variation per amplitude was 26º W. latitude by observation at noon 39º 28' S. long. by account 74º 23' E. As I intended to touch, if possible, at the Island of St. Paul , or at all events to get a sight of it, I made the best of my way for that purpose. The following day, the 1st of November, we had no observation at noon ; neither could we, from the thickness of the weather, get a double altitude. Though deprived of the former, yet I depended much on seeing the Island of Amsterdam , in order to correct my longitude, and endeavour if possible to land on it. I therefore made my arrangements for the night, in case of meeting with any unforeseen accident.
In the morning the weather proved clear, which enabled me to see the wished for island at eight o'clock A.M. We steered close along the S. E. shore, and found frequent flurries and gusts of wind accompanied with rain. Seamen in passing close in shore ought to be guarded against these; for though the weather was fine some miles from this land, insomuch that we could carry every sail, yet on our approach we were obliged to come under close reefed topsails, and afterwards take the fore-topsail in altogether. A thick cloud hovering over the highest peak of the island indicated at this time unsteady weather. They who have seen the top of the rock of Gibraltar when the strong Levant winds are blowing, will be able to form a better idea of this appearance than any thing I can say on the subject. The shore we passed along was pretty high and inaccessible, until we opened the Bason described by all navigators who have visited this place, and which is remarkable from a sugar-loaf rock standing contiguous to it.
This is the proper mark given for bringing a vessel to anchor; and it does not appear till you arc close upon it, when keeping near the shore, owing to its being hidden by a nook of land. Great care must be taken to have every thing ready for immediately coming to an anchor, there being a very strong outset from the Bason, which is felt the moment you open the rock. In this instance we were particularly unfortunate. I have before observed, that we had heavy flurries off the shore, and that the Peak was covered with a cloud. The moment we had opened the Bason, and got a sight of this rock, there came on so violent a squall, with thick sleet and rain, that the land was entirely hidden from our sight. The current also which setting out very strong had caused a confused bubbling and troublesome sea, and though we hauled to windward instantly, and made several tacks, in order to gain the bank for anchoring, our efforts were without effect, the wind and current being too powerful for us. When the squall cleared off, we saw a flag staff and flag flying on the top of the Peak, and knowing that people were often there killing seals, I supposed that a party of these was there at that time, which was confirmed to us, as will appear hereafter. However, we could not discover this party though we had an excellent telescope.
The appearance of Amsterdam Island is not favourable to the eye from there being no trees on it. It is plentifully covered with grass. The sea here abounds with fish and seals; which we had an opportunity of proving as to the former, having caught some very fine snappers. We did not observe many birds, owing, perhaps, to their being at this season on shore breeding. We only saw a flock of small white birds with swallow-forked tails; a few pettre1s and penguins, and a bird resembling a crow, but rather larger, with a black back, and white breast. The boisterous weather probably prevented our seeing any seals, which are said to be numerous about this and the neighbouring island of St. Paul . Of these islands little new can be related. John Henry Coxe, Esq. in his voyage gives a very just and accurate description of them, as far as I had an opportunity of observing. Having his Work in my possession I referred to it as I sailed along; and I am free to dec1are, from the accuracy of it, that he has left little for others that may follow to do. I wished much to have had an opportunity of observing, whether the warm springs, taken notice of by all who have visited them, are salt or fresh. This my worthy and esteemed friend Captain Schank requested me to do; but I was disappointed by both wind and current, and did not chuse to lose time through waiting for a change in the former. The current I found hurried us on to the S. E. and the wind varied from N.W. to S. W. altering every squall.
I had an observation at noon , when the body of the Island bore S. W. distant six miles. The latitude I observed was 38º 46' S. longitude by my account 77º 18' E. of Greenwich; variation per the sun's amplitude at setting 22º 30' W. Soon after leaving the Island we passed a piece of board like a boat's thwart with some rope round it.
On the 3d, we passed much sea weed, and saw some whales. Latitude by observation at noon 38º 9' S. longitude by account 80º 24' E. The following day we saw many whales of the kind called the Right Whale: these do not yield spermaceti. One of my crew had been two voyages in the whale fishery, and pointed out the different species when they appeared, and by the blow at a great distance.
Nothing particular occurred till the 9th, when whales of the spermaceti kind were very numerous round us, and birds of the pintadoe, pettrel and albatross species. At noon our latitude by observation was 38º 6' S. longitude by account 100º 13' E The weather in general was very variable from wet to dry, accompanied with strong minds, which shifted from S. W. and S. S. W. to N. W. and N. We had, however, more northerly wind than southerly, and which brought with it in general a great deal of rain. The northerly winds in this hemisphere coming from the Line towards the Pole bring with them nearly the same weather in general when they blow strong, as southerly winds do on the British coast.
We had several showers of hail with the wind at S. W. on the 11th; and on the 13th, I ordered thc bread-room to be examined, when a leak was discovered from two iron knees, and another from a but end, which I suppose had been neglected to be caulked. Four bags of bread, containing 100 weight each, and part of some others, were entirely damaged. This was the second time I had been so tricked. Bread put up in bags is much better than loose; for when it meets with an accident in the bread-room in the latter way, it is very difficult to separate the good from the bad. Apprehensive of leaks, I had put a few bags into the hold prior to leaving the Cape , all of which were in good order. The leaks we soon stopped.
We now began to decrease our westerly variation fast. On the 15th, by the sun's azimuth at setting, we found 12º W. variation; and on the 16th, it being calm, we got a boat out and tried if there was any current, but none could be perceived. At noon , by observation, our latitude was 38º 10' S. longitude, by account, 119º l4' E. The weather was now fine: we saw several different species of whales, with two threshers at work on one of them. This fish it is said kills the whale.
On the 20th, by lunar observation, we found the longitude to be 125º l4' E. latitude at noon 38º 18' S. Many porpoises about us, two of which we killed, affording a fresh meal to the crew. I still kept up the custom of airing the bedding, and washing between decks, which kept my men active and healthy.
By my account on the 23d, we were in longitude 130º E. latitude 38º 31' S. As we had now crossed Captain Vancouver's Track, which is the farthest eastward of any laid down in this parallel of latitude, it behoved us to keep a strict and attentive Look-out for land both by night and day. I therefore admonished my small crew to watch carefully every appearance of that nature, promising every encouragement to those that were diligent, and pointing out to those inclined to be otherwise the dangers we were liable to encounter through neglect, with the disgrace and punishment which assuredly must fall to them. I had the satisfaction to find that they punctually executed all my orders, and I never had occasion to find fault with any one of them, during the time I had the honour to command the Lady Nelson.
On the 24th we bent both our cables, and unstowed the anchors. We kept a strict look-out from the mast-head for land, day and night.
We observed the variation by the sun's azimuth at setting on the 26th, to be 4º 55' W. At noon the latitude was 38º 13' S. longitude by account 135º l4' E. The following day the variation was 2º 30' W. latitude 38º 15' S. We had but few birds about us. The weather dark and hazy, but generally the nights were clear with heavy dews falling, which I attributed to our proximity to the land. On the 29th, it was perfectly calm without a ripple. I tried if there was a current, but only found a small drift to the eastward, but so small as not to deserve any rate, and could just be observed by the line when immersed several fathoms beneath the surface, the other bodies taking their drift in that direction.
In the night we had a breeze from the E. and towards noon it freshened into a brisk gale, which lasted till the 30th, with uncommon smooth water for the force of wind, and the length of time it had blown. The heavy dews at night continued.
On the 1st of December we passed a large spermaceti whale, and at three P. M. we got so close to a seal as nearly to have run a boarding pike into it, there being little wind. At five P.M. we passed another, which followed us for some time, looking up at us, and shaking his head as he leaped from the sea In the middle watch; that is to say, between twelve and four in the morning, we heard and saw several seals. The wind was from the E. N. E. to N. E. by E. moderate with heavy dews.
At noon on the 2d, we observed the latitude to be 38º 19' S. longitude by account 139º 44' E. We had light winds inclining to calm. We had lost all the birds that generally followed us. The clouds hung heavy to the eastward, and about the horizon had much the appearance of land.
In the evening one of those long flies, known by the name of horse-stingers, came on board and lighted on the main-sail, where it continued for some time. This was a stronger proof of land being near us than any we had yet seen, as this insect could not exist for any length of time at sea. Though no land was to be seen I redoubled my watchfulness. In the evening it came on to blow with much sea during the night, which obliged us to keep very snug sail, in order to be enabled to haul, if necessary, close to the wind without losing time.
It continued to blow with heavy squalls and rain until four in the morning of the 3d, when we had day-light; after which I made all the sail I could.
At eight A. M. I saw the land from the N. training as far to the E. as E. N. E. The part that was right ahead appearing like unconnected islands, being four in number, distant six or seven leagues. At noon I observed, being in with the land, our latitude to be 38º 10' S. longitude by account 142º 30' E. which, according the best of my judgment, after looking over my Reckoning, I allowed the western point of land to lay in 142º E. From the distance I was from the shore, and observing in 38º 10', I make Cape Banks to lie in 58º 4' S.
It will be proper to give in this place the following copy of the Journal which I gave Governor King, being a narrative of what happened from the day I saw the land till I came to Wilson's Promontory; to which I shall add some marginal notes made by the Governor himself. I beg however previously to observe, that I have strong suspicions of land lying to the E. of New Holland from the number of seals and the fly which came on board, as already mentioned. I remark this, as from the run I made after until I made the land was 126 miles by the log: it is true we had for some days easterly winds which might have blown the insect off, but the distance is so great that I doubt it much.
Remarks made on board the Lady Nelson, coming in with the Land of New Holland .
” December 3d, at day-light made all possible sail, judging myself to be in the latitude of 38º S.* At eight A. M. saw the land from N. to E. N. E. the part that was right ahead appearing like unconnected islands, being four in number, which, on our nearer approach turned out to be two Capes and two high mountains a considerable way in shore. One of them was very like the Table Hill at the Cape of Good Hope , the other stands farther in the country. Both are covered with large trees, as is also the land which is low and flat, as far as the eye can reach. I named the first of these mountains after Captain Schank, and the other Gambier's Mountain.
The first Cape I called Northumberland, after his Grace the Duke of Northumberland, and another smaller but very conspicuous jut of the land, which we plainly saw when abreast of Cape Northumberland, I named. Cape Banks . When the former Cape bears N. W. by W. distant eight or nine miles, Schank's Mountain bearing N. and Gambier's N. by E.; from the vessel Schank's Mountain loses its table form and appears like a saddle. There does not appear to be an harbour here, but vessels may find shelter under Cape Northumherland from N. and N. N. W. winds, as also between Cape Banks and it from the E. winds. The shore is in general a flat sandy beach, the sea at present making no breach upon it.
” 4th. As we stood along the shore steering E. saw the land, as far as we could see, bearing S. E. hauled close up for it. This forming a conspicuous Cape I named it Bridgewater , in honour of the Duke of that title. At seven, little wind and heavy sea. The shore is a sandy beach, from where we made the land to this Cape , and flat land covered with bushes, and large woods inland. Finding we could not weather Cape Bridgewater , tacked occasionally, and got four oars on the lee side, which were employed all night. Baffling light winds from S. S.W. to S. E. with a heavy swell.
At day-break in the morning we weathered the Cape six or seven miles, when another Cape appeared bearing E. by N. about fifteen or sixteen miles distant, forming with Cape Bridgewater a very deep bay, and to appearance had shelter for anchorage, though much heavy swell. The land appeared beautiful, rising gradually, and covered with wood.
Being anxious to examine whether it was safe to venture in or not, and apprehensive we could not clear the shore, I ordered a boat out, and took two hands with me armed. At this time there was but little wind, but much sea and gloomy weather. After getting in shore about five miles, we found there was not any shelter from S. winds, the water very deep, and apparently the same all the way in. The vessel had now hove to with a fresh wind at W. S. W. and being very likely to blow with rain, we put back. The wind, however, did not stand. While near shore we saw plainly several fires. The sea being still very heavy and no wind, we got the launch ahead * Longitude worked back 141º 20' E. to tow. At noon it was a matter of great doubt, whether we should not be forced to anchor, the bay being very deep, we could hardly clear it with a steady breeze. Our latitude was 38º 21' S. Cape Bridgewater then bearing N. W. by W. twelve or thirteen miles. I called the other Cape Nelson after the vessel. At one, a light breeze sprung up, which with the boat ahead got us clear of the shore.
” 5th. P. M. light airs, and a very heavy rolling swell setting in upon the shore. Saw several fires. Being rather too far into the Bay, which is deep, I was for some time very doubtful whether we should not be obliged to trust to our anchors. A light breeze springing up, and the boat being ahead towing we got our head to the S. The West Cape I called Bridgewater , as already mentioned, and that to the East, Nelson. This is a very deep Bay, and with S. winds ought carefully to be avoided. Cape Nelson bears from Cape Bridgewater E. N. E. fifteen or sixteen miles.
The country is beautiful, apparently a good soi1, plenty of grass and fine woods. Towards evening saw many fires a little way inland. Many seals and porpoises about to- day. At six in the evening we had a moderate breeze from S. S. E. Cape Bridgewater bearing N. by E. four leagues, and Cape Nelson E.N. E. distant six leagues. Got in the boats, tacked occasionally during the night, working to windward.
At five A.M. saw another Cape not unlike the Dedman in the English Channel ; it runs a considerable way into the sea. When to the W. it appears like a long barn, arched on the top, with a high bluff, and next the sea resembling the gable-end of a house. I named this land Sir William Grant's Cape . Off this Cape are two small islands, the largest appears like two, having two hummocks joined together by a neck of low land, which is not seen till pretty close. On approaching, the smaller island is seen a little nearer the shore. These I called Lawrence 's Islands , after Captain Lawrence, one of the Elder Brethren of the Trinity House. As they will be an excellent mark for making this part, and save much trouble to those who have not an opportunity to keep far enough to the N. to make Cape Northumberland , and being very remarkable, navigators will know where they are as they draw abreast of them. The largest being to the S. with its two hummocks, its outer end from the shore appears like a square-topt tower very high with a white spot in the middle of it, which I suppose proceeds from birds. The other end is also very high. This island appears exactly, as here described, when it bears N. or N. by W. ½ W. when there is an offing of ten or twelve miles from it. Lawrence 's Islands bear from Cape Sir William Grant S. E. or S. E. by S. twelves miles distant, and there appears no danger between them and the shore.
The Cape now loses its long form as the vessel gets to the E. and its particular shape which was discernible when to the W. changes to a high bluff point, steep and inaccessible. The land round it is moderately high with much wood. Many fires were seen about this Cape . The land from it runs to the N. as far as the eye can reach or discern from the mast-head. I wished much for the wind from the N. that I might explore the land, as I think there must be harbours in it, but having it light from the S. S. E. varying every quarter of an hour to E. S. E. I could not throw away time in attempting it. The bottom of the Bay is hardly discernible from the masthead.
” 6th, P. M. light breezes and cloudy weather; tacked occasionally keeping the shore on board. At three, made a considerable large island, high and inaccessible on all sides. It was covered with grass but no trees. This island bears about E.S.E. from Cape Sir William Grant.
By a good observation at noon following, I made its latitude to be 38º 29' S. longitude by my account, reckoning from Cape Northumberland I make 144º account, reckoning from Cape Northumberland, (which I suppose is in '42º E. of Greenwich) I make 144º 40' E. it bearing from me when the observation was taken N. N. W. distant, eighteen or twenty miles, my latitude observed being 38º 45' S. I named this island Lady Julia's, in honour of Lady Julia Percy. Observed we ran faster along the land than our distance by log gave us, owing probably to a considerable drift to the E.
”7th. By the mean of four azimuths and amplitudes the variation is 2º 50' E. We had now fresh breezes and cloudy weather; we ran under a commanding sail during the night, the wind at S. S. W. and S. W. At day-light we saw the land making a Cape ahead, hauled up to clear it. This Cape is due E. S. E. with a moderate offing from Cape Sir William Grant, distant by log seventy miles. It is the E. promontory of this deep and extensive Bay, I named it Cape Albany Otway, in honour of William Albany Otway, Esq. Captain in the Royal Navy, and one of the Commissioners of the Transport Board.
Another very high and considerable Cape bearing from the last E.S. E. I called Patton's Cape . It is distant from Cape Albany Otway eight or ten miles, E. N. E. half E. I also distinguished the Bay by the name of Portland Bay , in honour of his Grace the Duke of Portland. The land is here truly picturesque and beautiful, resembling very much that about Mount Edgecumbe near Plymouth , which faces the Sound. It abounds in wood, very thick groves, and large trees.* It is moderately high but not mountainous. We did not see any fires on it, probably from the shore being inaccessible, and much surf breaking on it. From Cape Albany Otway E.N. E.
* Mr. Black, in the Harbinger, was close in with the land, and describes it nearly the same as Lieutenant Grant. P. G. K.
ten or twelve miles is another Point of Land, which appears as a vessel rounds the former Cape to the E. It is rather high land, with a clump of trees, as if regularly planted on its brow. Thinking from its projection we could find anchorage under it, and as we had a commanding breeze at W. S. W. I bore in pretty close; but as we approached I found several heavy breakers at least six miles from the shore, but not a rock to be seen: I therefore hauled off, and named the point of land, Cape Danger .
In getting to the E. I could not find any shelter, nor any place where there was a likelihood of anchoring; but from the number of little juts, and low points of land further to the N. and E. I was determined to try if any such place could be got. I never saw a finer country, the valleys appeared to have plenty of fresh water meandring through them.
At eleven A. M. I ordered the boats out, manned and armed, and went in search of a place to land on or anchor in. We got within a cable's length and an half of the shore, but finding the surf breaking heavy, I deemed it not prudent to attempt landing. The shore was a sandy beach, with small rocks interspersed here and there. In trying for soundings, with a hand lead line, none could be found; so that I really think the beach is steep also. I was very much disappointed in being so near, and obliged to return on board without setting foot on this beautiful spot. It resembles the Isle of Wight as near as possible in its appearance from the water; I therefore called this part of the coast, (which falls into the bottom of the small Bay from Cape Danger to the very low land, which is distinguished by a long ridge of breakers off it,) Wight's Land, in honour of Captain Wight of the Royal Navvy, son-in-law to Commissioner Schank.
On our return we got the boats in, and by observation I found the latitude to be 38º 52' S. about eight miles from the shore; Cape Danger bearing N. N, W. distant ten or twelve miles.
” 8th. At half past twelve P. M. bore away from the land, the wind being W. S. W. At one, having got sufficient offing, made sail to the eastward. At eight P. M. Cape Albany Otway bearing W. eighteen or twenty miles, we made a very high and lofty Cape covered with trees to the water's edge, as is all the country round it. From this Cape the land breaks short round. to the northward, when I lost it. We had now a fair wind, and might have done a great deal during the night, but I had my doubts whether this land, which fell off to the northward, should not have been followed and kept on board; as from a small chart given to me by Sir Joseph Banks, I found that as far as the coast had been surveyed, the land trained off to the northward, in the same form nearly as it did here from Cape Patton, with this difference, that the Cape I allude to on the chart had several islands lying off from it. Neither did the latitude exactly correspond; and the land which it laid down, running to the northward, was low and bushy, whereas that which I saw was high with large forests of trees, and no islands near it. I therefore chose the middle road; made snug sail; and ran sixty miles E. judging, if it was a Bay, I should see the eastern extremity of it.
At day-light, however, we could see nothing anywhere from the mast-head but the looming of the land we had left. We now bore up and ran N. by W. and at six, we saw the land again ahead, forming a very deep Bay, which I could not see the bottom of from the mast-head.*
At eight, the land was observed bearing from us E. S. E. extending farther to the southward than I could see. Being now certain of our route, I hauled up E. S. E. and named this Bay after Governor King. It is one of the longest we have yet met with; Cape Albany Otway forms the westernmost, and the South Cape the easternmost head-lands, the distance of about 120 miles due E. S. E. At noon it fell calm, the sun very sultry. Observed in 39º 30' S. mercury at 75º and 74º.
”9th, P. M. light airs inclining to calm. At four P. M. we saw several islands bearing E. S. E. the main land seemed to have an opening in it to the northward of them, which we stood in for, but I found it was another Bay with low land.
*If such a deep Bay as this actually exists, it favours the idea of New South Wales being insulated by a Mediterranean Sea . However, this the Lady Nelson must determine in the Voyage she is now gone upon. P. G. K.
This Bay runs in nearly E. I named the northernmost Cape after my friend John Liptrap, Esq. of London . The main land now shewed extending a considerable way to the southward, with several islands off the Cape . Judging this was the point of land we looked for from the colour of the water, we sounded, and had fifty fathoms with fine sand, South Cape distant nine or ten miles. The land abreast of the ship appearing to be at no great distance off, and it being quite calm, I got the boats out, and sent the launch ahead to tow. Thinking I should have the pleasure of setting my foot on this fine country, I set off in the gig with two hands, ordering the vessel to tow in after me, aod should a breeze spring up to get the launch in, and stand after me in for the Bay. At noon I sounded again in forty-one fathoms, sand and shells.
The weather still calm and hazy. We pulled in shore for some islands lying off from the main. at the western side of the South Cape , making for the largest of them which appeared to be the most fertile, on it I meant to have sowed some seeds, which I took with me, should I be able to land. The distance I could not have believed was so great as it proved to be; at least twelve miles from where we quitted the vessel, which we lost sight of before getting near the shore. Although we had not a breath of wind we found it impossible to land on this side, the shore being very steep, and a heavy surf running on it. Therefore as the ship was not in sight, and as it was two P. M. I judged it prudent to get back as soon as possible, which we effected by four o'clock .
We had now a light breeze from the E. and the weather intolerably close and sultry, the mercury standing at 72º and 3'. Got the boats in, and made sail to the southward. At seven, the wind at E. freshened into a strong gale, and at eight it blew a thunderstorm with much heavy forked lightning; but it being a weather shore, we kept close at the wind, in order to get to the southward of the islands lying off this Cape, when on a sudden it shifted due W. very dark, with heavy rain and lightning, which continued all night, the wind abating about twelve o'clock.
In the morning it was calm with hot sultry weather.
At noon I had a good observation in latitude 39º 30' S. The South part of the main, or South Cape bearing N. W. by N. distant twenty miles, and the longitude 147º 18' from a good lunar observation taken on the 8th instant. All round the Western side, and even thus far South of the Cape , there are soundings of fifty fathoms, forty-five and forty; white sand and shells. I called that space between Cape Liptrap and the South Cape, King George's Sound; and I have no doubt but there is good anchorage in the bite to the northward of the South Cape, on the westward side of which Cape Liptrap makes the northern head. The land here is high, and thc mountains covered with wood. Cape Liptrap is low and Hat, as is the land in this Bite, where I suppose there is shelter. There is an island bearing from the western part of the South Cape, South, a little easterly, about twelve miles from the shore. It is round and inaccessible on all sides.
The abovementioned island I called Rodondo, from its resemblance to that rock, well known to all seamen in the West Indies . A set of breakers to the south- ward and eastward of that rock, on which, though calm, the sea breaks much, bearing now from us N. N. W. ¼ W. distant six miles.
To the eastward there are five islands, the largest of which from its resemblance to the Lion's Mount at the Cape of Good Hope , I called Sir Roger Curtis's Island , who then commanded on that station. It is high and inaccessible on the N.W. side, and covered with small bushes on the top. The body of this island bearing from us E. S. E. distant seven or eight miles. Two other islands like hay-cocks, only higher and more perpendicular, standing a considerable distance from each other, the 1argest of which bore from us S. E. by S. distant sixteen or seven-teen miles, and the other S.E. by E. about ten miles. The latter is nearly shut in with the S. E. end of Sir Roger Curtis's Island . The fourth is a rock, standing a considerable height out of the water, nearly in a position between the two hay-cocks, or rather sugar-loaf-like islands, bearing S. E. ¼ S. The fifth is a high perpendicular barren cliff, which as we got almost abreast formed like two islands joined together at the bottom, rising to a sharp edge, ragged at the top, and resembling a large tower or castle. This island I named the Devil's Tower. It bore from us E. by N. about ten or twelve miles. An island in with the shore was observed, it bore W. N. W. distant ten miles; I called it Moncur's Island, in compliment to Captain Moncur of the Royal Navy: and another was visible bearing N. by E. sixteen or seventeen miles. Land, apparently an island, to the southward and eastward we can just see from the mast-head. It may be necessary to observe, that these bearings were taken at noon , aad as it was then a stark calm the vessel was nearly stationary. By a good observation the latitude was 39º 30', longitude 147º 18' E. calculated from lunar observation two days before; but I take it to be correctly 147º E. from my making the Ramhead, according to the best charts; therefore the bearings are laid down in any chart from 147º E.
”We now having made the Cape, which I presume is that laid down in the chart I got from Sir Joseph Banks, seen by Mr. Flinders,” any farther observation is unnecessary, as I find the land training along to the northward exactly as it is described by him.
” Wilson 's Promontory was so named. by Mr. George Bass, of his Majesty's ship Reliance, who was the first navigator that ascertained the real existence of a Strait separating Van Dieman's Land from New Holland, in his voyage in a whale boat, from Sydney to Western Port. Having made it, I set off in one of my boats early in the morning of the 10th, to endeavour to land on one of the islands lying off it; but, after a long pull, found the one I judged from its sloping aspect to be the easiest for that purpose, a solid rock for a considerable height, with surf too powerful for such a small boat as mine.
After several fruitless attempts I was obliged to abandon the idea, contenting myself with taking a view of it, and those contiguous. One of them was an immense rock; on one side perfectly round, with a large hole in the other, in the form of an arch, with a breast-work rising high enough above the level of the sea to preclude the water from getting into it: the hollow appeared as if scooped out by Art instead of Nature. I gave it the name of the Hole in the Wall; and to the range of islands stretching along the main, Glennie's Islands , after Mr. George Glennie, a particular friend of Captain Schank's, to whom I was under personal obligations. On the summit of all these islands there was a thick brush growing, whereas the land of Cape Liptrap, already mentioned, exhibited a fine level country.
The day being far spent in this survey, I deemed it best to get on board, as the vessel was but just visible with her head towards us, and becalmed. Round the Promontory we found from forty-five to fifty fathoms water, sand and shells. Towards night we had the wind E. S. E. with heavy clouds which brought on, with a sudden shift to N. E. and N. E. by N. a heavy squall, accompanied with much lightning and heavy rain. It cleared up at twelve; and in the morning we had calm weather.
* Mr. Bass, (from whose authority Lieutenant Flinders has ascertained thc position of Wilson 's Promontory) places it in 38º 56' S. Lieutenant Grant in 39º 17'; and Mr. Black in 39º 3'. As Mr. Bass's latitude is by computation from the Whale Boat, which might be liable to error, I think a preference may be given to Lieutenant Grant's position, as he had the advantage of a good Sextant. P. G. K.
+ The latitude of Wilson 's Promontory I afterwards determined to be 39º 2'S. but this will appear hereafter in its proper place.
” On the 12th we had fresh gales and cloudy weather; the shore we were running along was low and covered with thick brush, training in a N. E. direction, which Messieurs Flinders and Bass have given very accurate descriptions of. The weather being very rainy with fresh gales, I was prevented from ascertaining our latitude by observation.
” The heavy gales with constant rain prevailed on the following day, which continued until noon of the 14th, when it moderated, and became fair at times. This rain had continued to pour in torrents the heaviest and longest I ever experienced, being nearly forty-eight hours.
At noon I had a sight of the sun, and found by observation our latitude to be 37º 13' S. longitude 151º 40' E. I now found we had got to the E. of Port Jackson, as Sydney Town, or rather Bradley's Point, where the Fort stands, from several sets of lunar observations is found to lie in longitude E. of Greenwich 151º 18' 8”; latitude 33º 51' 28” S. The weather continued thick with S. and S. W gales, which made me, owing to these, delay some time for fear of overshooting Port Jackson, as these S. W. winds sometimes blow long and heavy; besides, objects on shore are not easily distinguished except when close. Governor King had taken the precaution of leaving a letter for me at the Cape , describing the particular marks for knowing the entrance of the Port, which no doubt saved us much trouble. They consisted of a pedestal and Bag-staff erected on the S. head or left-hand side of the entrance, and when vessels are seen the Rag is hoisted. This land being high, as is also the N. head, may be seen at a considerable distance in a clear day.
Botany Bay being the first opening that attracted our notice, we made the best of our way in the afternoon of the 16th to the northward, and soon after saw the Bag-staff as described by Governor King.
At six in the evening we entered between the Heads of Port Jackson. From the violence of the weather we found much swell in going in, but were soon in smooth water and an excellent harbour, perhaps, one of the finest in the known world. As the wind was from the S. and contrary to getting into Sydney Cove, we were obliged to beat up to it, and at half past seven in the evening we let go our anchors in eight fathoms water, after a voyage of seventy-one days from the Cape of Good Hope; and with the satisfaction of being the first vessel that ever pursued the same track across that vast ocean; as we have no traces of its being done, particularly from the Island of Amsterdam, viz. between the degrees of latitude 38º and 39º ½ S. until the Lady Nelson made the Coast of New Holland in latitude 38º, and steering to the eastward along a tract of land nearly four degrees to the westward of any seen by Messieurs Bass and Flinders; the former being the only one who had visited any part of that coast to the westward of Wilson's Promontory; Mr. Flinders' survey being more particularly attached to the S. side of those Straits (now deservedly named Bass's Straits,) along Van Dieman's Land.
I now report with much pleasure that I had conducted my little vessel safely out, which many judged impracticable, both in England and at the Cape, without any damage either in rigging, masts, or spars; besides fulfilling the Duke of Portland's orders to search for a passage through these Straits.
Many able officers and seamen at the Cape thought it too hazardous an attempt in running down the land in such high southern latitude, where in general heavy S. W. winds are constantly blowing, and where I might, from the long range of coast, not be able to extricate myself. The old beaten track to Port Jackson from the westward to the eastward was strongly recommended; as by that I should not be so liable to be baffled with westerly winds in any discoveries I should afterwards go upon in the Straits. The peevish and ignorant railed altogether at the attempt in such a vessel to make the voyage to New South Wales; and scrupled not to say we should have a long drift of it, as it was impossible to run or scud, the sea being too heavy for such a purpose.
Many of these men had been to New South Wales , and ought therefore to have known better, more particularly, as in the passage to the Cape of Good Hope from England , there is in winter, and in the neighbourhood of the Cape , as heavy weather and sea as in any part of the known world. Having however conquered all these difficulties of imagination, I felt thankful to God for the great success we had met with, and the protection he had shewn us throughout the whole voyage. Governor King had been expecting us for some time, as I had written to him from the Cape of Good Hope by the Porpoise, which left that place for New South Wales before us.
To the stranger the harbour of Port Jackson appears pleasing and picturesque, as he advances up it to the town. A small island with a house on it, named Garden Island , (which afterwards became my residence) enriches the view.