17 August 1770
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17 August 1770

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Joseph Banks



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in Falconer's Dictionary of the Marine
17 August 1770

Friday 17th While Mr Hicks was examining the opening we strugled hard with the flood some time gaining a little and at other times looseing. At 2 oClock Mr Hicks returned with a favourable account of the opening.  it was immidiately resolved to try to secure the Ship in it, narrow and dangerous as it was it seem'd to be the only means we had of saving her as well as our selves. Abo a light breeze soon after sprung up at ENE which with the help of our boats and a flood tide we soon enter'd the opening and was hurried thro' in a short time by a rappid ^tide like a Mill race which kept us from driving againest either side tho the cannel was not more than a quarter of a Mile broad, we had however two boats ahead of us to direct us through, our depth of water in the Channell was from 30 to 7 fathom very erregular soundings and foul ground untill we had got quite within the Reef where we anchor'd in 19 fathom a Corally & Shelly bottom happy once more to incounter those shoals which but two days ago our utmost wishes were crowned by getting clear of, such are the vicissitudes attending this kind of service and must always attend an unknown Navigation: Was it not from the pleasure which naturly results to a Man from being the first discoverer, even was it nothing more than sands and Shoals, this service would be insuportable, especialy in far distant parts, like this, short of Provisions and almost also every other necessary. The world will hardly admit of an excuse for a man leaving a Coast he has unexplored he has once discover'd, if dangers are his excuse he is than charged with Timorousness and want of Perseverance and at once pronounced the unfitest man in the world to be employ'd as a discoverer   if on the other hand he boldly incounters all the dangers and obstacles he meets and his unfortunate enough not to succeed he is than charged with Temerity and want of conduct. The former of these aspersins cannot with Justice be laid to my charge and if I am fortunate enough to surmount all the dangers we may meet the latter will never be brought in question. I must own I have ingaged more among the Islands and shoals upon this Coast than may be thought with prudence I ought to have done with a single Ship and every other thing considered, but if I had not I should not have been able to give any better account of the one half of it than if we had never seen it, that is we should not ^have been able to say wether it consisted of main land or Islands and as to its produce, that we should ^must have been totally ignorant of as being inseparable with the other —I now came to a fix'd resolution to keep the Main land on board in our rout to the norward let the consequence be what it will, indeed now it was not adviseable to go without the reef, for by it we might be carried so far from the land ^Coast as not to be able to determine whether or no New Guinea joins to or makes a part of this land; this doubtfull point I had from my first coming upon the Coast determined ^if possible to clear up, but as I had lately experienced the ilconveniency of a boat under repair I intend to laying fast with the Ship tomorrow untill to have the Pinnace repaired and as I had no employ'd for the other boats I sent them all out ^in the morning to the reef to get such refreshments as they could find - Found the Variation by the Ampd and Azth to be 4°..9' East   At noon Latitude observed 12°-38' St Longitude in 216°..45' Wt the Main land extending from N 66° West to SWBS, distant off the nearest part 8 or 9 Leagues, the opening we came in by, which I have named Provdential Channell, bore ENE distant 10 or 12 Miles - On the Main land within us was a pretty high Promontory which I call'd Cape Weymouth, on the north side of the Cape is a Bay known by the same name / Latitude 12°..42', Longitude 217°.. 15' Wt / ————

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© Transcription of National Library of Australia, Manuscript 1 page 279, 2004
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