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Voyages in the Southern Hemisphere, Vol. IVoyaging Accounts
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King George's Islands to Saypan, Tinian and Aguigan


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King George's Islands to Saypan, Tinian and Aguigan (continued)

this day we had lost: when we lost that swell, and for some days before, we saw vast flocks of birds, which we observed always took their flight to the southward when evening was coming on. These appearances persuaded me that there was land in the same direction, and I am of opinion, that if the winds had not failed me in the higher latitudes, I should have fallen in with it: I would indeed at this time have hauled away to the southward, and attempted the discovery, if our people had been healthy, for having observed that all the islands we had seen were full of inhabitants, I was still more confirmed in my opinion; as I could account for their being peopled only by supposing a chain of islands reaching to a continent; but the sickness of the crews, in both ships, was an insuperable impediment.

The next day, we again saw many birds of various sorts about the ship, and therefore supposed that some other island was not far distant, for the swell continuing, I concluded that the land was not of very great extent: I proceeded, however, with caution, for the islands in this part of the ocean render the navigation very dangerous, they being so low, that a ship may be close in with them before they are seen. We saw nothing, however, on the I8th, the I9th, nor the 20th, during which we continued to steer the same course, though the birds still continued about the vessel in great numbers. Our latitude was now 12° 33’S., longitude 167° 47’W. The Prince of Wales’s Island was distant three hundred and thirteen leagues, and the variation of the needle was 9° 15’E. The next morning, about seven o’clock, we discovered a most dangerous reef of breakers, bearing S.S.W. and not farther distant than a single league. In about half an hour afterwards, land was seen from the mast-head, bearing W.N.W. and distant about eight leagues: it had the appearance of three islands, with rocks and broken

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© Derived from Volume I of the London 1773 Edition: National Library of Australia call no. FERG 7243, page 108, 2004
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