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Voyages in the Southern Hemisphere, Vols. II - IIIVoyaging Accounts
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On this day ...
6 - 7 September 1770

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James Cook
Joseph Banks
Parkinson


New Guinea to Savu


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New Guinea to Savu (continued)

We continued to steer W.S.W. at the rate of four miles and an half an hour, till ten o’clock at night, when we had forty-two fathom, at eleven we had thirty-seven, at twelve forty-five, at one in the morning forty-nine, and at three 120, after which we had no ground. At day-light, we made all the sail we could, and at ten o’clock, saw land, extending from N. N.W. to W. by N. distant between five and six leagues: at noon, it bore from N. to W. and at about the same distance: it appeared to be level, and of a moderate height: by our distance from New Guinea, it ought to have been part of the Arrou Islands, but it lies a degree farther to the south than any of these islands are laid down in the charts; and by the latitude should be Timor Laoet: we sounded, but had no ground with fifty fathom.

As I was not able to satisfy myself from any chart, what land it was that I saw to leeward, and fearing that it might trend away more southerly, the weather also being so hazy that we could not see far, I steered S.W. and by four had lost sight of the island. I was now sure that no part of it lay to the southward of 8° 15’ S. and continued standing to the S.W. with an easy sail, and a fresh breeze at S.E. by E. and E.S.E.: we sounded every hour, but had no bottom with 120 fathom.

At day-break in the morning, we steered W.S.W. and afterwards W. by S. which by noon brought us into the latitude of 9° 30’ S. longitude 229° 34’ W. and by our run from New Guinea, we ought to have been within sight of Weasel Isles, which in the charts are laid down at the distance of twenty or twenty-five leagues from the coast of New Holland; we however saw nothing, and therefore they must have been placed erroneously; nor can this be thought strange, when it is considered that not only these islands, but the coast which bounds this sea, have been discovered and explored by different people, and at different times, and the charts upon which they are delineated, put together by others, perhaps at the distance of more than a century after the discoveries had been made; not to mention that the discoverers themselves had not all the requisites for keeping an accurate journal, of which those of the present age are possessed.


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© Derived from Vols. II-III of the London 1773 edition: National Library of Australia call no. FERG 7243, pages 663 - 664, 2004
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