Page:A Voyage to Terra Australis Volume 1.djvu/132

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[Prior Discoveries.
INTRODUCTION.

Bass.
1797.

observed to be 37° 30'. In the evening he landed at the entrance of a lagoon, one mile north of the Ram Head, in order to take in as much fresh water as possible; for it was to be feared that a want of this necessary article might oblige him to discontinue his pursuit, at a time when, from the coast being unexplored, it would become more than ever interesting.

Dec. 21. A gale set in at W. S. W., and continued for nine days without intermission. This time was employed in examining the country, which, though hilly in external appearance, was found to be mostly low, sandy, and wet. The hills have a slight covering of green upon them, but consist of little else than sand; and from what could be seen of the back country, the soil there is scarcely better. The vallies are overgrown with long grass, ferns, brush-wood, and climbing plants, so as to be almost impenetrable; yet even there the soil is good for nothing.

At every landing place, from Jervis Bay to Barmouth Creek, the fresh water had been observed to diminish both in quantity and quality; and upon this coast of sand the difficulty of procuring it was expected to be very great. It was, on the contrary, plentiful; there being many little runs which drained out from the sand hills; and either trickled over the rocky spots at their feet, or sank through the beaches into the sea.

The western gale being at length succeeded by a breeze at E, N. E., Mr. Bass left the Ram Head early on the 31st. His course was W. by S., dose to a low, sandy coast; the beach being interrupted by small, rocky points, not oftener than once in ten or fifteen miles. The back land consisted of short ridges of irregular hills, lying at no great distance from the sea. At noon, the latitude was 37° 42'; and the distance run from the Ram Head, by computation, was thirty or thirty-five miles.

The furthest land seen by captain Cook, is marked at fifteen leagues from the Ram Head, and called Point Hicks; but at dusk

Mr. Bass had run much more than that distance close along the