Page:A Voyage to Terra Australis Volume 1.djvu/138

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cxvi
[Prior Discoveries.
INTRODUCTION.

Bass.
1797.

Looking from the top of the promontory to the northward, there is seen a single ridge of mountains, which comes down, out of the interior country, in a southern direction for the promontory; but sloping off gradually to a termination, it leaves a space of twelve or sixteen miles of low, sandy land between them. This low land is nearly intersected by a considerable lagoon on the west, and a large shoal bay, named Corner Inlet, on the east side; and it seemed probable, that this insulated mass of granite has been entirely surrounded by the sea at no very distant period of time.

There were no inhabitants on Wilson's Promontory; but, upon the sandy neck, some were seen near the borders of the inlets. The few birds were thought to have a sweeter note than those of Port Jackson.

Four small, barren islands lie seven or eight miles to the northeast, from Sealers Cove. The northernmost of them was visited, and found to be about one mile and a half in circuit, ascending gradually from the shore, to a hill of moderate elevation in the centre. There was neither tree nor shrub upon it; but the surface was mostly covered with tufts of coarse grass, amongst which the seals had every where made paths and the petrels their burrows. Mr. Bass was of opinion, that upon these islands, and those lying scattered round the promontory, which are all more or less frequented by seals, a commercial speculation on a small scale might be made with advantage. The place of shelter for the vessel would be Sealers Cove, on the main land; which, though small, and apparently exposed to east winds, would be found convenient and tolerably secure: fresh water is there abundant, and a sufficiency of wood at hand to boil down any quantity of blubber likely to be procured.

The observed latitude of the cove was 38° 50';[1] and the rise of

tide found to be ten or eleven feet, ten hours and a quarter after the

  1. This appears to be from 10' to 15' too little: an error which probably arose from the same cause as others before noticed.