Page:A Voyage to Terra Australis Volume 1.djvu/139

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East Coast, & V.D.'s Land.]
cxvii
INTRODUCTION.

Bass.
1798.

moon passed over the meridian. The flood, after sweeping southwestward along the great eastern beach, strikes off for the Seal Islands and the promontory, and then runs westward, past it, at the rate of two or three miles an hour: the ebb tide sets to the eastward. " Whenever it shall be decided," says Mr. Bass in his journal, "that the opening between this and Van Diemen's Land is a strait, this rapidity of tide, and the long south-west swell that seems to he continually rolling in upon the coast to the westward, will then be accounted for."

Feb. 2, Mr. Bass sailed to Corner Inlet; and next day fell in with the five convicts, whom he put across to the long beach,[1] but was himself unable to proceed until the 9th, in consequence of foul winds. Corner Inlet is little else than a large flat, the greater part of it being dry at low water. There is a long shoal on the outside of the entrance, which is to be avoided by keeping close to the shore of the promontory; but when the tide is out the depth, except in holes, no where exceeds a£ fathoms. A vessel drawing twelve or thirteen feet may lie safely under the high land, from which there are some large runs of most excellent water. The tide rises a foot less here than in Sealers Cove, and flows an hour later; arising, probably, from the flood leaving it in an eddy, by setting past, and not into the inlet.

Feb. 9, Corner Inlet was quitted with a strong south-west wind, and Mr. Bass steered E. by N. along the shore. At the distance of five miles, he passed the mouth of a shallow opening in the low sandy beach, from which a half-moon shoal stretches three miles to the south-eastward. Four or five miles further, a lesser opening of the same kind was passed; and by noon, when the latitude was 38° 34' (probably 38° 46'), he had arrived at the point of the long beach, which in going out, had been quitted to steer for the promontory. His general course from thence was N. E. by E. along the shore,

until nine o'clock, when judging the coast must begin to trend more

  1. Nothing more had been heard of these five men, so late as 1803.