Page:A Voyage to Terra Australis Volume 1.djvu/148

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[Prior Discoveries.


within be not better than what appeared from the sea, the northern part of this great island is sterile indeed. The Sisters are not so high as some of the hills on the great island, and are less sandy: the small, cliffy island, which lies eight or nine miles, nearly west, from the inner Sister, had no appearance of sand.

Whilst passing round the north end of Furneaux's Islands, I experienced how little dependence was to be put in compass bearings, in such, at least, as were taken with my best instrument, the steering compass of the schooner. The south extreme of the inner Sister shut on with the north-west point of the great island at E. ¾ S., magnetic bearing; but after passing round, they shut, on the other side, at W. by N. ¼ N.; so that, to produce an agreement, it was necessary to allow half a point more east variation on the first, when the schooner's head was N. by W., than on the last, when it was S. S. E. In a second instance, the north end of the outer Sister opened from the inner one at N. E. ¾ N.; but they came on again at S. W. ½ W., making a difference of a whole point, when the head was N. by W. and E. S. E. These bearings were probably not correct within two or three degrees; but they showed that a change in the course steered produced an alteration in the compass.

The observed latitude at noon was 39° 50⅓', the centre of the outer Sister bore N. 34° W., nearly five leagues, and our distance from the sandy, eastern shore of the great island was about six miles. At two o'clock, we came up with an island of three miles in length, and nearly the same space distant from a sandy projection of the great island. The passage between them is niuch contracted by shoal spits of sand which run out from each side; and it seemed doubtful, whether the water were deep enough in any part of the channel to admit a ship. The form of the land here is somewhat remarkable: upon the low projection of the great island there are three pyramidal hills, which obtained the name of the Patriarchs, and stand apart from the more western high land; and upon the

south-west end of the island opposite there is also a pyramid, which,