Page:A Voyage to Terra Australis Volume 1.djvu/39

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North Coast:Torres' Strait.]
xvii
INTRODUCTION.

Edwards
1791.

the whole of August 26, captain Edwards ran along it to the southward, without finding any passage through. On the 27th, the search was continued, without success; but on the 28th, a boat was despatched to examine an opening in the reef; and the ship stood off and on, waiting the result. At five in the evening, the boat made a signal for a passage being found; but fearing to venture through, so near sunset, without more particular information, captain Edwards called the boat on board. In the mean time, a current, or tide, set the Pandora upon the reef; and, after beating there till ten o'clock, she went over it into deep water; and sunk in 15 fathoms, at daylight of the 29th.

A dry sand bank was perceived within the opening, at the distance of four miles; and thither the boats repaired with the remaining officers and people; thirty-nine men having lost their lives in this melancholy disaster. This opening was ascertained to lie in latitude 11° 24', and longitude 143° 38'; and is represented as very practicable for ships.

Not being able to save any thing from the wreck, captain Edwards, almost destitute of provisions and water, set sail on Aug. 30, with his squadron of four boats; and steered for the north-east part of Terra Australis. No reefs, or other dangers, appear to have been encountered in the way to the coast; but in the course northward, along it, some islands and reefs were seen. From one part of the coast, two canoes with three black men in each, paddled hard after the boats; but though they waved and made many signs, it was not thought prudent to wait for them. At one of the York Isles, the natives, for some trifling presents, filled a keg of water for captain Edwards; but refused to bring down any more; and, soon afterward, they let fly a shower of arrows amongst the unfortunate sufferers. Happily no person was wounded; and the aggressors were put to flight, by a volley of musketry.

At the Prince of Wales' Islands, good water was found; and

much alleviated the distress of captain Edwards and his people,