Neither the great extent of the reefs, to the eastward of Cape
1792.York, nor the loss of the Pandora, were known in 1792; when captain William Bligh came a second time to Torres' Strait, with His Majesty's ship Providence, and the brig Assistant commanded by lieutenant (now captain) Nathaniel Portlock. The objects of his mission were, to transport the bread-fruit plant from Taheity to the West Indies; and, in his way, to explore a new passage through the Strait; in both of which hie was successful.
A chart of the discoveries made in Torres' Strait, was lodged, by (AtPl. XIII.) captain Bligh, in the Admiralty Office; and is incorporated with other authorities, in Plate XIII. of the accompanying Atlas. No account of this voyage having yet been published; it is conceived, that the following brief relation of the passage through the strait, will be acceptable to the nautical reader; and, having had the honour to serve in the expedition, I am enabled to give it from my own journal, with the sanction of captain Bligh.
Aug. 31. Latitude at noon 9° 25' south; longitude from fifteen sets of distances of the sun west, and star east, of the moon, taken-on the 24th, 25th, and 26th, preceding, 145° 22', and by time keepers, 145° 23' east. No land seen since passing Louisiade the preceding day; but many birds and fish, and much rock weed. At dusk, having steered W. ¼ S. 27 miles, breakers were seen a-head, at the distance of two miles; and the vessels hauled to the wind: no bottom at 94 fathoms.
Sept. 1. They bore away W. by S.; but hauled up gradually to South, on account of the breakers; and not being able to weather them, tacked to the N. E. At noon, latitude 9° 37' south, longitude by time keepers, 144° 59' east: part of the reef, which was named
after captain Portlock, seen in the N.N.W. from the mast head.
- In Plate XIII. some small alterations are made in the longitudes given by captain Bligh's time keepers, to make them correspond with the corrected longitudes of the Investigator and Cumberland.