Page:A Voyage to Terra Australis Volume 1.djvu/54

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xxxii
[Prior Discoveries.
INTRODUCTION.

Bampton and
Alt
1793.

wind becoming light at nine o'clock, Mr. Bampton anchored in 9 fathoms, on a muddy bottom, in latitude 7° 55' south. The coast of New Guinea was then seen to extend from N. N. W. ½W. to E. N. E.; and the south end of a reef, running off from the western extreme, bore W. by S. ½S., two leagues.

The land here forms a large, unsheltered bay; and an opening nearly at the head, bearing N.jK, appeared like the entrance of a considerable river; but an officer, who was sent in a boat to sound, saw breakers stretching across. The soundings were regular, from 9 to 6 fathoms, within a mile or two of the shore; when there was only twelve feet; and the surf which rolled in, made it impossible to land. The country round the bay is described as level and open, and of an agreeable aspect.

On the return of the boat the ships weighed, and stretched southward until June 27, at noon. The latitude was then 9° 1'; and a sand bank was seen from the mast head, bearing S. W. ½W. They then wore to the north-eastward; and continued upon that course until the 28th, at dusk; when the land of New Guinea being in sight as far as E. by N., the same, apparently, which had been set from the anchorage on the 26th, they stretched off till two in the morning; and then in again, towards the land.

Captain Bampton had followed the coast of New Guinea thus far, in the hope of finding a passage to the northward, between it and Louisiade; but the trending of the land so far to the east, and the difficulty of weathering it, from the current being adverse, obliged him to give up that hope. A consultation was then held; and a determination made to attempt the passage through the middle of Torres' Strait.

At the time the ships hauled their wind to the southward, the latitude was 8° 3'; the longitude, from three distances of the sun and moon, 145° 23'; and the depth of water 40 fathoms, on a muddy bottom. They had no soundings from that time to July 1, at one

a. m.; when there was 35 fathoms. At daylight, land, which was