Page:The life of Matthew Flinders.djvu/302

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235
FLINDERS IN PORT PHILLIP

land, Cape Bridgewater, Cape Nelson, Portland Bay, Julia Percy Island, and Cape Otway. "I took the liberty of naming the different capes, bays, etc., for the sake of distinction," he reported to the Governor on his arrival at Sydney on December 16th.

It was in this way that both Baudin and Flinders were anticipated in the discovery of the western half of the coast of Victoria. The Investigator voyage had not been planned when the Lady Nelson sailed; and when Flinders was commissioned the Admiralty directed that Grant should be placed under his orders, the brig being used as a tender.

The baffling winds that had delayed Flinders' departure from Kangaroo Island on April 8th, 1802, continued after he sailed from Encounter Bay, so that he did not pass the fifty leagues or so first traversed by Le Géographe for eight tedious days. On April 17th he reached Grant's Cape Banks; on April 18th passed Cape Northumberland; and on the 19th Capes Bridgewater, Nelson and Grant. But the south-west gale blew so hard during this part of the voyage that, the coast trending south-easterly, it was difficult to keep the ship on a safe course; and Flinders confessed that he was "glad to miss a small part of the coast." Thick squally weather prevented the survey being made with safety; and, indeed, it was rarely that the configuration of the land could be distinguished at a greater distance than two miles. On the 21st Flinders noticed a subsidence of the sea, which made him conclude that he was to the windward of the large island concerning which he had questioned Baudin. He resolved to take advantage of a period when the close examination of the mainland had become dangerous to determine the exact position of this island, of whose whereabouts he had heard from sealers in 1799.