James Cook - A Journal of the proceedings of His Majesty's Bark Endeavour on a voyage round the world, by Lieutenant James Cook, Commander, commencing the 25th of May 1768 - 23 Oct. 1770 - Page 328
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Passage from Endeavour Strait to New Guinea
Aug 1770 since we weigh'd 9 fathom.
Sunday 26th. Fresh breezes at E. in standing to the NW. we began to shoalder our water from 9 to 7 fa.om & at 1/2 past 1 having
[margin] Dangerous Shoals [/margin]
been 11 miles since Noon the boat [w?] was ahead made the signal for shoal water immediately upon which we let go an anchor & brought the ship up with the sails standing as the boats was but a little way ahead having but just relieved the crew & at some time we saw from the ship shoal water in a manner all round us & both wind & tide setting upon it, we lay in 6 fa,om. with the ship but upon sounding about her found hardly 2 fa.om. a very rocky bottom not much above /3 cables length from us from the East round by the North & West as far as SW so that their was no way to get clear but the way we came. This was one of the many fortunate escapes we have had from shipwreck first was near high water & there run a short cockling sea that would soon have bulged the ship had she struck, these shoals that lay a fa.om or 2 under water are the most dangerous of any for they do not show themselves until you are down upon them & then the water upon them looks brown like the reflection of dark clouds. between 3 & 4 the Ebb began to make when I sent the Master to sound to the Southward & SW.ward & in the mean time as the ship tended hove up the anchor & with a little sail stood to the Southward & afterwards edged away to the Westward & got once more out of danger where at sunset we anchor'd [?] fam. sandy bottom having a fresh wind at ESE, at 6 o'clock in the morning we weighed & stood W. with a fresh wind at East having first sent a boat ahead to sound. I did intend to have steer'd NW. until we had made the Coast of New Guinea designing it possible to touch upon the coast, but the [meeting?] with these shoals at night made me alter the course to W. in hopes of meeting with fewer dangers & deeper water & this we found for by Noon we had deepened our water gradually to 17 fa.om & this time we were by Observ.n in the Lat.de of 10°.10'S, Long.de 220.12'W course & distance sail'd since yesterday at Noon N76°W a 11 leag.ue & no land in sight
Monday 27th. Fresh breezes between the EbN & ESE with which we steer'd W. until sunset depth of water from 27 to 23 fa.om. we now reef'd the Tops.l shortened sail & hoisted in the pinnance & longboat up alongside & afterwards kept upon a wind all night under our topsail 4 hours on one tack & 4 hours on the other depth of water 25 fa.om. very even soundings at daylight made all the sail we could & steer'd WNW until 8 o'clock then NW at Noon we were by observation in the Latde.9°:56S Long.de 221°00W Variation 2.'30'E course distance sail'd since yesterday at Noon N73:30'W 49 miles
Tuesday 28th Fresh breezes at E& EbS fair weather continued a NW course until sunset at which time we shortened sail & haul'd close upon a wind to the north.