12th November 1768

Nearing Rio Janeiro
Genteel breezes and fine Clear weather. At 2 p.m. Sounded, but had no ground with 38 fathoms, and soon after sounded and had none at 50 fathoms, from which it appears that we are to the Southward of the Bank we have been upon this 2 days past. It Extends off from the Land between the Latitude 21 degrees and 22 degrees nor less than 18 or 20 Leagues, How much farther I know not. Standing in from Sea, the Depth of Water very soon diminisheth from 30 to 20 and 17 fathoms, afterwards gradually from 9, 8 and even to 6 fathoms; but between this Shoal Water and the Main, which is 6 or 7 leagues, you will have 10, 12 and even 16 fathoms, till you come within 2 or 3 leagues of the Shore.

The Bottom is of Various kinds, sometimes Coral Rocks, Coral Rocks and broken Shells, Coarse sand and broken Shells, Small Stones and at other times fine Sand varying at almost every Cast of the Lead. At 5 p.m. saw the Land bearing North-West by West 1/2 West, distance 10 or 12 leagues, which proved to be the Island of Cape Frio; it appeared in two Hillocks, and from the Deck looked like two Islands. Took several Azimuth of the Sun, which gave the Variation 6 degrees 40 minutes East. At 8 a.m. the Isle of Cape Frio bore West by North 4 leagues. This Island is situated in the Latitude of 23 degrees 2 minutes South, and according to our Reckoning in the Longitude of 38 degrees 45 minutes West from Greenwich, but from many Circumstances I have good reason to think that our reckoning is wrong and that it lies in the Longitude 41 degrees 10 minutes West. It is not of a Large Circuit, but Tolerable high, with a hollow in the Middle, which makes it look like 2 Islands when it first makes its appearance out of the Water. It lays not far from the Main, which with the Island forms a right Angle, one side trending North and the other West. To the northward of the Island and between it and the Main there appears to lay several smaller Islands near each other.

The Main land on the Sea Coast appears to be low, but inland are high Mountains. Drawing Number 4 exhibits a View of this Island when it bore West-North-West, distance 4 leagues. Wind North-East, East-North-East; course South 60 degrees 30 minutes West; distance 59 miles; latitude 23 degrees 6 minutes South; Isle of Cape Frio North 60 degrees East, 4 leagues.

Joseph Banks Journal
This morn we were abreast of the land which proved as we thought last night to be the Island just without Cape Frio, which is calld in some maps the Isle of Frio; the wind was fair and we passd it with a pleasant Breeze hoping tomorrow to get into the harbour. About noon we saw the hill calld Sugar Loaf which is just by the harbours mouth, but it was a long way off yet so there were no hopes of reaching it this night.

The shore from Cape Frio to this place has been one uninterruptd beach of the whitest Colour I ever saw which they tell me is a white sand.

This Evening wind still continued fair but very little, we now saw the Sugar Loaf very plain but could not tonight reach it, so shortend sail; we had seen for some time a small vessel under the land which seemd to steer into the harbour as well as we.

The Land all along this Coast has been exceedingly high inland except in the bay mentiond on the 7th: the mountains seen now about Rio Janeiro were immensely high so that some of our people compared them with the Pike of Tenerife, tho I do not myself think they deserve a comparison so much higher is the Pike. Notwithstanding the hills are high and begin to rise near the shore the beach is sandy and appears to be of a firm sand.

In the Course of this Evening we aproachd very near the Land and found it very cold, to our feelings at least; the Thermometer at ten O'Clock stood at 68¼ which gave us hopes that the countrey would be cooler than we should expect from the accounts of travellers, especially Mr Biron who says that no business is done here from 10 till 2 on account of the intense heat.

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