20th to 24th May 1770

[Off Sandy Cape, Queensland]

20th. Winds Southerly, Gentle breezes. At 10 p.m. we passed, at the distance of 4 Miles, having 17 fathoms, a black bluff head or point of land, on which a number of the Natives were Assembled, which occasioned my naming it Indian Head; Latitude 25 degrees 0 minutes North by West, 4 Miles from this head, is another much like it. From this last the land Trends a little more to the Westward, and is low and Sandy next the Sea, for what may be behind it I know not; if land, it must be all low, for we could see no part of it from the Mast head. We saw people in other places besides the one I have mentioned; some Smokes in the day and fires in the Night. Having but little wind all Night, we keept on to the Northward, having from 17 to 34 fathoms, from 4 Miles to 4 Leagues from the Land, the Northermost part of which bore from us at daylight West-South-West, and seem'd to End in a point, from which we discover'd a Reef stretching out to the Northward as far as we could see, being, at this time, in 18 fathoms; for we had, before it was light, hauld our Wind to the Westward, and this course we continued until we had plainly discover'd breakers a long way upon our Lee Bow, which seem'd to Stretch quite home to the land. We then Edged away North-West and North-North-West, along the East side of the Shoal, from 2 to 1 Miles off, having regular, even Soundings, from 13 to 7 fathoms; fine sandy bottom. At Noon we were, by Observation, in the Latitude of 24 degrees 26 minutes South, which was 13 Miles to the Northward of that given by the Log. The extream point of the Shoal we judged to bear about North-West of us; and the point of land above-mentioned bore South 3/4 West, distant 20 Miles. This point I have named Sandy Cape,* (* Sandy Cape is the northern point of Great Sandy Island. A long narrow channel separates the latter from the mainland, and opens at its northern end into Harvey Bay, a great sheet of water 40 miles across. This channel is now much used by the coasting trade, as it avoids the long detour round Breaksea Spit, a most dangerous shoal.) on account of 2 very large white Patches of Sand upon it. It is of a height Sufficient to be seen 12 Leagues in Clear weather (Latitude 24 degrees 46 minutes, Longitude 206 degrees 51 minutes West); from it the Land trends away West-South-West and South-West as far as we could see. 

21st. In the P.M. we keept along the East side of the Shoal until 2, when, judging there was water for us over, I sent a Boat a Head to sound, and upon her making the Signal for more than 5 fathoms we hauld our wind and stood over the Tail of it in 6 fathoms. At this time we were in the Latitude of 24 degrees 22 minutes South, and Sandy Cape bore South 1/2 East, distant 8 Leagues; but the Direction of the Shoal is nearest North-North-West and South-South-East. At this time we had 6 fathoms; the boat which was not above 1/4 of a mile to the Southward of us had little more than 5 fathoms. From 6 fathoms we had the next Cast, 13, and then 20 immediately, as fast as the Man could heave the Lead; from this I did suppose that the West side of the Shoal is pretty steep too, whereas on the other side we had gradual Soundings from 13 to 7 fathoms. This Shoal I called Break Sea Spit, because now we had smooth water, whereas upon the whole Coast to the Southward of it we had always a high Sea or swell from the South-East. At 6, the Land of Sandy Cape extending from South 17 degrees East to South 27 degrees East, distance 8 Leagues; Depth of Water, 23 fathoms, which depth we keept all Night, as we stood to the Westward with light Airs from the Southward; but between 12 and 4 A.M. we had it Calm, after which a Gentle breeze sprung up at South, with which we still keept on upon a Wind to the Westward. At 7 we Saw from the Masthead the Land of Sandy Cape bearing South-East 1/2 East, distance 12 or 13 Leagues. At 9, we discover'd from the Mast head land to the Westward, and soon after saw smooke upon it. Our depth of Water was now decreased to 17 fathoms, and by Noon to 13, at which time we were by observation in the Latitude of 24 degrees 28 minutes South, and about 7 Leagues from the Land, which extended from South by West to West-North-West. Longitude made from Sandy Cape 0 degrees 45 minutes West. For these few days past we have seen at times a sort of Sea fowl we have no where seen before that I remember; they are of the sort called Boobies. Before this day we seldom saw more than 2 or 3 at a time, and only when we were near the land. Last night a small flock of these birds passed the Ship and went away to the North-West, and this morning from 1/2 an hour before sun rise to half an hour after, flights of them were continually coming from the North-North-West, and flying to the South-South-East, and not one was seen to fly in any other direction. From this we did suppose that there was a Lagoon, River, or Inlet of Shallow Water to the Southward of us, where these birds resorted to in the day to feed, and that not very far to the Northward lay some Island, where they retir'd too in the night.

22nd. In the P.M. had a Gentle breeze at South-East, with which we stood in for the land South-West until 4, when, being in the Latitude of 24 degrees 36 minutes South, and about 2 Leagues from land, in 9 fathoms, we bore away along shore North-West by West; at the same time we could see the land extending to the South-South-East about 8 Leagues. Near the Sea the land is very low, but inland are some moderately high hills, and the whole appeared to be thickly Cloathed with wood. In running along shore we shoalded our Water from 9 to 7 fathoms, and at one time had but 6 fathoms, which determined me to Anchor for the Night, and accordingly at 8 o'Clock we came too in 8 fathoms, fine gravelly bottom, about 5 miles from the land. This evening we saw a Water Snake, and 2 or 3 evenings ago one lay under the Ship's Stern some time; this was about 1 1/2 Yards in length, and was the first we had seen. At 6 A.M. weighed with a Gentle breeze Southerly, and Steer'd North-West 1/4 West, edging in for the land until we got Within 2 Miles of it, having from 7 to 11 fathoms; we then steer'd North-North-West as the land laid. At Noon we were by Observation in the Latitude of 24 degrees 19 minutes South; Longitude made from Sandy Cape 1 degree 14 minutes West. [At Anchor. Bustard Bay, Queensland.]

23rd. Continued our Course alongshore at the distance of about 2 Miles off, having from 12 to 9, 8 and 7 fathoms, until 5 o'Clock, at which time we were abreast of the South point of a Large open Bay,* (* Bustard Bay.) wherein I intended to Anchor. Accordingly we hauld in Close upon a Wind, and sent a boat ahead to sound; after making some Trips we Anchored at 8 o'Clock in 5 fathoms, a Sandy bottom. The South point of the bay bore East 3/4 South, distant 2 Miles; the North point North-West 1/4 North, about 2 Miles from the shore, in the bottom of the bay.

Last night, some time in the Middle watch, a very extraordinary affair hapned to Mr. Orton, my Clerk. He having been drinking in the evening, some Malicious person or persons in the Ship took Advantage of his being Drunk, and cut off all the Cloaths from off his back; not being satisfied with this, they some time after went into his Cabin and cut off a part of both his Ears as he lay a Sleep in his Bed. The person whom he suspected to have done this was Mr. Magra, one of the Midshipmen; but this did not appear to me. Upon enquiry, however, as I had been told that Magra had once or twice before this in their drunken Frolicks cut off his cloaths, and had been heard to say (as I was told) that if it was not for the Law he would Murder him, these things consider'd, induced me to think that Magra was not Altogether innocent. I therefore for the present dismiss'd him the Quarter deck, and Suspended him from doing any duty in the Ship, he being one of those Gentlemen frequently found on board King's Ships that can very well be spared; besides, it was necessary in me to show my immediate resentment against the person on whom the suspicion fell, least they should not have stop'd here.

With respect to Mr. Orton, he is a man not without faults; yet from all the inquiry I could make, it evidently appear'd to me that so far from deserving such Treatment, he had not designed injuring any person in the Ship; so that I do--and shall always--look upon him as an injured man. Some reasons, however, might be given why this misfortune came upon him, in which he himself was in some measure to blame; but as this is only conjecture, and would tend to fix it upon some people in the Ship, whom I would fain believe would hardly be guilty of such an Action, I shall say nothing about it, unless I shall hereafter discover the Offenders, which I shall take every method in my power to do, for I look upon such proceedings as highly dangerous in such Voyages as this, and the greatest insult that could be offer'd to my Authority in this Ship, as I have always been ready to hear and redress every complaint that have been made against any Person in the Ship.* (* This history of Mr. Orton's misadventure is omitted from the Admiralty copy. It is an illustration of the times to note that the fact of Orton having got drunk does not seem to call for the Captain's severe censure. In these days, though the practical joker receives punishment, the drunkard would certainly come in for a large share also.)

In the A.M. I went ashore with a party of men in order to Examine the Country, accompanied by Mr. Banks and the other Gentlemen; we landed a little within the South point of the Bay, where there is a Channel leading into a large Lagoon. The first thing that I did was to sound and examine the Channell, in which I found 3 fathoms, until I got about a Mile up it, where I met with a Shoal, whereon was little more than one fathom; being over this I had 3 fathoms again. The Entrance into this Channell lies close to the South point of this Bay, being form'd on the East by the Shore, and on the West by a large Spit of sand; it is about a 1/4 of a Mile broad, and lies in South by West; here is room for a few Ships to lay very secure, and a small Stream of Fresh Water. After this I made a little excursion into the Woods while some hands made 3 or 4 hauls with the Sean, but caught not above a dozen very small fish. By this time the flood was made, and I imbarqued in the Boats in order to row up the Lagoon; but in this I was hindred by meeting everywhere with Shoal Water. As yet we had seen no people, but saw a great deal of Smook up and on the West side of the Lagoon, which was all too far off for us to go by land, excepting one; this we went to and found 10 Small fires in a very small Compass, and some Cockle Shells laying by them, but the people were gone. On the windward or South side of one of the fires was stuck up a little Bark about a foot and a half high, and some few pieces lay about in other places; these we concluded were all the covering they had in the Night, and many of them, I firmly believe, have not this, but, naked as they are, sleep in the open air. Tupia, who was with us, observed that they were Taata Eno's; that is, bad or poor people. The Country is visibly worse than at the last place we were at; the soil is dry and Sandy, and the woods are free from underwoods of every kind; here are of the same sort of Trees as we found in Bottany Harbour, with a few other sorts. One sort, which is by far the most Numerous sort of any in the Woods, grow Something like birch; the Bark at first sight looks like birch bark, but upon examination I found it to be very different, and so I believe is the wood; but this I could not examine, as having no axe or anything with me to cut down a Tree. About the Skirts of the Lagoon grows the true Mangrove, such as are found in the West Indies, and which we have not seen during the Voyage before; here is likewise a sort of a palm Tree, which grows on low, barren, sandy places in the South Sea Islands. All, or most of the same sort, of Land and Water fowl as we saw at Botany Harbour we saw here; besides these we saw some Bustards, such as we have in England, one of which we kill'd that weighed 17 1/2 pounds, which occasioned my giving this place the Name of Bustard Bay (Latitude 24 degrees 4 minutes, Longitude 208 degrees 22 minutes West); we likewise saw some black and white Ducks. Here are plenty of small Oysters sticking to the Rocks, Stones, and Mangrove Trees, and some few other shell fish, such as large Muscles, Pearl Oysters, Cockels, etc. I measured the perpendicular height of the last Tide, and found it to be 8 foot above low water mark, and from the time of low water to-day I found that it must be high Water at the full and Change of the Moon at 8 o'Clock.

24th. In the P.M. I was employ'd ashore in the Transactions before related; at 4 a.m. we weighed with a Gentle breeze at South, and made sail out of the Bay. In standing out our soundings were from 5 to 15 fathoms; when in this last Depth we were abreast of the North Point, and being daylight we discover'd breakers stretching out from it about North-North-East, 2 or 3 miles; at the Outermost point of them is a Rock just above Water. In passing these rocks at the distance of 1/2 a mile we had from 15 to 20 fathoms; being past them, we hauld along shore West-North-West for the farthest land we had in sight. At Noon we were by Observation in the Latitude of 23 degrees 52 minutes South; the North part of Bustard Bay bore South 62 degrees East, distance 10 miles, and the Northermost land in sight North 60 degrees West. Longitude in 208 degrees 37 minutes West, distance from the nearest shore 6 Miles; in this situation had 14 fathoms water.

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