27th May 1770

[Off Cape Capricorn, Queensland]
We had not stood on to the Northward quite an hour before we fell into 3 fathoms, upon which I anchor'd, and Sent away the Master with 2 Boats to sound the Channell, which lay to Leeward of us between the Northermost Island and the Main Land, which appear'd to me to be pretty broad; but I suspected that it was Shoal, and so it was found, for the Master reported to me upon his return that he found in many places only 2 1/2 fathoms, and where we lay at Anchor we had only 16 feet, which was not 2 feet more than the Ship drew.* (* This was between Great Keppel Island and the Main. There is a mass of shoals here.) In the Evening the wind veer'd to East-North-East, which gave us an opportunity to stretch 3 or 4 miles back the way we Came before the Wind Shifted to South, and obliged us again to Anchor in 6 fathoms. At 5 o'Clock in the A.M. I sent away the Master with 2 Boats to search for a Passage out between the Islands, while the Ship got under sail. As soon as it was light the Signal was made by the boats of their having found a Passage, upon which we hoisted in the Boats, and made sail to the Northward as the land lay; soundings from 9 to 15 fathoms, having still Some small Islands without us.* (* The ship passed out between Great Keppel Island and North Keppel Island.) At noon we were about 2 Leagues from the Main Land, and by observation in the Latitude of 22 degrees 53 minutes South, Longitude made from Cape Capricorn 0 degrees 20 minutes West. At this time the Northermost point of Land we had in sight bore North-North-West, distance 10 Miles; this point I named Cape Manyfold, from the Number of high Hills over it; Latitude 22 degrees 43 minutes South; it lies North 20 degrees West, distant 17 Leagues from Cape Capricorn. Between them the shore forms a large Bay, which I call'd Keppel Bay, and the Islands which lay in and Off it are known by the same name; in this Bay is good Anchorage, where there is a sufficient depth of Water; what refreshment it may afford for Shipping I know not.* (* As before mentioned, the Fitzroy River falls into Keppel Bay, and forms a good harbour, though much encumbered with sand banks.) We caught no fish here, notwithstanding we were at Anchor; it can hardly be doubted but what it afforded fresh Water in several places, as both Mainland and Islands are inhabited. We saw smokes by day and fires in the night upon the Main, and people upon one of the Islands.

Joseph Banks Journal
The boats who sounded yesterday having brought back word that there was no passage ahead of the Ship we were obligd to return, which we did and soon fell in with the main land again which was barren to appearance; on it were some smoaks. We passd by many Islands. In the Eve the breeze was stronger than usual with Cloudy weather.

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