28th August 1770

[Off South Coast of New Guinea]
Fresh breezes at East and East by South and fair weather. Continued a North-West Course until sun set, at which time we shortned sail, and haul'd close upon a Wind to the Northward; depth of Water 21 fathoms. At 8 Tack'd and stood to the Southward until 12, then stood to the Northward under little Sail until daylight, sounding from 25 to 17 fathoms; Shoalding as we stood to the Northward. At this time we made sail and steer'd North in order to make the land of New Guinea; from the time of our making sail until noon the depth of Water gradually decreased from 17 to 12 fathoms, a stony and shelly bottom. We were now by Observation in the Latitude of 8 degrees 52 minutes South, which is in the same Parrallel as the Southern parts of New Guinea as it is laid down in the Charts; but there are only 2 points so far to the South, and I reckon we are a degree to the Westward of both, and for that reason do not see the Land which trends more to the Northward. Our Course and distance sail'd since Yesterday is North-North-West, 69 Miles; Longitude in 221 degrees 27 minutes West. The Sea in many places is here cover'd with a kind of a brown scum, such as Sailors generally call spawn; upon our first seeing it it alarm'd us, thinking we were among Shoals, but we found the same depth of Water were it was as in other places; neither Mr. Banks nor Dr. Solander could tell what it was, altho' they had of it to Examine.

Joseph Banks Journal
Still Standing to the Northward the water shoaling regularly. Vast quantities of the little substances mentiond yesterday floating upon the water in large lines a mile or more long and 50 or 100 yards wide, all swimming either immediately upon the surface of the water or not many inches under it. The seamen who are now convinc'd that it was not as they had thought the spawn of fish began to call it Sea sawdust, a name certainly not ill adapted to its appearance. One of them, a Portugese who came on board the ship at Rio de Janerio, told me that at St Salvador on the Coast of Brasil where the Portugese have a whale fishery he had often seen vast quantities of it taken out of the stomachs of whales or Grampus's there taken. In the afternoon the Soundings became most irregular starting sometimes at once from 18 to 7 fathoms. At 4 the Land was seen from the Mast head but at Sun set was not seen from the deck. During the night we stood off and on far from satisfied with our soundings.

Sydney Parkinson Journal
On the 28th, about noon, we got into very broken ground, the soundings being, on a sudden, from three fathoms to ten, and continued very irregular all the afternoon, with hard ground. This, however, did not prevent us from making all the sail we could, and without a boat ahead. About four o’clock in the afternoon, we saw low land. Toward the evening it blew very hard from the S. E. and we stood E. N. E. and were in great danger of striking. As the water was so shoal, we stood backwards and forwards all night; and, through the good providence of God, met with no accident. Latitude 8° 54’.

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