5th and 6th March 1771

[Off Coast of Natal]
5th. Fresh Gales from the South-South-West, with squally, rainy weather, with which we stood to the Westward. In the evening some people thought they saw the appearance of land to the Northward; but this appear'd so improbable that I, who was not on deck at this time, was not acquainted with it until dark, when I order'd them to sound, but found no ground with 80 fathoms, upon which we concluded that no land was near. But daylight in the Morning proved this to be a mistake by shewing us the land at the distance of about 2 Leagues off. We had now the wind at South-East, blowing fresh right upon the land. When we made the land we were standing to the Westward; but, thinking the other the best tack to get off on, we wore, and hauld off to the Eastward, and by Noon had got an Offing of about 4 Leagues, the land at this time extending from North-East by North to West-South-West.

This part of the Coast of Africa which we fell in with lies in about the Latitude of 32 degrees 0 minutes South, and Longitude 331 degrees 29 minutes West, and near to what is called in the Charts Point Nattall.* (* Natal.) It was a steep, craggy point, very much broke, and looked as if the high, craggy rocks were Islands. To the North-East of this point the land in General appear'd to rise, sloping from the Sea to a Moderate height; the Shore, alternately Rocks and Sands. About 2 Leagues to the North-East of the Point appear'd to be the mouth of a River, which probably may be that of St. Johns.

At this time the weather was very hazey, so that we had but a very imperfect view of the land, which did not appear to great advantage. Wind South-South-West to South-East; course per Log North 31 degrees West; distance 32 miles; latitude 31 degrees 5 minutes South per Observation, 31 degrees 7 minutes per Reckoning; longitude 331 degrees 19 minutes per Observation, 324 degrees 56 minutes per Reckoning.

6th. Moderate Gales, with hazey, rainy weather. Stood to the Eastward all the day, having the land in sight, which at 4 p.m. extended from North-East by North to South-West by West, distant 5 Leagues. At 6 in the Morning we could only see it at West distant 7 or 8 Leagues. At Noon found the Ship by Observation 90 Miles to the Southward of account. Thus far the current has carried us to the South since the last observation, which was only 2 days ago; but it is plain, from the position of the Coast, that we have been carried full as far to the West also, notwithstanding we have been standing all the time to the East-North-East* (* The ship was now in the Agulhas Current.) Wind Southerly; course South 54 degrees East; distance 37 miles; latitude 32 degrees 4 minutes South; 330 degrees 44 minutes per Observation, 323 degrees 36 minutes per Reckoning.

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