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April 1790

Monday.29th. Surf very high: At high water the Surf hove the Ship's Head round in upon the Reef & further in upon it bodily; this made it necessary to get a Hawser with a Traveller to the bow of the Ship & to cut the Bridle Port so as to allow of Cask & large articles of Stores going out, which was done the 30th the Surf being more Moderate: & from which day to the 14th of April we were employed from 1/2 Ebb to 1/2 Flood getting on shore every article of stores belonging to the ship and the Colony that could be got at, 16 Half Barrels of powder were also got on shore, the remainder being spoiled was started into the Sea in the Magazine. The situation of the Ship, being bulged view facsimile

fore & aft, many of the beams fallen & the lower deck given way, the Sheet & Bt.Br. Cable were left on board & many other Stores, it being impossible to remove them without cutting so much through the deck & beams as to render the attempt dangerous: With the quantity of Provisions which we had been so fortunate as to save, there appear'd on a Survey to be in the Settlement 14 Weeks at 1/2 allowance. Parties were allowed to go for Birds, for the Seamen, Marines & Convicts twice a week each & limited not to bring more than a Proportion of 3 for each Man: These Birds are very numerous & burrow in the ground about the Hills particularly about Mount Pitt which is the highest land in the Island; It was the practice before we came to dig them out of their holes in the day time, but the People now take them as they settle in the evening & early part of the night & were they not restricted they could bring away almost any number: These Birds are the much nearly the same as the English Puffin or Manks Puffin as described in Brooks's Natural History found on the Isle of Man & Scilly Isles: & is the size of a tame Pigeon; The colour on the upper parts is brown or black, & on the under brown & white legs black. The bill is narrow & black, about an inch & half in length, the upper chap is crooked at the point like that of a Cormorant & at the base there is a bald skin in which view facsimile

the nostrils are placed. The wings are long & the tail is a palm in length, It feeds at Sea & although such incredible number settle on the Hills to get into their Holes at the approach of night, a great number has been taken in the daytime by being dug out with a grubbing hoe or brought our by terrier dogs, they lay but one Egg which is larger than that of the Common Hens, they are said to be in & about this Island from March to August when the young are ready to fly they all go off together; about which time another sort is said to come, but not in such numbers; these Birds are a great resource to us, they enable us to go with the Cultivation of the land for the Crops which we must soon depend on if we are not releived, & which I fear will not keep us without feeling pangs of extreme hunger. Fish (with which to Sea abounds) is too precarious to be consider'd as any resource on account of the Surf; It being impossible to keep a Boat for that purpose at any other part of the Island except at Sydney Bay in which is a Reef from the Et.point to the bight on the W. side which is dry at 1/2 tide but no landing on it with a boat, there are two small Gullies in the Reef close to each other that will just admit a Boat (in one of which there is not breadth for a common 6 Oar'd Cutters Pass) & that only when there is but very little Surf on the Reef, it is frequently many days together that the boats cannot go out & is unless very view facsimile

smooth always dangerous; I shall collect into a separate Table, from the general one of Weather &c. an account of the Surf from the time of our being wreck'd to the time of our happy deliverance whenever it comes; & bring it in Course with leaving the Island, distinguishing the days on which the Boat could go out for Fish (& no opportunity is lost), & those of High Surf to prevent it.

Tuesday. 20th.. Half a pound weight of Salt Provisions were order'd to be deducted from the weeks allowance & parties allowed to get Birds every day to make up the deficiency.

Thursday.22nd: Went out in the Cutter to sound round Nepean Island, between it & the Et. point of Sydney Bay found a Rock about Midchannel or rather nearer the Island wt. only 2 1/2 m. on it at low water & another not so much as 1/3 over from the Et. point of Sydney Bay wt. 3 1/2 fm. on it both which was were seen to break some days before, between these Rocks is 9 fm. the 5 & 9 again , It appears to be all foul & very uneven bottom from more than Mid Channel around to the NE part of the land forming the Et. point of Sydney Bay; The passage through if a Ship should be obliged to it, is to keep the Island close on board, but I do not by any means recommend it as a safe passage: There is a very dangerous Reef off the SE part of Nepean Island, which lies nearly SE from it about 1/2 mile to the outer Rock; view facsimile

on which the sea only breaks in bad weather or great Swell. We passed between this & a rock  near the surface dry at low water & had 8 fm. crossing the ledge & 12 on each side about 1/4 of a Mile from the Island.

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