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May 1791

Monday. 9th at 7 AM Saw Land to the WNW which had the appearance of being an Island, soon after saw another to the Et.ward of it; at 9 Bore away & stood towards them, At 10 saw 2 more Islands & at Noon another came open with the Island first seen, they are very small Islands 5 in number forming an Irregular figure that 11 Miles would circumscribe; We saw broken water between some of them but passed at too great a distance to ascertain whether they are all connected by a Reef or not. From our Latitude we at first supposed this Land to be Carterets Island but we soon satisfied that it could not be, from the extent of this little Groupe; & to be more clear, we stood to the No.ward for Gowers Island & not meeting with it convinced us that this was a new discovery; The middle of the Groupe is in 8°:26'so.Latd & 163°:07′Et. by Observation of the [sun] & [moon] taken the preceding day, they lie N14E.. 50 leagues from the Et.most Pt. of Balls Maiden Land (disc. by him in the Supply last year). They are cover'd with Trees of the Palm & Cocoa Nut & some large trees on one of them; We did not see the least appearance of Inhabitants: Just to the No.ward of these Islands is we found a ripling like a Race, thro' which we passed in a few minutes.

We steer'd from these Islands WNW with a fine steady Et.ly wind & on Thursday 12th at 9 AM. Saw breakers on the Starboard bow; immediately after which, saw the Sea break nearly in the Ships wake, which shoal she must have passed over very close; the Water being exceedingly smooth 'till near 9 O'clock it did not break when the Ship passed it & it was but seldom that it did break afterward; those on the bow were a continual foam of broken Water & it appear'd to be sand banks by the colour of the Water round them; at 1/2 pt.10 We were abreast of the No.most at 3 Miles distance, when more breakers were seen on the larboard beam & abaft it, in two detached shoals, We could not clear these, or the others before seen, by hauling our Wind on either Tack, we therefore stood on our Course & passed clear through. How far they extend NE & SW we could not ascertain, their Extent NW & SE is 7 Miles by our Run & the breadth of the Channel through which we passed is 8 Miles from Shoal to Shoal; We could not get any soundings 130 fm. in passing through; the middle of this Channel which is called Wachraamheydt Passage from the name of Ship lies in 6°:52'so.. 161°:06′E by [sun] & [moon]. & is situated N52°W...51 leags. from the little groupe of Islands disc. the 9th: They are very dangerous shoals, those to the No.ward of us broke in 6 detach'd Parts & those to the So.ward in 2, One of which was an extensive Range of broken water, they appear to be but little below view facsimile

the surface steep too & no part dry. Steering on the same course WNW on Satruday.14th. At daylight; saw Land from NW to SE, appear'd to be several Islands; At 6, Thirty two, including Rocks above water; were counted from the Masthead; At 7. There were 20 distinctly seen; small, low & well cover'd with Trees, the largest Island is about 4 Miles in length Et. & Wt. Our Course carried us along nearly parallel to them; At 9. Another Island was seen to the NNW of the Wt.most of those first seen; Some rocks were seen above water, but as we did not pass nearer than 9 Miles we could not determine whether any of them were joined or surrounded by a Reef: About 10, we saw 6 Canoes with Sails coming from different parts of the Land towards us; We still kept on our Course that it was Noon before any of them came up with us & then only one Canoe with 9 People in, they came close to the Ship, but would not come on board, Some Nails, Beads &c. were thrown to them & they in return threw back pieces of Cocoa Nuts: They were tall  & stout; One of them was painted Red over the face & appear'd to be a cheif or leading Man, they were not provided with anything for Trade, not nor had they any Weapons with them, their Hair, or long wool was tied close upon the head as is the Custom in many parts of the Et.Indies; they either had not any beards, or were close shaved, they wore ornaments view facsimile

round their Necks, Arms &c. the cheif of which appear'd to be Hair plaited with Bone & Shells made fast to the ends, they wore ornaments also through the Nose, & which we took to be hair plaited or twisted & put through on both sides so as to lo hang down as low as the lips, on the ends of some of these were fasten'd peices of Shells in imitation of teeth; they appear'd to be very friendly disposed & wanted us to go to the Islands, they were naked except a peice of Matting round the waist; Some of the Gentlemen on board observed that they were tatowed but I noticed nothing but the marks of paint or dirt on any of their bodies. The Canoe I take to between 30 & 40 feet in length, very narrow, with an Outrigger, the sides consisted of two planks laced or sew'd together & brought to a point at both ends rather inclining downwards than rising, they use single paddles & have a Latteen Sail, they were about half an hour with us & some of the others close up, when the breeze freshening we left them. These Islands have every appearance of Supplying the Inhabitant very plentifully with the necessaries of Life. It is probable that these Islands extend farther to the Et.ward, as the Et.most of those we saw, was on the quarter & 7 leagues distant when the first seen at daylight. Those which we saw & determined the situation of, extend from 5°:18′ to 5°:29′.So. view facsimile

& from 159°:14′ to 159°:36′Et. by [sun] & [moon]. Variation of the Compass 8°:00′Et.. These Islands lie NWbW 44 leagues form the Shoals which we passed through the 12th & might afford releif to any who may be so unfortunate as to get on those Shoals, provided they could escape with their Boats or otherwise, if the Ship could not be removed. Whether this is a new discovery, or part of those Islands seen by an American Vessel bound to China in 1787, I am doubtful.

A great quantity of our Water having leak'd out owing to the badness of the Casks, we were furnish'd with at Port Jackson, made it absolutely necessary that we should recruit it we therefore steer'd for Cape St.George intending to water at one of the Ports in the Streight between New Britain & New Zealand that Capt. Carteret had visited, we found the Et.ly winds very weak at this time: Wednesday. 18th. At 1/2 pt. 8AM Saw land, which was soon discover'd to be low Islands cover'd with Trees & from our situation they were the SE.most of the 9 Islands mention'd by Capt. Carteret; at the same time we saw high Land to the SW which had every appearance of forming a streight between the Land discover'd by Mr.Ball in the Supply & the Louisiade New Georgia of Lt. Shortland: We stood for the Islands till within 3 Miles of the So.most & then along by a reef which run off WbS from it & seem'd to surround the other Islands view facsimile

in sight; they extend North 5 Miles & WNW 8 Miles from the So.most of them: The Reef seem'd to be a sandy spit with some Rocks on it & dry in many parts & in one place between the So.most & Wt.most of these Islands just round the Pt. of the Spit along which we passed there was an opening seen & the appearance of deepwater & good shelter within it; We saw several of the Natives on the dry sand & some Canoes came out & made towards us, but the Breeze freshening, they could not come up; These Islands are small & have a beautiful appearance being cover'd with Cocoa Nuts & other Trees with sandy beaches to the water side.

Thursday. 19th: We steer'd WbS & W1/2S along by the shore of either New Georgia or the Louisiade at the distance of 10 or 12 leags. & which had the appearance of being Islands, At 2,AM We passed the Wt.ern extremity of the Land seen at SunSet at 5 leagues distance sounded frequently 130 fm. no ground; At 5AM Saw Sir Chal. Hardy's Island bearing N.2°W 5 leagues & Land which had the appearance of being an Island S48°E 6 leagues which we conclude is the Land mentioned by Capt. Carteret Winchelsea Island, & appears by our Run & the angles taken to be same Land we pass'd at 2AM & had much the appear'ce of being a projecting point of the Main Land when to the Et. of it, it is very high, running out to the No.ward in a low sandy point on which the Sea breaks very high; We did view facsimile

not see any land to the Southward of it; At 5 AM Had several very good Observations for the Longitude by the Moon & á Aquila from which the Latitudes Obsn. This & the preceding Noons I fix the following places.

[Table not reproduced - see original journal]

Friday 20th: At 6Pm Saw Cape St.George bearing N80°E 7 leagues & the No. extreme of New Ireland N26°W, Hitherto we had not met with any Current to speak of, but this night bringing too off Cape St.George we were carried to the So.ward out of sight of it; At 6 AM We again got sight of it & the wind being favourable we steer'd right in for it. Cape St.George by our Observations is in 4°:51'so. & 153°:15′Et. which is only 30 6m. to the Et.wd. of that given in the New Requisite Tables & 56m. to the Et. of Capt Carterets, we also found nearly the same difference between Capt Carterets account of the 9 Islands, Sr. C.Hardys & Winchelsea Islands.

Saturday. 21. The wind So.ly wt. light breeze, AM Stood for Gowers Harbour, but had so light a breeze the tide or Current carried view facsimile

carried us so far to the Wt.ward, that when a fresh Seabreeze came in from the SEbS we could not fetch it but stood in for the Land to leeward of it.

Sunday.22nd. At 2PM Bore away for Carterets Harbour which Port we unfortunately overshot; Having missed both Harbours we stood for the NW along the shore in hopes of finding a watering place; At 8. It fell Calm & continued so with variable light Airs 'till 2AM the next day when a breeze sprung up from the SW enabled us to get the length of the Et.pt. of the Duke of Yorks Island; whilst we were thus becalm'd we did not observe a NW Current setting through but an equal tide as much one way as the other & the same on both shores, We sent the Boat along the shore of New Britain Cape Bulbes & Cape Palliser to look for Anchorage but they did not find any.

Monday.23rd.. AM At day light being off the NEpt. Of the Duke of Yorks Island sent the Boat to examine the Coast on the No. side of it & look for water; following with the Vessel, The Boat was met by a great number of the Natives in their Canoes, they were very friendly, exchanged some Cocoa Nuts for peices of Iron hoop, Our People gave them 2 kegs to fill with water, which they return'd with to them in a few minutes; they were very numerous all along the shore, walking along as the Ship pass'd & the Canoes accompanied the Boat; We did not find Anchoring ground 'till view facsimile

near the NW part of the Island, where we follow'd the Boat into a very fine Cove where we anchored at Noon in 25fm.. Natives very numerous & friendly, some of them came on board. Tuesday.24th: PM. An Officer was sent on shore to look for the watering place; found one in the SE bend of the Cove; the Natives were very numerous & all Armed wt. Spears, Clubs or Slings & Nets full of Stones, they walked into the water to meet the Boat as we landed & seem'd quite familiar, but as our party was going up into the Wood with them they were met by an Old Man who insisted that they should return to the beach, this Old fellow appearing to have the Controul of the Multitude & seeming to be much displeas'd it was judged best to return on board, they all came to the Water side with us, the same as on our landing: Soon after the Boat return'd, two Guns were fired from the Vessel into the Woods, this occasion'd those Natives who were on board to Jump overboard instantly & all the Canoes pulled to the Shore; Great numbers of the Natives had assembled on the beach, several of them blowing a white powder out of their hands which appear'd like smoke; this seem'd to shew displeasure & a degree of defiance, it was observed that the Men who did it always advanced on the beach & blew it off towards the Ship; Some of them in Canoes in view facsimile

passing the Ship did the same; They were blowing Conchs & making a great noise all night & it appear'd by their frequently calling to each other at different stations that they kept a look out upon us; At daylight, An Armed Party was sent on shore with the Waterers & arm'd Boat to lay off & Cover them; they found the Natives troublesome & seem'd to be much disposed to quarrel they blew off the white powder in several of our People's faces.

Wednesday. 25th. PM. The Natives still continued to be very troublesome & at length threw some stones which struck the Armed Boat, on which a firing began from the Boat & Armed Party on shore & several Guns with Round & Grape were fired from the Ship into the woods in different parts of the Cove, the Natives instantly fled, & when any of them came in sight they were fired at by the Arm'd Party, which effectively kept the watering place clear. AM At daylight We weigh'd & warped the Ship over towards the watering place & moored with a Hawser, Head & Stern to keep our broadside to bear both on the watering place & that part of the beach where the Natives had assembled; We fired some Guns with Round Shot into the Woods before our Party landed, they were not the least interrupted; Many of the Natives left this Cove with their Canoes, whilst others came in from the Wt.ward offering Cocoa Nuts & by signs gave us to understand, that view facsimile

it was not them that had behaved ill; No notice was taken of them, they soon went leisurely out of the Cove: In all parties of them were seen about the Cove but not one appear'd near the watering place.

Thursday. 26th. In the evening, as soon as our People had left the Shore, several of the Natives came down on the beach near the Watering place with green boughs in their hands & unarm'd, bringing Cocoa Nuts & shewing every sign of their earnest wishes to make peace, others brought Cocoa Nuts, Plantains &c. and laid them down on the beach in two heaps & on the top of each was put a young dog with its legs tied: As soon as the Boats came off, one of them was sent with an Officer to receive their Peace Offering & establish friendly intercourse with them; On the Officers landing, He was presented with two long boughs about which were several platted lines made fast at the top & about half way down the Stick the bight hanging slack, when these were received they express'd great Joy & immediately shouting a kind of Song brought every thing to the Boats that had been laid in the two heaps on the beach & the two little dogs: In return they had a Dog & Bitch Spaniel given to them,  with which they were much pleas'd & shouting a Song retired in small parties. In the morning several of them came to the watering place but unarmed, they brought Cocoa Nuts with them for our view facsimile

People & so much afraid of giving offense that they would scarce move or speak for sometime without observing the countenances of our People to see if they were pleas'd; several Canoes came about the Ship but very few Cocoa Nuts or other useful articles could be procured; Some Spears, Slings &c. were exchanged for mere trifles, Iron they do not value.

Friday.27th. The Water being complete soon after Noon, I had the Boats to survey the Cove; having occasion to Land near the Water place, We were met by a great number of the Natives who presented the bough the same as yesterday & then carried several Cocoa Nuts to the Boats; We returned on board about Sunset had only time just to Survey the Cove without examing further to the Wt.ward, than to see that there was another Cove & the appearance of a very good Harbor round the Wt.Point of it.

AM At daylight, sent the Boats for a turn of water to fill all up, this morning several Women came in Canoes to the Ship, which was now intirely surrounded by the Natives of all descriptions, but very few useful articles were exchanged. At 9 A Breeze springing up from the SE Weigh'd & stood out of the Cove. The Master of the Transport now to with his own Officers now took charge of Navigating the Vessel & of the respective Watches, which had hitherto been done by Captain Hunter & the Officers view facsimile

belonging to the Sirius We were very unlucky in not having an opportunity of getting any Observations for the Longitude, we therefore determine it from those taken off Cape St.George. 152°:37′Et. Latitude Obsn. At Anchor 4°:08'so. This Cove lies within a Mile of a small woody Island forming the NW point of Duke of Yorks Island & is very convenient for a Ship to stop at coming through St.Georges Channel, off the Et.pt. of the Bay 1/2 a Cables length is a Reef of Rocks running out from the Shore after passing which, there is no danger, the Soundings in the Bay are 20 & 25 fm. muddy bottom by the lead but the People fishing brought up several large peices of Coral Rocks; There is another Cove just round the Wt. point of this which has good Anchorage in it & to the SW of that there is every appearance of a fine Harbour.

Although we only got a few Cocoa Nuts & Yams we saw that the Island produced Breadfruit, Plantains Bananas, Mangoes & several other fruits, very fine Sugar Cane, Beetle Nuts, the Wild Nutmeg; Cocoa Nuts & Yams in great abundance: They have Hogs, Dog & Poultry among them but we could not procure any of either. The Men in general are stout & well made, long woolly hair & beards which most of them keep cover'd with a powder that appear'd to us to be made from burnt Coral, It is white when first used but the heat of the Sun turns it to a reddish brown & in time takes great part of the hair off, the Women that view facsimile

we saw were very diminutive & ugly; Both Sexes go quite Naked, they have a variety of Ornaments which they wear cheifly about the Neck & round the Arms, consisting of Bone, Shell & the teeth of some Animal. They are of very different complexions some being quite black & others not darker than the Malays; they appear to live in society their Huts being many of them close together, they have inclosures for their Plantains &c. but as not one went into the Country we only conjecture that it is in most parts cultivated & from the very Robust appearance of the Men, they no doubt live in plenty. Some of the Gentlemen planted Indian Corn, Garavances, Peas, Pumpkins, Melons & made them understand that the Produce from them was good to eat; & the Corn particularly so for their Poultry. Their Huts are not above 5 feet high with a small door & without any window, the floor is hard clay & very smooth & before each Hut is a small clear plot. Their weapons are Spears, Clubs & Slings with which they throw stones; Spears & Clubs they have a great variety of & appear to be used in close fighting; The Sling is made of Flax neatly twisted each part about 4 feet long of the size of a small fishing line, these are made fast to a kind of basket 3 inches long & 1 1/2 broad in which they put the stone, they carry nets filled with stones about with them They Fish with Spears, Nets which are very neatly view facsimile

made & strong, they also use hooks & lines. We did not observe any of their Spears either for fishing or fighting to be barbed. They shew great ingeniousness in the workmanship of their Canoes, Weapons &c being all neatly carved & ornament'd, the bottom of the Canoe is hollowed out of a Tree, on which is a streak of 9 inches or a foot very neatly & securely on each side & brought to a point at both ends, on each of which is fixed (not very firm) a kind of Ornamental Prow turning abruptly up, inclin'g inwards & coming in a Curve to a point; they are of different lengths from 12 to 30 & 40 feet & none more that 16 inches in breadth, they have an Outrigger which is neatly but not firmly fixed; the Paddles are single blade which is broad & with which they row very fast, they are ornamented with Carve work & Paint: We did not observe that any of them used a Sail.

Saturday. 28th: Wind at SE, steer'd to the Westward along by the shore of New Ireland at about 12 leagues distant; At 8.AM Saw Sandwich Island, the Latd. & Longitude of the So.Coast of it I fix from Observn. & bearing at Noon, Etpt. 2°:58'so. ...150°:26′ Et. West Point 2°:56'so. ...150°:06′ Et.

Sunday.29th. At 3PM Pass'd the Wt.end of Sandwich Island at 5 leagues distance, the length of the Island Et & Wt. is 21 Miles & does not appear to be more than 4 or 5 No. & So. the Coast of New Ireland is about 5 leagues from the No. view facsimile

side of it: This Island has every appearance of being equally fertile with Duke of York Island & considerably larger; there does not appear to be any danger about the shore; & which seems to promise good shelter for shipping. We did not see any Canoes, I suppose our distance & being directly to windward prevented their coming out to us: At 5 saw the Wt.part of New Ireland & the Islands laying off it & New Hanover which we passed in the night at 7 leags. distance: AM At 5 saw the Portland Isles from NobW to NW & pass'd them steering WbS by Compass at the distance of 4 Miles from the So.most of them & which appear'd to be near the middle of the Groupe; it is situated in 2 2°: 38'so. Latitude We saw 9 Islands all small & cover'd with Trees they extend Et. & Wt. from 149°:10′ to 149°:06′Et.: It is necessary to observe that from the constant cloudiness of the weather, that those place since passing Cape St.George which we have determined the situation of as near as circumstances would admit, may be liable to some error. We found St. Georges Channel a very clear good Navigation & affords refreshments to those passing through without much loss of time; We found a regular tide until the length of Sandwich Island, where we found a strong Wt.erly current which appear'd to alter its direction to the No.ward between New Hanover & New Ireland; We did not see the appearance of any Shoal view facsimile

 all through the Channel, nor could we ever get sounds but just off & in the Cove where we anchored; The shore of New Ireland is very Mountainous & appears to be but thinly inhabited; New Britain is moderately high cover'd with Trees, appears to be cultivated & very full of Inhabitants; near the No. pt. of New Britain is three Hills or Mountains called by Capt. Carteret the Mother & Daughters from one of which a vast column of smoke almost constantly issued. We found the winds variable between Cape St.George & Sandwich Island.

Monday.30th. Squally unsettled weather: At 7AM Saw an Island to the NW, At 9 saw 2 more which at Noon we discover'd to join & form one large Island.

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