A Continuation of a Voyage to New Holland/Chapter 3
DEPARTURE FROM TIMOR.
On the 12th of December 1699 we sailed from Babao, coasting along the island Timor to the eastward towards New Guinea. It was the 20th before we got as far as Laphao, which is but forty leagues. We saw black clouds in the north-west and expected the wind from that quarter above a month sooner.
THE ISLANDS OMBA AND FETTER.
That afternoon we saw the opening between the islands Omba and Fetter, but feared to pass through in the night. At two o'clock in the morning it fell calm; and continued so till noon, in which time we drove with the current back again south-west six or seven leagues.
On the 22nd, steering to the eastward to get through between Omba and Fetter, we met a very strong tide against us, so that we, although we had a very fresh gale, yet made way very slowly; yet before night got through. By a good observation we found that the south-east point of Omba lies in latitude 8 degrees 25 minutes. In my charts it is laid down in 8 degrees 10 minutes. My true course from Babao is east 25 degrees north, distance one hundred and eighty-three miles. We sounded several times when near Omba, but had no ground. On the north-east point of Omba we saw four or five men, and a little further three pretty houses on a low point, but did not go ashore.
At five this afternoon we had a tornado which yielded much rain, thunder and lightning; yet we had but little wind. The 24th in the morning we caught a large shark, which gave all the ship's company a plentiful meal.
A BURNING ISLAND.
The 27th we saw the burning island, it lies in latitude 6 degrees 36 minutes south; it is high and but small. It runs from the sea a little sloping towards the top; which is divided in the middle into two peaks, between which issued out much smoke: I have not seen more from any volcano. I saw no trees; but the north side appeared green, and the rest looked very barren.
THEIR MISSING THE TURTLE ISLES.
Having passed the burning island I shaped my course for two islands called Turtle Isles which lie north-east by east a little easterly, and distant about fifty leagues from the burning isle. I, fearing the wind might veer to the eastward of the north, steered 20 leagues north-east, then north-east by east. On the 28th we saw two small low islands called Luca Paros, to the north of us. At noon I accounted myself 20 leagues short of the Turtle Isles.
The next morning, being in the latitude of the Turtle Islands, we looked out sharp for them but saw no appearance of any island till 11 o'clock; when we saw an island at a great distance. At first we supposed it might be one of the Turtle Isles: but it was not laid down true, neither in latitude nor longitude from the burning isle, nor from the Luca Paros, which last I took to be a great help to guide me, they being laid down very well from the burning isle, and that likewise in true latitude and distance from Omba: so that I could not tell what to think of the island now in sight; we having had fair weather, so that we could not pass by the Turtle Isles without seeing them; and this in sight was much too far off for them. We found variation 1 degree 2 minutes east. In the afternoon I steered north-east by east for the islands that we saw. At 2 o'clock I went and looked over the fore-yard, and saw 2 islands at much greater distance than the Turtle Islands are laid down in my charts; one of them was a very high peaked mountain, cleft at top, and much like the burning island that we passed by, but bigger and higher; the other was a pretty long high flat island. Now I was certain that these were not the Turtle Islands, and that they could be no other than the Banda Isles; yet we steered in to make them plainer. At 3 o'clock we discovered another small flat island to the north-west of the others, and saw a great deal of smoke rise from the top of the high island; at 4 we saw other small islands, by which I was now assured that these were the Banda Isles there. At 5 I altered my course and steered east, and at 8 east-south-east; because I would not be seen by the inhabitants of those islands in the morning.
We had little wind all night: and in the morning as soon as it was light we saw another high peaked island: at 8 it bore south-south-east half east, distance 8 leagues. And this I knew to be Bird Isle. It is laid down in our charts in latitude 5 degrees 9 minutes south, which is too far southerly by 27 miles according to our observation; and the like error in laying down the Turtle Islands might be the occasion of our missing them.
At night I shortened sail for fear of coming too nigh some islands that stretch away bending like a half moon from Ceram towards Timor, and which in my course I must of necessity pass through. The next morning betimes I saw them; and found them to be at a farther distance from Bird Island than I expected. In the afternoon it fell quite calm; and when we had a little wind it was so unconstant, flying from one point to another, that I could not without difficulty get through the islands where I designed: besides I found a current setting to the southward; so that it was betwixt 5 and 6 in the evening before I passed through the islands; and then just weathered little Waiela, whereas I thought to have been 2 or 3 leagues more northerly. We saw the day before, betwixt 2 and 3, a spout but a small distance from us. It fell down out of a black cloud that yielded great store of rain, thunder, and lightning: this cloud hovered to the southward of us for the space of three hours, and then drew to the westward a great pace; at which time it was that we saw the spout, which hung fast to the cloud till it broke; and then the cloud whirled about to the south-east, then to east-north-east; where, meeting with an island, it spent itself and so dispersed; and immediately we had a little of the tail of it, having had none before. Afterward we saw a smoke on the island Kosiway, which continued all night.
THEY DESCRY THE COAST OF NEW GUINEA.
On New Year's Day we first descried the land of New Guinea, which appeared to be high land; and the next day we saw several high islands on the coast of New Guinea, and ran in with the mainland. The shore here lies along east-south-east and west-north-west. It is high even land, very well clothed with tall flourishing trees, which appeared very green and gave us a very pleasant prospect. We ran to the westward of four mountainous islands; and in the night had a small tornado, which brought with it some rain and a fair wind. We had fair weather for a long time; only when near any land we had some tornadoes; but off at sea commonly clear weather; though if in sight of land we usually saw many black clouds hovering about it.
THEY ANCHOR ON THE COAST OF NEW GUINEA.
On the 5th and 6th of January we plied to get in with the land; designing to anchor, fill water, and spend a little time in searching the country, till after the change of the moon; for I found a strong current setting against us. We anchored in 38 fathom water, good oazie ground. We had an island of a league long without us, about 3 miles distant; and we rode from the main about a mile. The easternmost point of land seen bore east by south half south, distance 3 leagues: and the westernmost west-south-west half south, distance 2 leagues. So soon as we anchored we sent the pinnace to look for water, and try if they could catch any fish. Afterwards we sent the yawl another way to see for water. Before night the pinnace brought on board several sorts of fruits that they found in the woods, such as I never saw before.
A DESCRIPTION OF THE PLACE, AND OF A STRANGE FOWL FOUND THERE.
One of my men killed a stately land-fowl, as big as the largest dunghill-cock. It was of a sky-colour; only in the middle of the wings was a white spot, about which were some reddish spots: on the crown it had a large bunch of long feathers, which appeared very pretty. His bill was like a pigeon's; he had strong legs and feet, like dunghill-fowls; only the claws were reddish. His crop was full of small berries. It lays an egg as big as a large hen's egg; for our men climbed the tree where it nested and brought off one egg. They found water; and reported that the trees were large, tall and very thick; and that they saw no sign of people. At night the yawl came aboard and brought a wooden fishgig, very ingeniously made; the matter of it was a small cane; they found it by a small barbecue, where they also saw a shattered canoe.
GREAT QUANTITIES OF MACKEREL.
The next morning I sent the boatswain ashore a-fishing and at one haul he caught 352 mackerels and about 20 other fishes; which I caused to be equally divided among all my company. I sent also the gunner and chief mate to search about if they could find convenient anchoring nearer a watering-place: by night they brought word that they had found a fine stream of good water, where the boat could come close to and it was very easy to be filled; and that the ship might anchor as near to it as I pleased: so I went thither. The next morning therefore we anchored in 25 fathom water, soft oazie ground, about a mile from the river: we got on board 3 tun of water that night; and caught 2 or 3 pike-fish, in shape much like a parracota, but with a longer snout, something resembling a gar, yet not so long. The next day I sent the boat again for water and before night all my casks were full.
A WHITE ISLAND.
Having filled here about 15 tuns of water, seeing we could catch but little fish, and had no other refreshments, I intended to sail next day; but finding that we wanted wood I sent to cut some; and going ashore to hasten it, at some distance from the place where our men were, I found a small cove where I saw two barbecues, which appeared not to be above 2 months standing: the spars were cut with some sharp instrument; so that, if done by the natives, it seems that they have iron. On the 10th, a little after 12 o'clock, we weighed and stood over to the north side of the bay; and at 1 o'clock stood out with the wind at north and north-north-west. At 4 we passed out by a White Island, which I so named from its many white cliffs, having no name in our charts. It is about a league long, pretty high, and very woody: it is about 5 miles from the main, only at the west end it reaches within 3 miles of it. At some distance off at sea the west point appears like a cape land; the north side trends away north-north-west, and the east side east-south-east. This island lies in latitude 3 degrees 4 minutes south; and the meridian distance from Babao, 500 and 12 miles east. After we were out to sea we plied to get to the northward; but met with such a strong current against us that we got but little. For if the wind favoured us in the night, that we got 3 or 4 leagues; we lost it again and were driven as far astern next morning, so that we plied here several days.
The 14th, being past a point of land that we had been 3 days getting about, we found little or no current; so that, having the wind at north-west by west and west-north-west, we stood to the northward, and had several soundings: at 3 o'clock, 38 fathom; the nearest part of New Guinea being about 3 leagues distance: at 4, 37; at 5, 36; at 6, 36; at 8, 33 fathom; then the cape was about 4 leagues distant; so that as we ran off we found our water shallower. We had then some islands to the westward of us, at about four leagues distance.
THEY ANCHOR AT AN ISLAND CALLED BY THE INHABITANTS PULO SABUDA. A DESCRIPTION OF IT AND ITS INHABITANTS AND PRODUCT.
A little after noon we saw smokes on the islands to the west of us; and, having a fine gale of wind, I steered away for them: at 7 o'clock in the evening we anchored in 35 fathom, about two leagues from an island, good soft oazie ground. We lay still all night, and saw fires ashore. In the morning we weighed again, and ran farther in, thinking to have shallower water; but we ran within a mile of the shore, and came to in 38 fathom, good soft holding ground. While we were under sail 2 canoes came off within call of us: they spoke to us, but we did not understand their language, nor signs. We waved to them to come aboard, and I called to them in the Malayan language to do the same; but they would not; yet they came so nigh us that we could show them such things as we had to truck with them; yet neither would this entice them to come aboard; but they made signs for us to come ashore, and away they went. Then I went after them in my pinnace, carrying with me knives, beads, glasses, hatchets, etc. When we came near the shore I called to them in the Malayan language: I saw but 2 men at first, the rest lying in ambush behind the bushes; but as soon as I threw ashore some knives and other toys they came out, flung down their weapons, and came into the water by the boat's side, making signs of friendship by pouring water on their heads with one hand which they dipped into the sea. The next day in the afternoon several other canoes came aboard and brought many roots and fruits, which we purchased.
This island has no name in our charts but the natives call it Pulo Sabuda. It is about 3 leagues long and 2 miles wide, more or less. It is of a good height so as to be seen 11 or 12 leagues. It is very rocky; yet above the rocks there is good yellow and black mould; not deep yet producing plenty of good tall trees, and bearing any fruits or roots which the inhabitants plant. I do not know all its produce; but what we saw were plantains, coconuts, pineapples, oranges, papaws, potatoes, and other large roots. Here are also another sort of wild jacas, about the bigness of a man's two fists, full of stones or kernels, which eat pleasant enough when roasted. The libby-tree grows here in the swampy valleys, of which they make sago cakes: I did not see them make any but was told by the inhabitants that it was made of the pith of the tree in the same manner I have described in my Voyage round the World. They showed me the tree whereof it was made, and I bought about 40 of the cakes. I bought also 3 or 4 nutmegs in their shell, which did not seem to have been long gathered; but, whether they be the growth of this island or not, the natives would not tell whence they had them, and seemed to prize them very much. What beasts the island affords I know not: but here are both sea- and land-fowl. Of the first boobies and men-of-war-birds are the chief; some galdens, and small milk-white crab-catchers. The land-fowls are pigeons, about the bigness of mountain-pigeons in Jamaica; and crows about the bigness of those in England, and much like them; but the inner part of their feathers are white, and the outside black; so that they appear all black, unless you extend the feathers. Here are large sky-coloured birds, such as we lately killed on New Guinea; and many other small birds unknown to us. Here are likewise abundance of bats, as big as young coneys; their necks, head, ears and noses, like foxes; their hair rough; that about their necks is of a whitish yellow, that on their heads and shoulders black; their wings are 4 foot over from tip to tip: they smell like foxes. The fish are bass, rock-fish, and a sort of fish like mullet, old-wives, whip-rays, and some other sorts that I know not, but no great plenty of any; for it is deep water till within less than a mile of the shore; then there is a bank of coral rocks within which you have shoal water, white clean sand: so there is no good fishing with the seine.
This island lies in latitude 2 degrees 43 minutes south and meridian distance from Port Babao on the island Timor 486 miles. Besides this island here are 9 or 10 other small islands, as they are laid down in the charts.
The inhabitants of this island are a sort of very tawny Indians, with long black hair; who in their manners differ but little from the Mindanayans, and others of these eastern islands. These seem to be the chief; for besides them we saw also shock curl-pated New Guinea negroes; many of which are slaves to the others, but I think not all. They are very poor, wear no clothes, but have a clout about their middle, made of the rinds of the tops of palmetto-trees; but the women had a sort of calico cloths. Their chief ornaments are blue and yellow beads, worn about their wrists. The men arm themselves with bows and arrows, lances, broad swords like those of Mindanao; their lances are pointed with bone.
THE INDIANS' MANNER OF FISHING THERE.
They strike fish very ingeniously with wooden fishgigs, and have a very ingenious way of making the fish rise: for they have a piece of wood, curiously carved and painted much like a dolphin (and perhaps other figures) these they let down into the water by a line with a small weight to sink it; when they think it low enough they haul the line into their boats very fast, and the fish rise up after this figure; and they stand ready to strike them when they are near the surface of the water. But their chief livelihood is from their plantations. Yet they have large boats, and go over to New Guinea where they get slaves, fine parrots, etc., which they carry to Goram and exchange for calicos. One boat came from thence a little before I arrived here; of whom I bought some parrots; and would have bought a slave but they would not barter for anything but calicos, which I had not. Their houses on this side were very small, and seemed only to be for necessity; but on the other side of the island we saw good large houses. Their proas are narrow with outlagers on each side, like other Malayans. I cannot tell of what religion these are; but I think they are not Mahomedans, by their drinking brandy out of the same cup with us without any scruple. At this island we continued till the 20th instant, having laid in store of such roots and fruits as the island afforded.
On the 20th at half hour after 6 in the morning I weighed and, standing out, we saw a large boat full of men lying at the north point of the island. As we passed by they rowed towards their habitations, where we supposed they had withdrawn themselves for fear of us (though we gave them no cause of terror) or for some differences among themselves.
We stood to the northward till 7 in the evening; then saw a rippling; and, the water being discoloured, we sounded, and had but 22 fathom. I went about and stood to the westward till 2 next morning, then tacked again and had these several soundings: at 8 in the evening, 22; at 10, 25; at 11, 27; at 12, 28 fathom; at 2 in the morning 26; at 4, 24; at 6, 23; at 8, 28; at 12, 22.
ARRIVAL AT MABO, THE NORTH-WEST CAPE OF NEW GUINEA. A DESCRIPTION OF IT.
We passed by many small islands and among many dangerous shoals without any remarkable occurrence till the 4th of February, when we got within 3 leagues of the north-west cape of New Guinea, called by the Dutch Cape Mabo. Off this cape there lies a small woody island, and many islands of different sizes to the north and north-east of it. This part of New Guinea is high land, adorned with tall trees that appeared very green and flourishing. The cape itself is not very high, but ends in a low sharp point; and on either side there appears another such point at equal distances, which makes it resemble a diamond. This only appears when you are abreast of the middle point; and then you have no ground within 3 leagues of the shore.
In the afternoon we passed by the cape and stood over for the islands. Before it was dark we were got within a league of the westermost; but had no ground with 50 fathom of line. However, fearing to stand nearer in the dark, we tacked and stood to the east, and plied all night. The next morning we were got 5 or 6 leagues to the eastward of that island; and, having the wind easterly, we stood in to the northward among the islands, sounded, and had no ground. Then I sent in my boat to sound, and they had ground with 50 fathom near a mile from the shore. We tacked before the boat came aboard again for fear of a shoal that was about a mile to the east of that island the boat went to; from whence also a shoal point stretched out itself till it met the other: they brought with them such a cockle as I have mentioned in my Voyage round the World, found near Celebes; and they saw many more, some bigger than that which they brought aboard, as they said; and for this reason I named it Cockle Island. I sent them to sound again, ordering them to fire a musket if they found good anchoring; we were then standing to the southward, with a fine breeze. As soon as they fired I tacked and stood in: they told me they had 50 fathom when they fired. I tacked again, and made all the sail I could to get out, being near some rocky islands and shoals to leeward of us. The breeze increased, and I thought we were out of danger; but, having a shoal just by us, and the wind falling again, I ordered the boat to tow us, and by their help we got clear from it. We had a strong tide setting to the westward.
COCKLES OF SEVENTY-EIGHT POUND WEIGHT.
At 1 o'clock, being past the shoal and finding the tide setting to the westward, I anchored in 35 fathom, coarse sand with small coral and shells. Being nearest to Cockle Island I immediately sent both the boats thither; one to cut wood, and the other to fish. At 4 in the afternoon, having a small breeze at south-south-west, I made a sign for my boats to come aboard. They brought some wood and a few small cockles, none of them exceeding 10 pound weight; whereas the shell of the great one weighed 78 pound; but it was now high-water and therefore they could get no bigger. They also brought on board some pigeons, of which we found plenty on all the islands where we touched in these seas. Also in many places we saw many large bats, but killed none, except those I mentioned at Pulo Sabuda. As our boats came aboard we weighed and made sail, steering east-south-east as long as the wind held; in the morning we found we had got 4 or 5 leagues to the east of the place where we weighed. We stood to and fro till 11; and, finding that we lost ground, anchored in 42 fathom, coarse gravelly sand with some coral. This morning we thought we saw a sail.
In the afternoon I went ashore on a small woody island about 2 leagues from us. Here I found the greatest number of pigeons that ever I saw either in the east or West Indies, and small cockles in the sea round the island in such quantities that we might have laden the boat in an hour's time: these were not above 10 or 12 pound weight. We cut some wood and brought off cockles enough for all the ship's company; but having no small shot we could kill no pigeons. I returned about 4 o'clock; and then my gunner and both mates went thither, and in less than three-quarters of an hour they killed and brought off 10 pigeons. Here is a tide: the flood sets west and the ebb east; but the latter is very faint and but of small continuance. And so we found it ever since we came from Timor.
THE WIND HEREABOUTS.
The winds we found easterly, between north-east and east-south-east; so that, if these continue, it is impossible to beat farther to the eastward on this coast against wind and current. These easterly winds increased from the time we were in the latitude of about 2 degrees south; and as we drew nigher the Line they hung more easterly. And now, being to the north of the continent of New Guinea where the coast lies east and west, I find the tradewind here at east; which yet in higher latitudes is usually at north-north-west and north-west; and so I did expect them here, it being to the south of the Line.
AN EMPTY COCKLESHELL WEIGHING TWO HUNDRED FIFTY-EIGHT POUND.
The 7th in the morning I sent my boat ashore on Pigeon Island and stayed till noon. In the afternoon my men returned, brought 22 pigeons, and many cockles, some very large, some small: they also brought one empty shell that weighed 258 pound.
KING WILLIAM'S ISLAND. A DESCRIPTION OF IT.
At 4 o'clock we weighed, having a small westerly wind and a tide with us; at 7 in the evening we anchored in 42 fathom, near King William's Island, where I went ashore the next morning, drank His Majesty's health, and honoured it with his name. It is about 2 leagues and a half in length, very high, and extraordinarily well clothed with woods. The trees are of divers sorts, most unknown to us, but all very green and flourishing; many of them had flowers, some white, some purple, others yellow; all which smelt very fragrantly. The trees are generally tall and straight-bodied, and may be fit for any uses. I saw one of a clean body, without knot or limb, 60 are 70 foot high by estimation. It was 3 of my fathoms about, and kept its bigness without any sensible decrease even to the top. The mould of the island is black but not deep; it being very rocky. On the sides and top of the island are many palmetto-trees whose heads we could discern over all the other trees, but their bodies we could not see.
About 1 in the afternoon we weighed and stood to the eastward, between the main and King William's Island; leaving the island on our larboard side and sounding till we were past the island; and then we had no ground. Here we found the flood setting east by north, and the ebb west by south. There were shoals and small islands between us and the main, which caused the tide to set very inconstantly, and make many whirlings in the water; yet we did not find the tide to set strong any way, nor the water to rise much.
PLYING ON THE COAST OF NEW GUINEA.
On the 9th, being to the eastward of King William's Island, we plied all day between the main and other islands, having easterly winds and fair weather till 7 the next morning. Then we had very hard rain till 8 and saw many shoals of fish. We lay becalmed off a pretty deep bay on New Guinea, about 12 or 14 leagues wide and 7 or 8 leagues deep, having low land near its bottom, but high land without. The eastermost part of New Guinea seen bore east by south, distant 12 leagues: Cape Mabo west-south-west half south, distant 7 leagues.
At 1 in the afternoon it began to rain and continued till 6 in the evening; so that, having but little wind and most calms, we lay still off the forementioned bay, having King William's Island still in sight, though distant by judgment 15 or 16 leagues west. We saw many shoals of small fish, some sharks, and 7 or 8 dolphins; but caught none. In the afternoon, being about 4 leagues from the shore, we saw an opening in the land which seemed to afford good harbour: in the evening we saw a large fire there; and I intended to go in (if winds and weather would permit) to get some acquaintance with the natives.
Since the 4th instant that we passed Cape Mabo to the 12th we had small easterly winds and calms, so that we anchored several times; where I made my men cut wood, that we might have a good stock when a westerly wind should present; and so we plied to the eastward, as winds and currents would permit; having not got in all above 30 leagues to the eastward of Cape Mabo. But on the 12th, at 4 in the afternoon, a small gale sprang up at north-east by north with rain: at 5 it shuffled about to north-west, from thence to the south-west, and continued between those 2 points a pretty brisk gale; so that we made sail and steered away north-east, till the 13th in the morning, to get about the Cape of Good Hope. When it was day we steered north-east half east, then north-east by east till 7 o'clock; and being then 7 or 8 leagues off shore we steered away east; the shore trending east by south. We had very much rain all night, so that we could not carry much sail; yet we had a very steady gale. At 8 this morning the weather cleared up and the wind decreased to a fine top-gallant gale, and settled at west by south. We had more rain these 3 days past than all the voyage in so short time. We were now about 6 leagues from the land of New Guinea, which appeared very high; and we saw 2 headlands, about 20 leagues asunder; the one to the east, and the other to the west, which last is called the Cape of Good Hope. We found variation east 4 degrees.
FAULT OF THE CHARTS.
The 15th in the morning between 12 and 2 o'clock it blew a very brisk gale at north-west and looked very black in the south-west. At 2 it flew about at once to the south-south-west and rained very hard. The wind settled some time at west-south-west, and we steered east-north-east till 3 in the morning: then, the wind and rain abating, we steered east half north for fear of coming near the land. Presently after, it being a little clear, the man at the bowsprit-end called out, "Land on our starboard bow." We looked out and saw it plain. I presently sounded and had but 10 fathom soft ground. The master, being somewhat scared, came running in haste with this news, and said it was best to anchor: I told him no, but sound again; then we had 12 fathom; the next cast, 13 and a half; the 4th, 17 fathom; and then no ground with 50 fathom line. However we kept off the island and did not go so fast but that we could see any other danger before we came nigh it. For here might have been more islands not laid down in my charts besides this. For I searched all the charts I had, if perchance I might find any island in the one which was not in the others; but I could find none near us. When it was day we were about 5 leagues off the land we saw; but, I believe, not above 5 mile, or at most 2 leagues, off it when we first saw it in the night.
This is a small island but pretty high; I named it Providence. About 5 leagues to the southward of this there is another island which is called William Schouten's Island and laid down in our charts: it is a high island and about 20 leagues long.
It was by mere Providence that we missed the small island. For had not the wind come to west-south-west and blown hard, so that we steered east-north-east, we had been upon it by our course that we steered before, if we could not have seen it. This morning we saw many great trees and logs swim by us; which it is probable came out of some great rivers on the main.
THEY CROSS THE LINE.
On the 16th we crossed the Line, and found variation 6 degrees 26 minutes east. The 18th by my observation at noon we found that we had had a current setting to the southward, and probably that drew us in so nigh Schouten's Island. For this 24 hours we steered east by north with a large wind, yet made but an east by south half south course; though the variation was not above 7 degrees east.
The 21st we had a current setting to the northward, which is against the true trade monsoon, it being now near the full moon. I did expect it here, as in all other places. We had variation 8 degrees 45 minutes east. The 22nd we found but little current; if any, it set to the southward.
A SNAKE PURSUED BY FISH.
On the 23rd in the afternoon we saw 2 snakes; and the next morning another, passing by us, which was furiously assaulted by 2 fishes that had kept us company 5 or 6 days. They were shaped like mackerel and were about that bigness and length, and of a yellow-greenish colour. The snake swam away from them very fast, keeping his head above water; the fish snapped at his tail; but when he turned himself that fish would withdraw, and another would snap; so that by turns they kept him employed; yet he still defended himself and swam away a great pace till they were out of sight.
The 25th betimes in the morning we saw an island to the southward of us at about 15 leagues distance. We steered away for it, supposing it to be that which the Dutch call Wishart's Island; but, finding it otherwise, I called it Matthias; it being that saint's day. This island is about 9 or 10 leagues long, mountainous and woody, with many savannahs, and some spots of land which seemed to be cleared.
At 8 in the evening we lay by, intending, if I could, to anchor under Matthias Isle. But the next morning, seeing another island about 7 or 8 leagues to the eastward of it, we steered away for it; at noon we came up fair with its south-west end, intending to run along by it and anchor on the south-east side: but the tornadoes came in so thick and hard that I could not venture in. This island is pretty low and plain, and clothed with wood; the trees were very green, and appeared to be large and tall, as thick as they could stand one by another. It is about 2 or 3 leagues long, and at the south-west point there is another small low woody island about a mile round, and about a mile from the other. Between them there runs a reef of rocks which joins them. (The biggest I named Squally Island.)
THE MAIN OF NEW GUINEA.
Seeing we could not anchor here I stood away to the southward to make the main. But, having many hard squalls and tornadoes, we were often forced to hand all our sails and steer more easterly to go before it. On the 26th at 4 o'clock it cleared up to a hard sky, and a brisk settled gale; then we made as much sail as we could. At 5 it cleared up over the land and we saw, as we thought, Cape Solomaswer bearing south-south-east distance 10 leagues. We had many great logs and trees swimming by us all this afternoon, and much grass; we steered in south-south-east till 6, then the wind slackened and we stood off till 7, having little wind; then we lay by till 10, at which time we made sail and steered away east all night. The next morning, as soon as it was light, we made all the sail we could, and steered away east-south-east, as the land lay; being fair in sight of it, and not above 7 leagues distance. We passed by many small low woody islands which lay between us and the main, not laid down in our charts. We found variation 9 degrees 50 minutes east.
The 28th we had many violent tornadoes, wind, rain, and some spouts; and in the tornadoes the wind shifted. In the night we had fair weather, but more lightning than we had seen at any time this voyage. This morning we left a large high island on our larboard side, called in the Dutch charts Wishart's Isle, about 6 leagues from the main; and, seeing many smokes upon the main, I therefore steered towards it.