Wednesday 22nd In the Morning at day break with fair Weather and Southwesterly Winds we got under Sail, Assistant in Company.
As I was anxious to know something of the entrance into Fredrick Henry Bay, I steered round the head to the North, as far up as three Leagues, carrying Soundings from 29 to 24 fathoms, about a Mile or One & half from the Shore of Fredrick Henry, which lies in the direction of NNW½W, forms several heads and a steep shore.At ¾ past 9 I hauled to the Wind, which was freshening at South, and my Situation with respect to the Land was as Follows. Cape Fredrick Henry bore S14°W distant 5 Miles, the Southermost part of Marias Islands in sight, a remarkable high Cape of Fluted Pillars of Rock, S81°E. A Bay on Fredrick Henry shore N87°W 2 Miles. A sloping point lying under the Table Land where is the only entrance into Fredrick Henry Bay (if any) N47°W distant 5 Miles. The Extremes of some Islands opposite to it from N26°W to N11°E 3 or 4 Leagues distant, between which & a fair Cape bearing N25°E is a find deep Bay, which from what I have been able to observe, is the case with the Sound we are in, filled up with many Islands that I have no doubt afford the best of Shelter for Shiping. The Country looked in all parts pleasant and covered with Wood. We saw numerous Fires as if the Country was fuller of Inhabitants than has hitherto been supposed, and particularly about the Shore of the Table Mountain, where it is certainly the finest part of the Country, and most likely place to find Rivers. I did not feel myself justified to examine this place, from my being so late in the Season for Otaheite, I therefore reluctantly gave it up.
At Noon it blew hard from the South and I was obliged to carry much Sail to Work out and clear the Land. Cape Fredrick Henry bore WSW. Cape Pillar East 2 Leagues. Saw a great number of Seals.
Here Civil account ends and Log account begins at Noon, 12 Hours Earlier.
My third visit to this Country has been attended with scarce any new occurrence. I had hopes my endeavors to serve it in my last Voyage might have been productive of some good, but of all the articles I planted, only one Apple Tree remains. It has not produced any fruit or shows any luxuriancy of growth, it however remains alive and in a healthy state, and perhaps being now habitual to the Soil, may if it escapes the accidents of more than Wind & Weather, produce fruit. Those that were planted with it have been certainly destroyed by fire and the fall of Trees. I cannot help reflecting on my inattention in not searching after the very probable chance of discovering the result of the most advantageous thing I planted, this was Potatoes, I saw no vestige above the ground, and never thought of digging until I came away. It is not impossible they have increased.
I have never seen any reason to hope that the Hogs left here by Captain Cook or any breed of them were alive, I am however sanguine in my expectations that the Cock and Two Hens I have now left will breed & get wild. Perhaps the most valuable of the Articles I have this time Planted, are Nine fine young Oak plants about 8 Inches high. They were planted in East Cove on the Slope of the Hill on the left hand side of the Flat as you land, about 200 or 300 Yards from the Water Side. A little below the Oaks, are planted five Fig plants, three Pomgranates, three Quinces & twenty Strawberrys. On Pengwin Island & Grass Point sowed Fir Seed, Appricot and Peach Stones. I expect the Oaks and the Fir Seed will thrive, and some Water Crepes that were planted at the East End of the Beach in the Rivulet which connect with the brackish Water. This Rivulet about 300 Yards fro the Water side has but a very small run, but is more considerable towards Nelson Hill, where our Botanists have described its source to me to be a fine Spring. Many small dull coloured Trout were in the running Water.
During my stay here the Weather has been so unsettled & boisterous as any of our unseasonable Summer or Autumn Months in England. We have had both Hail and Snow, and the latter lay on the Table Mountain for some Days. The Thermometer varied from 54 to 61 Degrees, and at one time it was 53 Degrees. In January 1777 when I was here in the Resolution, one month earlier in the Summer, we had the Thermometer from 63 to 75 Degrees, and in August 1788 equal to our February, when I was in the Bounty, I had it from 41 to 54 degrees, it was once 60 and once 40 Degrees. Hence we have a comparative difference of heat and cold in Summer and Winter, and State it according to these observations, as 40 Degrees the lowest in Winter, to 75 the highest in Summer, I however believe the extremes may exceed these limits.
It has been observed that both Birds and Fish have had a very immediate tendency to putrefaction, and have produced Maggots in a very short space of time. It is occasioned by large Flies that propagate this filth in the course of an hour or two. I have known Fish cleaned for boiling and laid on Rocks, which on being taken up in an hour was full of these vermin
The unseasonableness of this season had more than the common signs of bad Weather, it kept the Fish out of the Bay. A musquito was scarce to be seen even in the Swamps and the Flys were not troublesome as in hot Weather, when both the one and the other are scarcely bearable. Out greatest supply was a fine Reddish coloured Cod that weighed from a half to two & three pounds, caught by hook and line from the Ship. The Seine rewarded us little for the trouble of hauling it, except on the last day when we caught abundance of Spanish Mackrel. At the other times we caught a few Elephant Fish, Flounders, Soals, Gurnards, a Flat headed Slimy Fish, called by some Fishermen Foxes, Bream, Sting Rays and Skeets, besides a variety of small Fish, in all amounting to Twenty Eight sorts. But the fines Fish are the Bream caught in the Marsh, they are highly delicious and afford very excellent diversion fishing with a Float, & beating [baiting] with Worms or Muscles [mussels]. In the Winter Season I saw many Spider Crabs, but at this time I saw not one, or any Whales. In August 1788 we had many in the Bay. They were the Bone or right Whale as they are called, having two blow holes, whereas the Spermaceti have but one. It appears from the accounts of the Whale Fishers that the Whales are remarkably fixed in the time of coming into Bays & upon open Coasts, it is probable therefore that this may be the time about Van Diemans Land, as we have not seen them in the Summer Months.
The Wigwams have large heaps of Muscle [mussel] Shells and some Oyster & Craw Fish in them, but it is remarkable we never saw any Fish Bones. The Muscles are easily got in great abundance. The few Oysters we got with the Seine and dredge were very large and fine, but the superior Shell fish is the Ear, called so from the Shell taking that form, it adheres to the Rocks like a Limpet. When properly stewed it is delicious eating. Some fine Scollops are likewise in this Bay, and in the Bay of Fredrick Henry is a large Oyster Bank which our officers met with in an excursion to that place. I shall give an account of it in Lieutenant Bonds own words, at the end of my Remarks.
It appears to me from an interview some of our Gentlemen had with the natives that they avoid being wet with the Sea with every degree of caution. Our party saw them gathering Muscles, when it was remarkable to see the Men fly away from every surge of the Water which they thought would not have reached their Knees. I have remarked in my former Voyage that the Natives retire in the boisterous time of the Year to places not exposed to the Sea Winds. Fredrick Henry Bay is a most elligible situation for them in the northern parts of it, from the smokes we observed, the Inhabitants are more numerous than is generally supposed. They have there a range of high continental land, sheltered by large Islands from the Sea, where both Water & Food are probably more plentifull than we have yet found it to be. They are not confined to Shell Fish, I have seen several Wood Spits with which they support larger masses of Food against the Fire than either Fish or Birds. The Kangoroos are numerous, the marks of them are met with all over the low Grounds, several were seen & escaped being killed by the close underwood or rushes, a good Dog would give a great deal of Sport. I really suspect that the great fires which the Natives make about the Coast is the cause of keeping away many Animals the natural inhabitants of this Country.
As I am convinced that the Neighbouring Isles are inhabited, I see no reason to doubt of their having Canoes however ill constructed they may be. Mere Logs however may be said to be sufficient to transport them such small distances.
It has been remarked from small Baskets being found containing Flints that they got fire by collision, but I have not heard of any fungus discovered, or any substituted that will contain Sparks made by collision. I have found rolls of peculiar Bark which is taken from the Trees of the smallest species of the Metrocedera that I conceived would effect this purpose, but with the fairest trials, I could not accomplish it, altho a small particle of collected fire put among it will soon generate such a Body as to secure the end in the wetest Weather. It appears that they have some trouble in making fire, for besides this dry Bark, they use shavings of some dry wood, which has the likeness of being taken off by a Plane Iron of an eight of an Inch wide. Several handfulls of these shavings lay about most of the Wigwams I saw — I apprehend they are formed by the Sharp end of the Muscle shell.
It is remarkable that these people cautiously avoid having any intercourse with us, the only thing they coveted when our party saw them was the Hat. Mr. Cox had remarked the same thing in his interview among the Marias Isles. Trinkets such as Rings that were given to them they returned, some peices of biscuit however they Received & Eat. Before they were observed, our party came to a Wigwam w[h]ere they saw recent marks of fire and proofs of the Natives having been there, and it proved to be but a small distance from the place they really found them at. At this Wigwam they left two Tin Tumblers and a Linnen Bag with an intention of taking them up in the return, when to their surprise the Native had taken all away, but their curiosity so easily gratified, or the fears of the consequences so great, that these poor Creatures left each article as they found it at a few yards from the Wigwam, in a conspicuous place on the Trunk of a Fallen Tree.
We found not a single natural production fit for food except a little wild parsley about Pengwin Island and Grass Point.
The Hills and Country in general is a much better Soil than about the Cape of Good Hope, and abounds with Wood. The Rocks and Stones upon the hills are the same as found at the Cape, and humps of Granite of the same kind as the Pearl Rock is formed of, but no such large Masses were seen. The face of the Shore above the Water is formed of a peculiar sandy Stone. Great slabs of it lie on Hewen Stone Head, squared with such exactness as if done by Art. I saw no marks of fusion or subterraneous fire on any part of the Coast, or any quality in the Stones that were picked up that would effect a Magnet.
The Country is not destitute of fresh Water, altho no Rivers have yet been found. Wherever Europeans have landed upon it they have met with Brooks, and seen some small Waterfalls. Adventure Bay is furnished with several Runs. Resolution Brook is a fine plentifull Stream that runs over a Stony bottom from Springs three four & five Miles in the Country. It is from five to twelve feet wide in general, has Trout in it, and I believe never dries.
At the East end of the Beach or Water Cress Valley, is a small Brook that has its source near Nelson Hill. At 300 yards from the Water side it has a pretty run and may be made a good Watering place.
East Cove Valley likewise produceth good Water, but to the place where it is at all times pure, we bailed it dry as fast as it ran, & the rolling way is troublesome.
The Bounty's watering place is the most convenient, but the goodness of the Water depends on Rain & Moderate Weather, as does the Water in the Marsh at the back of the Beach, where I have sometimes found it very good. In all these places we found Trout. The valleys towards the Sea side are below the level, and by this means the Salt Water has access through the Sand and renders the fresh Water brackish when the Tide is high & strong Southerly Winds prevail. It is necessary therefore to guard against this by filling further back where the Sea cannot effect it. At Resolution Brook this precaution is not necessary.
I have said in the account of my former Voyage that the Trees shed their Bark every Year, and I said it principally on the authority of Mr Nelson the Botanist, but it appears to me at this time to be not the Case, or can I jud[g]e of it.
Lieut. Bond and others of our Gentlemen walked along the West Shore as far as the South part of Fredrick Henry Bay. From the View he had of it he gave me the following account.
"The Bay of Fredrick Henry is seperated on the South and East from Adventure Bay by a low narrow neck of Land which is some parts is only 250 or 300 Yards across. To the NE it forms a high Peninsula extending to the entrance of these two Bays. To the North and West is the Main Land. The greatest extent is about Eight Miles from North to South, and about half the distance across. It has a small Island in the Middle, and is perfectly land locked. From the shore of the Isthmus is a Bank on which are numerous Oysters, and Muscles. The Muscles were larger, but not so good as those about the Rocks in Adventure Bay. The Harbour is fine and capacious, perfectly free of Surf, while on the East side of the Isthmus the Sea broke with great fury. The Country is the same as about Adventure Bay, and at the begining of the low land is a morass about ¾ of a Mile long where we met with brackish Water, but saw no Springs. We saw none of the Natives, they had however taken away some Trinkets that were left in a Wigwam the day before, by some of our Gentlemen."
Our Botanists account of the Country about Adventure Bay is as follows.
From Gully Head to Resolution River the Country has a black Sandy Soil. From Resolution River to the Bounty's watering place it is like black Peat. From thence to the Water Cress Valley it is blackish and very sandy. From Water Cress Valley to East Cove it is much the same but rather stiffer, higher up the Hills it is a red Sandy Soil. In East Cove and Water Cress Valley the Soil is rich and fertile. Towards Pengwin Island it becomes rather Sandy. At the upper parts of Nelson Hill blackish and very fertile Soil, at the foot of it rather looser, and here is a Spot of fine Arable ground and a beautifull situation. Pengwin Island has a black soil free from Sand. The Tops of the Hills above Grass point are much encumbered with Rocks & loose Stones, but the High ground about the middle of the Bay very free of them.