1 pm: Fresh Gales and Unsettled Weather. Ship lying with two Anchors down in a very narrow and dangerous Situation.
5 pm: At 5 hour..20′ Weighed both Anchors, but unhapply the Arm of the Best (I had now two Anchors disabled.) Bower was broke off and both Cables much rubbed. The Assistant Weighed without accident & we stood down to the Boats who had made the Signal for good Anchorage.
6 pm: At 6 hour..30′ in the midst of dangerous Rocks and Shoals we were obliged to
Anchor in 8 fathoms bad ground not a Cables length of clear Water. The Tide running 5 Knots and were obliged
to steer the Ship with the Wind right aft against the Tide. I now gave a half allowance of Grog to the
people in addition to their allowance. On the lee Tide we rode with great hazard at a whole Cable, steering
the Ship with the utmost caution, & hands constantly by the 2nd Anchor, expecting every minute to part.
Passage Keys S81°W 3 Miles. Keys about ¾ of a Mile off on with West part of U N11°E. East end of U N35°E. Passage Island N56°E. Black Rock Island S85°E. High Mountain S45°E.
4 am: Dismal Weather every person in a state of uneasyness.
5 am: Began to heave up, to proceed to the Westward at all events to save the Ships.
The Weather very bad and threatning to be worse.
6 am: At 6 hour..50′ got our Anchor found the Cable rubbed, & this was our Sheet. Assistant & Boats a head.
8 am: At 8 hour passing between two Rocky Keys or Isles on the Starboard hand & one on the larboard ½ Mile a part, North & South, & about 2 Miles from the Place. Soundings 7 fathoms. The Islands on the North inclined to the NbE and on the South to the SW open Sea to the Westward.
9 am: At 9 OClock fell into Shoal Water, the Cutter in 3 fathoms Tacked, and having
deepened, in 6 fathoms Coral Sand, some
places soft ground kind of Clay. The Island U bore N38°E to N50°E 4 or 5 leagues. The
passage Keys from N43°E to N76°E 2 Miles & the whole extreme of the Islands in sight was
from N36°E about 6 leagues to S10°E 6 or 7 leagues (by the East). Struck Top Gallant Masts.
Employed getting our only two Anchors to the Bows for the Bower Cables, lashing a Buoy on one of the Broken Bowers (to insure its canting) for a Sheet Anchor. Rounding-reservicing the Cables; & doing all in our power for our Safety. Sent the Boats to Sound round the Ships.
Repaired the Apparatus for Distilling Water.
The Strength of Wind and Tide, with our Anchors among Rocks, made me anxiously look for Slack Water and the reports from the Boats. About 3 O'Clock the Boats made the Signal for good Anchorage. At 4 OClock the Tide began to Slack, and by 5 hour..20′ I had both my Anchors, with the loss of one of the Arms (I had now two Anchors disabled) of the Best Bower, and both Cables much rubbed. The Assistant Weighed without accident, and I made her Signal to lead. Lieut. Portlock had his orders from me to Anchor in the first good ground he should meet with.
Lieut. Guthrie met me as I was passing the 1st. narrows, about 1 Mile from our last Anchorage; & I now found we had neither good Anchorage or a convenient Channel for the Ships to pass through, on the contrary, we were in a worse situation than before; Rocks with bad bottom all round us, and a dreadfull Tide running. In the midst of all these dangers Night obliged me to Anchor with little certainty of keeping from the Rocks untill the Morning.
After a miserable Night day light threatned us with a Storm; but Sun rise brought more favourable Weather, and having given Lieut. Portlock his orders to lead through each pass as might appear best with the Wind we had, and sent the Boats to lead a head of him; I made the Signal to Weigh at a Slack Tide. We were under Sail with a Weather Tide, and ranging along the Keys off the NW part of Island V, and Reefs on the North, in a Channel about ¾ Cable length wide, and that winding; I passed (into an open Sea) between two Keys on the Starboard hand, and one on the larboard. No land to be seen from the South round by the West to North. There appeared foul ground on the West side of B, for we saw two large detached Rocks, one of which was about 3 Miles from the Shore.
At 9 O'Clock an hour after we were clear of the Rocks, we again fell into Shoal Water, I therefore stood back from it, and came to an Anchor in good ground. I had now to determine whether I had banks to encounter with instead of Rocks before I could proceed. The Boats as far as I could permit them to go have reported favorably, and I intend sending them with the Assistant to examine at a greater distance.
Where the Boats had 3 fathoms was towards the Westermost Rock, which with their Soundings since I came to an Anchor, induces me to believe there is a flat of regular Soundings on the West side of V, off the Westermost Rock.
There were about 27 Men in the Cannoes who had their Bows with them, these were all we saw, and I immagine the Country is thinly inhabited. It was very much burnt up and a great part Rocks & Stones.