1:00 pm Fine Weather and smooth water.
4:00 pm Came to a
Grapnel on the end of a Reef
to try for Fish. The Island Direction south
3 or 4 leagues. and
an Island WBN about 4 or 5 Miles where I determined if possible to spend the night.
At 5 O'Clock past a small Rocky Isle close to the larger one where I was bound, and on the NW side between it and the main I found a fine sandy Point where I brought to a Grapnel and landed. It was now a quarter past 5 oClock.
The Northermost land which I called Fair Cape bore NWBN½N 7 leagues and a point of the main opposite to us from SWBW to NW¾W distant ¼ mile. A small Islet was on with the North Extreme. Another bore NBW 4 or 5 leagues distant. A remarkable Peaked Hill on the main SBW¾W about 8 miles and land as far as SBE but the Island of Direction was not in sight from this part of the Island.
Found Oysters and Periwinkles—One half slept on Shore but could make no Fire.
In the Morning Employed gathering Oysters and others getting the Boat in Order. Made a Fire by a Small magnifying Glass I always carried about me. Dug and found a fine well of water. Made a fine Stew of Oysters, and issued to be mixed with it an allowance of Bread and some Pork and at Noon I distributed to each person a Full pint. Found three kinds of Berries of which we eat without any bad effects. People very weak and troubled with dreadfull Tenesmus. Signs of Natives having been here. Island woody. Many Doves and other Birds.
Soon after I had got within the Reefs the Coast began to show itself very distinctly with a variety of high and low lands some parts of which were covered with wood. In my way towards the Shore I fell in with a point of a Reef which is connected with that towards the Sea, and here I dropt a Grapnel and tryed to catch Fish but had no success. The Island Direction now bore South 3 or 4 leagues. Two Islands lay about 4 miles to the WBN and appeared elligible for a resting place if nothing more, but on my approach to the first I found it nothing but a Heap of Stones and its size too inconsiderate to admit of Shelter for the Boat. I therefore proceeded to the next which was close to it, (and next the main,) where on the NW side I found a Bay and a fine Sandy point to land at. Our distance was about ¼ of a mile from a projecting part of the main bearing from SWBS to NNW¾W. I now landed to examine if there were any signs of the Natives being near us, but altho I discovered some old fire places I saw nothing to alarm me for our situation during the night. Every one was anxious to discover something to eat, and I soon heard that Oysters were found on the Rocks, for the Tide was out, but it was now nearly dark and only a few were gathered. We were therefore to wait for the morning to know how to proceed, and I consented that one half of us should sleep on Shore and the other in the Boat, but a great difficulty we had to surmount was to make a fire, which as we could not accomplish we took our rest for the night which happily was calm and undisturbed.
The Dawn of Day brought greater strength and Spirits to us than I expected; for notwithstanding every one was very weak, yet I saw strength remaining which I hoped would enable me to encounter the difficulties I had to undergo.
As soon as I saw that no natives were immediatly near us I sent out parties in search of Supplies while others were putting the Boat in order that I might be ready to go to Sea in case any unforseen cause might make it necessary. The first object of this necessary work that demanded refitting was the Rudder, one of the Gudgeons having come out in the course of the Night and was lost. This if it had happened at Sea would most probably have been the Cause of our perishing, as the management of the Boat would have been lost, at least not so nicely performed, as the heavy Seas required. I had often expressed my fears of this accident that we might be prepared for it, and had taken the precaution to have grummets fixed on each quarter for Oars, but even our utmost readyness in using them I fear would not have Saved us. It appears therefore very providential Circumstance that it has happened at this place and in our power to remedy the defect; for by accident we found a large staple which answered the purpose.
The Parties were now returned highly rejoiced at having found plenty of oysters and fresh water. I also had made a fire by help of a small magnifying Glass that I always carried about me to read of the divisions of my sextants, and what was still fortunate one of the men among the few things he had thrown into the Boat and Saved was a peice of Brimstone and a Tinder Box, so that I secured Fire in future.
By the presence of mind of one of my People he brought away a copper Pot, it was by being in Possession of this article that I was enabled to make a proper use of the supply we had found, and with a mixture of Bread and a little Pork I made a Stew that was eatable by People of more delicate appetites, of which each person received a full pint. In the distribution of it the Voraciousness of some and the moderation of others was very discernable to me. The Master began to be disatisfyed the first, because it was not made into a larger quantity by the addition of water, and showed a turbulent disposition untill I laid my commands on him to be Silent.
The General complaints of disease were a dizziness of the head, great weakness of the joints and violent Tenesmus, most of us having had no evacuation since we left the ship. I had constantly a severe pain at the pit of my Stomach, but none of our complaints were alarming, on the contrary every one retained marks of Strength that with a mind possessed of any fortitude could bear more fatigue than I hoped we had to undergo on my route to Timor.
As I would not allow any one to expose himself to the heat of the Sun it being near noon, every one too his alottment of Earth shaded by the Bushes or a Tree for a Short repose.
The Oysters we found grew so fast to the Rocks that it was with difficulty they could be broke off and discovered it to be the most expeditious way at last to open them where they were. They were very sizeable and well tasted and give us great releif, but to add to this happy circumstance in a hollow of the land where grew some wire Grass which indicated a moist situation, on forcing a Stick about 3 feet into the ground, we found water, and with little trouble dug a well which produced us as much as we were in need of. It was very good, but I could not determine if it was a Spring or not. Our wants made it not necessary to make the well deep and it flowed as fast as we emptied it which with the soil being apparently too loose to contain water from the Rains renders it probable to be a Spring. It lies about 200 yards to the SE of Restoration point on the SW part of the Island.
I found evident signs of the Natives resorting to this Island, for besides fire places I saw two miserable wigwams having only one side covered. We found a pointed stick about three feet long with a Slit in the end of it to sling stones with and is just the Same as the Natives of Van Diemens land use. The Track of some animal was very conspicuous on the Land, and Mr. Nelson agreed with me it was Kongorro, but how this animal can get from the main I know not, unless brought over by the Natives to breed that they may take them with more ease, and render a Supply of food certain to them which on the Continent may be precarious and only to be got with great trouble owing to the extent of Country.
The Island may be about 2 miles in extent, it is a high lump of Rocks and Stones covered with wood, but the Trees are small with only sufficient soil to produce them, which of itself is very indifferent and Sandy. The Trees that came within our knowledge were the Toa, Manchineel and a species of the Purrow, also some Palm Trees the Tops of which we cut down, and the soft interior part or heart of them I found to be so palatable that I allowed it to be put into our mess. Mr. Nelson discovered some Fern Roots which I thought might be good roasted as a succedaneum [substitute] for Bread, but it proved a very poor one, it however was very good in its natural State to allay thirst, and I therefore directed a quantity to be collected to take into the Boat. Many peices of Cocoanutt shells and Husk were found about the Shore, but could find no Trees or did I see any like them on the main.
Altho I had cautioned every one not to touch any kind of fruit that they might meet with, yet they were no sooner away than every one was secretly plucking of three different kinds that grew all over the Island, and eating without any reserve. The Symptom only of having eaten too much began at last to frighten some of them, and on asking others who had taken a more moderate doze[dose]once found their minds a little quieted that no such complaint rested with them, but those became equally alarmed in their turn expecting that such symptoms would come on, and that they were all poisoned, so that they regarded each other with the Strongest marks of apprehension of what would be he issue of their imprudence. Happily the Fruit proved wholesome and good. One kind grew on a small delicate Vine. They were about the size of a Gooseberry and of a very like substance, but it had only a Sweet taste. The Skin was a pale red streaked with yellow and was a pleasant Fruit. Another kind grew on Bushes like what is called the sea side grape in the West Indies these were very like Elder Berries. The third was a black berry not so plenty as the others and not unlike a Bullum or large kind of Sloe both in size and taste. The seeing these fruit eat hollow by the Birds and insects led me to consider them fit for use, and those who had already tried the experiment properly finding no bad effects, made it a certainty that we might eat of them without fear.
Wild Pigeons, Parrots and other Birds were about the summit of the Island, but as I had no Fire Arms any releif of that kind was not to be expected unless I met with some unfrequented spot where I might catch them with our hands. This led me to a comparison of the vast difference in the sagacity of the feathered species and animals. Of the latter I know of no instance excepting the domesticated part, where they are not wiley and run from the approach of a human Being or make a prey of him, but the former on the contrary in unfrequented situations delight in the novelty untill the[y] feel the effects of the propensity that man has to destroy them. What is still remarkable that in ever so unfrequented a spot the land Birds are not so tame as the Sea.
About a half mile round on the South side of the Island from the well, a small Run of water was found, but as its source was not traced I know nothing more of it.
The shore of this Island is very rocky except the part we were at, where on the Beach I picked up many peices of Pumice Stone. The part of the main next to us had several sandy Beaches, but at low water it had an extensive Rocky Flat. The Country had rather a barren appearance except in a few places, where it was covered with wood. A remarkable range of Rocks lay a few miles to the SW and a high Peaked Hill terminated the Coast towards the Sea with other high Lands and Islands to the Southward.
I saw a few Bees or Wasps, several Lizards, and the black Berry bushes were full of Ants nests spun as spiders is but so close and compact as not to admit the Rain.
A Trunk of a Tree about 50 feet long lay on the Beach from whence I conclude a heavy sea runs in here in the time of the northerly winds.
This being the Day of the Restoration of King Charles the Second, and the name being not inapplicable to my present situation for it has (restored us to fresh life and strength) I named it Restoration Island, for I think it probable Captain Cook may not have taken notice of it. The other names I presume to give the different parts of the Coast are only to show my Route a little more distinct.