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with no safe passage for a ship amongst them. As these islands bore a very different appearance to that given to them in the charts, and being the most projecting part of the coast, I conceived it advisable to have their extent correctly ascertained. Mr. Fitzmaurice, (accompanied by Mr. Keys,) was therefore sent upon that service in a whale boat with a week's provisions, while the Beagle proceeded to Barrow island, in search of a supply of firewood, having only sufficient for four or five days remaining.
After some difficulty, owing to the shoalnessof the water, an anchorage was found for the ship off the east side of Barrow island, and four miles off the shore. This side of the island is very barren, being almost a mass of bare sand-stone, studded with red coloured ants' nests. There is little or no soil upon the higher part of the island, and in the valleys there is a scanty sprinkling of a very sandy description, and of a red colour; all parts are covered with a wiry reed-like grass. A few stunted shrubs and bushes afford us a tolerable supply of firewood, but there was no appearance of fresh water. During the time required for wooding, and getting on board a stock of turtle, (which we found very numerous,) a boat was sent round the north end of the island for the purpose of fixing of its north-west point, and getting bearings to the different islets and reefs in the offing.
There is a considerable reef with several dry rocks in its bearing north 60° west, and distant eight miles and a half from the northern point of the Montebello islands; this is no doubt Ritchies reef, as it corresponds in latitude with the position assigned to that shoal, but is about half a degree to the eastward. It appears to have been seen by the French, and is laid down by them as a continuous reef from the north-west end of Hermite island.
The Beagle passed between it and the islands, and had not less than seventeen fathoms, upon a rocky ridge that appears to connect it with them, the depth on either side of this ridge being twenty and twentytwo fathoms sandy bottom.
From these islands we made the best of our way to Swan Riter, where we arrived on the 27th of September, but were detained there until October the 25th, owing to the very debilitated state of some of the crew, who had been suffering from dysentry contracted at Timor. But this time was not lost, as many valuable soundings were got in the passage to the southward of Roltenest, and two good beacons* were fixed as marks for avoiding the dangers that extend a considerable distance from the eastern side of that island.
Between Swan River and this place we touched at King Georges Sound, and Adelaide, for the purpose of shortening the interval between rating the chronometers, owing to the great changes of temperature, after reaching to the southward of Swan River.
In approaching Investigators strait, on the passage from King Georges Sound to Adelaide, we discovered a small low island that is not laid down in the charts of that part of the coast. It is in latitude 34° 49' south, and longitude 134° 48' east, and bearing south 8°
• We published an account of these (see page 400,) in our last number, from the Surveyor-general at Swan River.
east, (magnetic) nine miles distant from the highest peak on Greenlys island.
I have the honour to be, &c,
J. C. Wickham, Com. RN.
Mount Fairfax, the Wizard Hills, and Champion Bay.
The only part of the west coast (to the northward of Swan River) that has been visited by the Beagle is that part immediately to the eastward of the Abrolhos, and it is remarkable from being under the high table land of Moresbys flat-topped range, which is a considerable elevation, and in clear weather is visible from a ship's masthead at the Abrolhos.
This range of hills extends N.N.W., six miles from Mount Fairfax, which although a detached hill may be considered its southern extreme. Mount Fairfax is a table-topped hill, the summit of which is an elevated part at its southern edge, and is 590 feet high. It is in latitude 28° 45i', and longitude 1° 3|' west of Swan River, and four miles from the roast. To the south-east of Moresbys flat-topped range are the Wizard Hills, the highest of which, Wizard Peak is 640 feet. It is in lat. 28° 49' 37" S., and long. 0° 58£' W. of Swan River. For ten miles and a half to the northward of Moresbys flat-topped range are some remarkable detached ranges of table land, from 500 to 600 feet high, at the northern extreme of which are the Menai Hills. Some of them show as peaks, but appear only to be the gable ends, as it were of table-topped ridges.
In lat. 28° 47' S. there is a narrow neck of low land projecting about a mile and three quarters from the coast line, to the northward of which there is good anchorage in Champion bay.
Point Moore which is the extreme of this low projection bears W. 13° S. (mag.) from Mount Fairfax, and W. 17° N. (mag.) from Wizard peak. The anchorage is protected from the westward by a reef that extends upwards of a mile to the northward from Point Moore: but half a mile to the northward of this reef is a detached shoal patch which breaks occasionally, between which and the reef there is a passage through which the Beagle passed, and had not less than six fathoms. But perhaps it would be advisable in standing into the bay to pass to the northward of this danger, which may be done by not bringing Mount Fairfax to bear to the southward of E. \ S. (mag.) until Point Moore bears south.
This bay is open to the northward, but as the winds from that quarter are not frequent, and then only in the winter season it may be considered as affording shelter from the prevailing winds on the coast. The water is shoal in the head of the bay, but a good anchorage may be taken three-quarters of a mile off shore in four fathoms sandy bottom with Point Moore bearing S.50°W., and a remarkable bare brown sand hill in the south-east part of the bay, bearing S. 31° E. Mount Fairfax will then bear N. 87° E., and the north extreme of the reef from Point Moore N. 50° W. Wizard peak is not seen from this anchorage.
South of Point Moore is another bay formed by a continuation of the
same reef that shelters Champion bay from'the westward ; but it is quite exposed to the prevailing winds. From Champion bay the coast to the northward is sandy, and fronted by sand hills slightly covered with shrubs. This description of coast continues for nearly twenty miles. In la*. 28° 25' is a remarkable white sand patch 274 feet above the sea; between two and three miles south of which is a deep ravine where there is probably a stream of fresh water. Here the shore becomes steeper, and rises abruptly from the sea, forming Downs about 300 feet high. Native fires were seen in this neighbourhood, and the country had a more fertile appearance than in the vicinity of Champion bay. This part of the coast is bold to and is free from outlying dangers; the depth of water from two to four miles off shore, being between sixteen and twenty fathoms. High water at Champion bay takes place on change days at 9h. 30m. P.m. nearly, and the range is from twelve to twenty-four inches. The stream of tide is not perceptible, but there is generally a current along the coast to the N.N.W. from half a mile to a mile an hour.
Champion bay appears to be the only anchorage on the coast between Swan River and Sharks bay: it is preferable to Gages road, and may at no very distant period become of importance to Western Australia, in consequence of a considerable tract of fine country having lately been discovered immediately to the eastward of Moresbys flat-topped range.
[Our next number will contain Capt. Wickbam's description of Houtmans Abrolhos.]
Timor Laut, The Arrou And Ki Islands.
The scanty knowledge we have of the numerous islands forming the south-east boundary of the Banda Sea, induces us at once to lay before our readers the following extracts, from the remarks of her Majesty's ship Britomart, Commander Owen Stanley, drawn up by Mr. James Hill, the second-master of that vessel. They were visited by that vessel in March, 1839.
Oleliet is situated on the south-east part of Timor Laut, in latitude 7° 54' 46" south, and longitude 131° 26' 33" east; it affords a secure anchorage during the north-west monsoon, in from ten to fourteen fathoms, about half a mile from the shore. During the south-east monsoon the swell, and a very strong set to the southward, render the anchorage very unsafe.—The village of Oleliet is built on a hill, 413 feet above the level of the sea, the land side of which is nearly perpendicular, and can only be ascended by ladders, that can be removed in the event of any attack from the land, the formation of which perfectly protects the town from any attack from seaward.
The population appeared to be large,—the men were all strong and active, they have a peculiar mode of dying their hair of a flaxen colour, (which they wear very long and appear to take great pride in,) a simple waist cloth is their only dress; bows, arrows, iron-headed spears of formidable dimensions, and crests were plenty among them. Cocoanuts may be procured in any quantity, but the other articles of stock they did not seem much inclined to part with. Water may be procured on the north side of the bay.
The people of the Teniraber Islands are not to be trusted, however friendly they may appear for the time.
Between Oleliet and Luora a coral reef extends to about a mile from the shore, on which there is a heavy surf during the south-east monsoon, within which the water is apparently shoal.
Luora, and another village, the name of which we could not ascertain, are built upon the same plan as Oleliet. From Luora, the east coast of Timor Laut is high, (about 600 to 800 feet,) and very thickly wooded; several bays were observed, which, if not blocked up by coral reefs, would afford anchorage in both monsoons;—the water is very clear, so that during the day no danger whatever need be apprehended, if a good look-out be kept from the mast-head, but at night the lead will not give sufficient warning. Dnring the south-east monsoon a strong current was found to prevail off the coast.
Arrou Islands.—On nearing these islands the soundings become very irregular, varying from thirty to fifty fathoms in less than two miles; all the islands seen by the Britomart, were low and thickly wooded. The water is not so clear as off Timor Laut.
The native traders found at Dobbo from the northward, generally prefer making the small island of Babi; after getting hold of which, a N.N.E. course is steered for the north-west point of Wamma, distant six miles and a half, and may be known by a native village and a small Dutch fort.
Vessels bound to Dobbo from the southward, when in the parallel of 6° 8' south, and longitude 134° 4' east, with eleven or twelve fathoms of water, will find a deep opening to the eastward, and a little more to the northward will be seen the island of Babi, which is low. Having reached the north-west end of Babi, and being four or five miles to the westward of it, steer north-east or more easterly, until you see the village and fort of Waula, on the north-west point of Wamma: a good berth must be given to this point, and the south-west point of Wokam, as a shoal extends for some distance from both points, over which the tide sweeps with great strength, the flood to the southward and ebb to the northward. On approaching the north-west point of Wamma, the village of Dobbo will be seen on a low sandy point. Running in with a leading wind you may steer a mid-channel course, or keep Dobbo Point a little open on the starboard bow ;—the channel is deep, and the soundings very irregular, varying from eight to eighteen and twenty fathoms,—both shoals are steep to, the edges may be distinctly seen from the mast-head. The anchorage is close off the low sandy point of Dobbo, in from fifteen to twenty fathoms very good holding ground; the traders generally have a small anchor on shore, and anchor to the eastward or westward of the point according to the monsoon.
Having to turn in or out, great attention should be paid to the tides. If turning in with the flood, and standing towards the southern shoal, you should tack the first shoal east, as the tide sets strong over that bank; in turning out with the ebb, the same attention should be paid to the northern shoal, as the ebb sets strong over that bank. The people of Warama profess to be pilots, but those seen by the Britomart did not appear to be the least trustworthy or of any use.
Dobbo Point, latitude 5° 45' 45" south, longitude 132° 16' 10" east, variation 3° 30' east, dip 25° 39' south. The village of Dobbo is nearly a collection of Bamboo houses, erected by the traders, on their arrival every year, about the end of the north-west monsoon, for the purpose of curing trepang, and collecting the birds of Paradise. Birds nests and pearls, form the chief articles of their trade, in return for which coloured cottons, arrack, (of an inferior quality,) and tobacco are given to the natives,—at the end of their stay the greater part of the houses are removed. Very little stock of any sort can be procured here, as the as the traders only bring enough for themselves, and the natives appear to be quite careless about bringing articles to exchange. Water may be procured at the point, by sinking a cask a few feet deep, but it is not very good from the stream. Where fresh water is marked in the plan made by the Britomart, excellent water may be procured with a little more trouble. The native chiefs of the island of Wamma and Wokam, who have both gold-headed sticks with the Dutch arms on them, (as » symbol of authority) expect a trifling present of arrack and tobacco from vessels visiting the harbour; the trade is chiefly carried on in the interior by Chinese, who are brought in the trading vessels for that purpose. They proceed up the numerous channels with which the group is intersected, in canoes brought chiefly from the Ki Islands, and return when all their barter is expended, of which they give a strict account to the owner of the vessel on their return. The trees in the vicinity of Dobbo are very large and straight, and the wood is apparently applicable to all purposes.
The high mountains of Great Ki, which rise to a height of about 3000 feet, are visible before Dobbo harbour, is lost sight of.
Ki Elli though a fine village, and a great place for building the boats used in trading at the Arrous, possesses no harbour in either monsoon, as the water is deep close in to the edge of the reef, where itshoali suddenly: this village is celebrated for its pottery, of which many specimens were seen,—very porous, and admirably adapted for cooling water by evaporation. The boats are well built, very prettily modelled, and very cheap; the islands appear to be well cultivated, and the inhabitants very well disposed people.
Lesser Ki.—This island presents a very different appearance to Great Ki, being very low, with several shoals extending some distance from its north side, it is well cultivated ;—the water being very clear, the shoals are all visible by daylight, and at night an anchorage may always be obtained in either monsoon.
Ki Doula is situated on the north-west side of the Lesser Ki Island, in a bay fronted by several smaller islands, which, if well surveyed, would form a most splendid harbour in either monsoon. The village is well built, and surrounded by a thick stone wall, in which are three gates towards the sea, and ladders which can be hauled up at pleasure. A great number of boats are made here, and at the period of the Britomart s visit, two large prows were hauled up and undergoing repairs. The inhabitants were very well disposed, but were unwilling