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About seventeen miles to the south-eastward of the Seal Cays, are the Cocorocuma Cays and reef. The cays have some low bushes, anil a few cocoa-nut trees upon them. A dangerous reef runs out for five miles N.N.W. from the cays, it is less than half a mile wide, and steep to all round. A small detached breaker lies about half a mile to the westward of the north end of the reef.
The Pigeon Cays are about four miles to the eastward of the Cocorocumas. The western Pigeon Cay is very small, three feet above water, with a reef running out half a mile to the northward. The east Pigeon Cays are two in number, the same size as the western, they are two and three-quarters miles E.S.E. of the western Cay; the channel that divides them is clear, with from twelve to twenty fathoms.
S.b.W. twelve miles from the Cocorocuma Cays is a dangerous detached reef, which we have called Aliens reef. It is one mile and a half in length from N.N.W. to S.S.E., and has deep water fourteen to sixteen fathoms all round it.
The Cocorocuma Channel, between Aliens reef and the Cocorocuma Cays, is quite clear with from sixteen to eighteen fathoms sandy bottom.
About S.b.E. i E. fourteen miles from Aliens reef, is another dangerous reef very similar in character. It is three miles and three-quarters in extent from north to south, and has from ten to fourteen fathoms round it. We have called it Barnelts reef.
Aliens Channel is between Barnetts reef and Aliens reef, it is perfectly clear, with fourteen fathoms all the way between the reefs.
Barnetts reef is twenty-two miles E.b.N. from Cape False, and seventeen miles and a half N.N.E.JE. from Cape Gracias a Dios. The space between is free from danger, and the soundings very regular. When beating round Cape False at night, it would be prudent not to stand out into more than ten fathoms.
To the E.S.E. of Barnetts reef, about sixteen miles distant, there is a cluster of detached cays with some extensive and dangerous reefs to the northward. The reef to the northwest-ward called Half-moon reef, is steep to on the northern edge; it is more than six miles in length from east to west, and is very dangerous. The northern edge is on the same parallel as the middle of Barnetts reef. Another dangerous reef runs to the south-eastward for four miles, nearly connected with the Halfmoon reef at the south-east extreme. It is called the Savanna reef. Barnetts Channel, between Half-moon reef and Barnelts reef, has from ten to fifteen fathoms across, with a bottom of sand and shells.
The cays to the southward of Half-moon reef are very small, standing about three feet above the water. There is a single cocoa-nut tree on the one furthest to the southward, (Cay Bobel.)
Logwood Cay, and Burns Cay, on the southern part of the reef are only small rocks without vegetation. Half-moon Cay is composed of sand; it is four miles N.N.W. of Cay Bobel, and has a reef running off it to the northward for about one mile, under which there is anchorage sheltered from the eastward.
There is a small detached reef called Cockburns reef, about nine miles to the southward of Cay Bobel, with deep water round it, and a small t.hoal with three fathoms and a half, called Halls shoal, two miles and a half S.E.b.S. of the Cay.
To the south-west of the Savanna reef there are three oays detached tram each other, they are about four feet high, with low bushes upon two of them. There are likewise some small dry reefs, about five miles to the southward of the S.E. extreme of the reef. This neighbourhood is loo full of dangers to be ventured into by any but small fishing vessels.
To the eastward of the Savanna reef about six miles distant, is the north-west elbow of the Alargate Alia reef,—(keep at a distance.) This is the most dangerous reef on the bank, it is upwards of ten miles in extent from north to south. The eastern side forms the segment of a circle convexing to the eastward, quite steep to, with from twelve to fifteen fathoms close to the dry reef. There is a cay off the centre of the west side about five feet high, detached from the reef at the distance of about two miles; it bears nearly south from the north-west extreme of the reef. The Alargate Alia is in the same meridian as Cay Gorda, upwards of forty miles to the southward. Its southern extreme is in the same parallel as Cape Gracias a Dios, about forty-six miles to the eastward. It is forty-two miles within the eastern edge of the Great Musquito Bank, with from eleven to sixteen fathoms for the entire distance.
All these ontlying dangers, and the bank as far as to the meridian of 82° west longitude, were surveyed by Lieutenant Barnett in the Jackdaw schooner.
The channels to the north-east of Cape Gracias a Dios are not recommended to be used, except in cases of emergency, as none of the Cays are sufficiently conspicuous for a land-fall, and there is not any certain indication of your proximity to the reefs even by the lead.
Vessels bound to Cape Gracias from the eastward, should strike the Great Bank about the meridian of the mouth of the Carataska Lagoon, and beat up in shore round Cape False; and on leaving Cape Gracias for the eastward, they should pass to the westward of the Vivorillas.
On the north-east part of the Great Musquito Bank, there is a detached knoll about seven miles in diameter, with from fifteen to twenty-five fathoms. It is separated from the main bank by a channel eight miles wide, with from one hundred and twenty to one hundred and fifty fathoms fine sand. We have called it Thunders Knoll, there is deep water soundings for some miles round it, from one hundred to two hundred fathoms. This knoll is about seventy miles N.E.b.E. from Cay Gorda.
The north-east elbow of the Great Musquito Bank, to the southward of Thunders Knoll, has from twelve to twenty fathoms. We did not quite join Lieutenant Barnett's work to the westward, but found a bight of irregular deep soundings between thirty and one hundred and twenty fathoms running up to the northward, Tound the south-west corner of this elbow, that may possibly detach it from the main bank. This will be determined by Lieutenant Barnett who is completing the survey.
To the southward of the north-east elbow, the edge of the great bank (in the parallel of Cape Gracias a Dios,) falls in about thirty miles to the westward, and takes a direction nearly S.S.W. in an undulating line, gradually nearing the shore. Abreast of Cape Gracias it is ninety miles off shore, and to the southward of San Juan de Nicaragua it approaches to within seven miles.
Between the parallels of 13° and 15* north latitude, (including the MusquilO Cays to the south-eastward of Cape Gracias,) the bank Iras yet to be surveyed.
The coast to the southward of the harbour at Cape Gracias trends S.b.W. for eleven miles, and then S.S-E. for twenty-five miles to Governors Point, which is a long rounding turn in the land, beyond which the coast trends about S.S.W., and continues in that direction for fifty-five miles to the mouth of the river Wounta, or Tongula, from whence it trends nearly south all the way to Parattee Point,* to the southward of the Pearl Cays, a distance of sixty-seven miles. It is a low coast the whole distance, with a sandy beach.
The first opening to the southward of the Cape, is into the Guana Sound Lagoon, about eight miles from the harbour, the next is Sandy Cay river, about twenty miles further to the southward. There is a small river called Dockwara, two miles to the northward of Governors Point, and another fifteen miles to the southward, called Honesons river; these are all small rivers with a bar of sand across the mouth, mostly impassable even for canoes.
There is a remarkable part of the coast about five miles and a half from Honesons river, called Bragmans Bluff, with sleep cliffs of red earth, about thirty-five feet high, reaching nearly three miles along the coast; it cannot easily be mistaken, as there is not any thing else along the coast, that at all resembles it.
The river Wava twelve miles and a half S.S.W. from Bragmans Bluff is the largest on the coast to the northward of the Rio Grande; the water was discoloured for a considerable way from the mouth. The river Wounta, or Tongula, already mentioned, is twenty-three miles to the southward of the Wava. There are two more small rivers, the Apulca and the Walpasilcsa, aad some small creeks, between the Wounta and the Rio Grande, a distance of about thirty-six miles.
The coast from Cape Gracias to within about ten miles of the Rio Grande, was merely traced during a run to the southward in the Blossom, and will require to be more closely examined. We had from four to six fathoms, within less than two miles of the coast, the whole way, except when off the Wounta river, where we had as little as three fathoms and a half when two miles and a half off shore. The Fox shoals are said to be off the mouth of this river.
The first cays off the coast to the southward of the Musquito Group, are the Men-of-War Cays; they are situated about ten miles north-east of the mouth of the Rio Grande, and nearly the same distance off the nearest part of the shore, they are very small with trees and bushes upon them. A small low rock of shingle stands upwards of a mile to the north-east of the cays, steep to all round, with nine and ten fathoms, and a detached breaker about one mile and a half to the southwestward.
About eight miles to the southward of the Men-of-War Cays, are two small cays, called the Great Tyro and the Seal Cays; and about the same distance south of the Tyro Cay are the two King Cays.
A barren rock about eight feet high, lies four miles and a half N.E. by N. from the Great Tyro Cay, and another of equal size lies three
* Called Point Loro in the Columbian Navigator.
miles W.S.W. of the larger King Cay. There are ieveral rocky patches to the westward of these clusters of small cays, but by keeping within five miles of the coast, there is a good channel to the southward along shore, until nearly down to the Pearl Cays, where it becomes intricate and dangerous.
Twelve miles south of the King Cays is Askill Cay, the most northern of the Pearl Cay Group, which extends in small clusters down to Parattee Point; there is deep water between the cays, but there are too many rocks and shoals to allow of safe navigation amongst them, unless with good local knowledge.
There are some dangerous reefs and shoals to the eastward of the Pearl Cays reaching about twelve miles off the main land; the most eastern is the reef off Seal Cay, which is about thirteen miles E.N.E. from Parattee Point.
The Pearl Cays, and the cays to the northward are all thickly wooded, with high trees on most of them. The trees on the Pearl Cays are from fifty to one hundred and twenty feet high, and those on the small cays to the northward from thirty to seventy feet.
A dangerous reef extends off Parattee Point for two miles.
All the cays to the southward of the Men-of-war Cays, with the hank and coast line down to the parallel of 11° 40' N., were surveyed by Lieut. Barnett in the Lark schooner.
At Parattee Point the coast falls in -suddenly to the westward for about eight miles to the mouth of the Pearl Cay Lagoon: the shore between is thickly wooded, the tops of the trees are from one hundred to one hundred and forty feet high. It is very shallow for upwards of two miles from the shore.
The Pearl Cay Lagoon is very extensive, reaching for twenty miles to the northward of the mouth: there is a bar formed about a mile outside the mouth to the south-eastward with only eight feet on it at low water, it breaks, except in very fine weather. Inside the bar there is from two to four fathoms and a half for about three miles up, beyond which it is very shallow. There is a rise and fall of about two feet at the springs. High water at lh. 45m.
About four miles within the bar to the south-westward there is an English settlement of some extent, and another about four miles more to the westward. The settlers came originally from Jamaica, and from the English factory at Black river; they are now spread along this part of the coast at Pearl Cay, and at Blewfields Lagoons, and also at the Corn Islands, and at St. Andrews, and Old Providence.
At the Lagoons and at the Corn Islands they consider themselves as living within the Musquito territory, and do not acknowledge any connexion with the State of Columbia; whereas at St. Andrews and Old Providence they acknowledge themselves to belong to the State of Columbia, and have a commandant and a few soldiers from Carlhagena. The commandant resides at St. Andrews.
Those within the Musquito territory are, in fact, living as an independant race, subject only to such laws as they have established amongst themselves.
The land projecting out to the eastward from the Pearl Cay Lagoon forms this part of the coast into a deep bay, and affords shelter during northerly winds in four or five fathoms, muddy bottom.
There is a remarkable round hill, called Cookra Hill, nine miles and a half S.W. | W. from the bar of Pearl Cay Lagoon, it is five hundred and eighty-seven feet high, and stands about five miles inland. It is visible from the Great Corn Island from whence it bears nearly west. There is a similar hill fourteen miles to the southward, at the back of Blewfields Lagoon, four hundred and eighty-three feet high. These are the only hills along the coast between Cape Gracias and Blewfields, and are very useful as landmarks when bound to the Lagoons.
Blewfields Lagoon is about seven leagues south of the Pearl Cay Lagoon: the coast between is nearly straight, with a sandy beach. There is a small green mound forming a projecting point to the southward, called False Blewfields, about nine miles and a half from the bar of the Pearl Cay Lagoon.
The Cayman Rock lies off this part of the coast two miles from the shore; and six miles N. J E. from Blewfields Bluff. It is a barren rock about twenty-five feet high, with six and seven fathoms close to it all round, and a clear channel with from three to six fathoms between it and the shore.
At the entrance to Blewfields Lagoon, on the north side, there is a remarkable bluff headland, forming a small peninsula projecting to the south-westward, joined to the main by a low narrow neck of land. This bluff is higher than any other part of the coast, and makes like an island in almost every direction: it is about one hundred and twenty feet high, and is bold to, with low steep cliffs of red clay. There is a bar formed across the entrance into the lagoon off the south-west part o f the bluff, with about thirteen feet at low water: there is a rise of two feet at the springs: high water at lh. 50m. It is observed that the tide rises six inches higher in the night than in the day. During fresh north-east winds, the bar breaks heavily: it also varies in depth, being affected by the freshes out of the river. The flood tide only runs for three hours. There is a rapid current out of the lagoon after heavy rains.
When going in keep over on the starboard hand, close along the west side of the bluff. The best anchorage is just to the northward of the N.W. point of the bluff, in four or five fathoms muddy bottom. Above the anchorage it gets very shallow. There is a boat channel to the northward into the Blewfields River, and another to the westward, up to a large settlement situated under a hill, about three miles and a half west from the anchorage.
There are at this settlement between three and four hundred inhabitants. The same race as those who are settled at the Pearl Cay Lagoon, and at the islands to the eastward.
To anchor outside Blewfields in a vessel that cannot cross the bar, bring the south-west point of the bluff to bear W.N.W., and stand on till the right extreme of the bluff bears N.N.W., yon will then be in five fathoms muddy bottom. This anchorage is exposed to the regular breezes, but there is plenty of room to weigh, and a clear bank to windward. There is a dangerous coral patch with as little as eight feet water, about two miles and a half S.b.E. from the south part of the bluff, and another similar patch with as little as six feet, about two miles and a half further to the southward, in the same line of bearing from the bluff, Outside of these rocky patches the bank is quite clear.