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An Historical Journal of the Transactions at Port

In crossing from Celebes to Borneo and back


On

the 31st, at day-light, the land of Celebes bore east by north half north; we had a heavy squall of thunder, lightning, and rain.

On the 1st of September, about eight o'clock at night, when it was very dark, we suddenly discovered something on our weather quarter, which had much the appearance of a large row-boat, and there being but a very light air of wind, we prepared, with all possible silence, for the reception of a pirate; but as it did not approach us as we expected, we supposed it to have been a large tree adrift.

In crossing from Celebes to Borneo and back, we passed nearly over the place where seven islands are laid down in the charts, about 00 deg. 40' to the northward of the line; but, as we saw nothing, I conclude, as Captain Carteret did, "that they exist only upon paper;" or that they may have been some of those islands which have been seen near the coast, and by an incorrect account of their situation, in point of longitude, have been placed here in mid-channel. In the morning, the Island of Celebes bore from east half north to south-south-east, and a small island covered with wood bore south-east half east, four or five miles distant. This island is in latitude 00 deg. 03' south, longitude 119 deg. 54' east; it lies off the opening of a large bay. On the 5th, we were in the latitude of 00 deg. 50' south, and longitude 119 06' east, and were about six or seven leagues from the coast of Celebes;

here the land near the sea is of a moderate height, but the back land is remarkably high.

On the 7th, we saw two large proas, in the south-west; we were standing towards them, and as they were at some distance from each other, the one bore down and joined the other, and both stood for the land; we however judged it necessary to be prepared for them all the succeeding night: they might have been trading vessels, but as they can conceal their numbers, and as we knew that these seas are infested with piratical vessels of that description, it was necessary for us to be on our guard.

At noon we were in latitude 1 deg. 47' south; longitude 118 deg. 50' east, and no part of the Celebes shore in sight. I am convinced, from the many observations made for the longitude here, by myself, as well as by Lieutenants Bradley and Waterhouse, that the west coast of Celebes is laid down in all the charts which I have seen, much farther to the westward than it should be. On the 8th, in the evening, we were looking out for the Little Pater Nosters, being near the latitude of their north end, as determined by Captain Carteret; but although we stood to the westward all night, we saw nothing of them; I therefore suppose they lay nearer the Celebes shore than we were at this time.

On the 9th in the morning, observing the water much discoloured, we sounded, and had thirty-five fathoms over a sandy bottom; soon after, we saw, from the mast-head, a small sandy island, bearing south-west by west: at noon we were within five miles of it, and observed several shoals breaking to the northward and southward of it, with some dry patches of sand. These shoals have been taken by some for the Little Pater-Nosters, but are called by the Dutch, the Triangles; they lie in latitude 2 deg. 58' south; longitude 117 deg. 53' east: they are so very low, that a ship in the night would be ashore before they could be perceived; there are good soundings at some distance to the eastward of them.


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