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11-Oct-2019 01:46

To the other gentlemen who have contributed Appendices to this work--George Busk, Esquire F. While nearly becalmed, several opportunities were afforded for dredging from the ship, and many new and curious marine animals were procured. Today we had the wind from East-South-East, gradually freshening to a moderate gale with the sea getting up, and in the evening it was judged expedient to bear up and run for an anchorage under the largest Keppel's Isle, where we brought up in five and a half fathoms, sand.

N., I beg to express my thanks for the liberal manner in which they carried out their Lordships' intentions. Soon after noon we anchored in Port Molle, and next day the Asp was stripped and hoisted inboard. Since we left Port Molle, the winds have been variable from the northward and eastward, with calms, and the weather quite unsettled with occasional rain.

A species of pine, Araucaria cunninghami, is found here in small quantities, but more plentifully on the adjacent Pine Islets, where it appears to constitute the only arboreal vegetation.

Of marine species, 41 were added to the collection; the most important in a non-zoological point of view is a kind of rock oyster of delicious flavour and large size. For the next two days light northerly winds prevailed, after which we had the wind from about East-South-East. We consequently anchored under Number 2 of the Percy Isles, to leeward of its south-west point, in 10 fathoms, mud, between it and the Pine Islets of the chart. At the head of this hollow a deeply worn dried up watercourse indicated the periodical abundance of fresh water; and by tracing it up about a mile further, I found many large pools among the rocks containing a sufficient supply for the ship, but unavailable to us in consequence of the difficulty in getting at it. On the western side of the island, about a mile from the anchorage, the sea communicates, by a narrow entrance, with a large basin partially blocked up with mangroves, among which a creek filled at high-water, runs up for a mile. Singularly enough, the Asp's dinghy was picked up uninjured on one of the sandy beaches of this island, and on December 7th we left the anchorage with a strong south-easterly wind, and anchored for the night under one of Sir James Smith's group. At night the sight of the burning scrub was very fine when viewed from a distance, but I did not forget that I had one day been much closer to it than was pleasant--in fact, it was only by first soaking my clothes in a pool among the rocks, emptying the contents of my powder-flask to prevent the risk of being blown up, and then making a desperate rush through a belt of burning scrub, that I succeeded in reaching a place of safety.

Of marine species, 41 were added to the collection; the most important in a non-zoological point of view is a kind of rock oyster of delicious flavour and large size. For the next two days light northerly winds prevailed, after which we had the wind from about East-South-East. We consequently anchored under Number 2 of the Percy Isles, to leeward of its south-west point, in 10 fathoms, mud, between it and the Pine Islets of the chart.

At the head of this hollow a deeply worn dried up watercourse indicated the periodical abundance of fresh water; and by tracing it up about a mile further, I found many large pools among the rocks containing a sufficient supply for the ship, but unavailable to us in consequence of the difficulty in getting at it.

On the western side of the island, about a mile from the anchorage, the sea communicates, by a narrow entrance, with a large basin partially blocked up with mangroves, among which a creek filled at high-water, runs up for a mile.

Singularly enough, the Asp's dinghy was picked up uninjured on one of the sandy beaches of this island, and on December 7th we left the anchorage with a strong south-easterly wind, and anchored for the night under one of Sir James Smith's group.

At night the sight of the burning scrub was very fine when viewed from a distance, but I did not forget that I had one day been much closer to it than was pleasant--in fact, it was only by first soaking my clothes in a pool among the rocks, emptying the contents of my powder-flask to prevent the risk of being blown up, and then making a desperate rush through a belt of burning scrub, that I succeeded in reaching a place of safety.

While in Whitsunday Passage, a small bark canoe with two natives came off to within a quarter of a mile of the ship, shouting loudly and making gestures to attract attention, but we did not stop; in fact, every moment now was precious, as we were upon reduced allowance of water.