Uncharted Territory


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On the 15th, at six in the morning, we bore away for the south point of the larger island, at which time we discovered another high island, bearing N. 3/4 W., the south island, being on the same rhomb line, and the south point of the island ahead, W. by N. At nine, we were abreast, and within a mile of the middle island, but Captain Gore, finding that a boat could not land without some danger from the great surf that broke on the shore, kept on his course to the westward. At noon, our latitude, by observation, was 24° 50', longitude 140° 56' E.
This island is about five miles long, in a N.N.E., and S.S.W. direction. The south point is a high barren hill, flattish at the top, and, when seen from the W.S.W., presents an evident volcanic crater. The earth, rock, or sand, for it was not easy to distinguish of which its surface was composed, exhibited various colours, and a considerable part we conjectured to be sulphur, both from its appearance to the eye, and the strong sulphurous smell which we perceived as we approached the point. Some of the officers on board the Resolution, which passed nearer the land, thought they saw steams rising from the top of the hill. From these circumstances,

Captain Gore gave it the name of Sulphur Island. A low, narrow neck of land connects this hill with the south end of the island, which spreads out into a circumference of three or four leagues, and is of a moderate height. The part near the isthmus has some bushes on it, and has a green appearance, but those to the N.E. are very barren, and full of large detached rocks, many of which were exceedingly white. Very dangerous breakers extend two miles and a half to the east, and two miles to the west, off the middle part of the island, on which the sea broke with great violence.
The north and south islands appeared to us as single mountains of a considerable height; the former peaked, and of a conical shape; the latter more square and flat at the top. Sulphur Island we place in latitude 24° 48', longitude 141° 12'. The north island in latitude 25° 14', longitude 141° 10'. The south island in latitude 24° 22', and longitude 141° 26'. The variation observed was 3° 30' E.