AT DAWN ON the 16th. [5 February] we steered North to stand in for the land during the day. The weather was fine and the sea calm. but the swell was so great that we were obliged to keep our topsails reefed, for the masts strained badly with the ship's heavy and continuous rolling.
At about six o'clock the look-out men reported several islets to East by North-East. We soon sighted them from down below, and at eight o'clock recognised them plainly as the same ones that we had already seen and whose position we had determined. During the morning we continued North to make land at the Postillon islet, after which point I must do everything possible in order not to lose sight of the continent again until I have doubled the islands of St. Peter and St. Francis on the northward side.
At midday we observed the latitude of 33° 36' 33" and the longitude by the chronometer put us in 131° 36' 13".
The fine weather continued in the afternoon and at sunset the breeze freshened considerably. At six o'clock the islets seen that morning lay from North-East to East-North-East, a fairly long way off. We proceeded North until eight o'clock, when we headed West of South. We remained on this tack until the following morning, making little sail.
The weather was fine throughout [the night] and the winds varied from South-East to South South-East, moderating shortly after the moon had risen.
At eight o'clock we were in 40 fathoms and we remained in that depth until dawn, when the lead showed 45.
One of the islets that we had in view for almost the whole day is easily recognised by its shape. From a distance of 8 or 10 leagues it looks like a haystook, but when one draws nearer, one can see some lower-lying land adjoining it which has the appearance of a saddle. The other islets are much lower and cannot be sighted until the transformation from haystook to saddle has taken place. Those lying further North-East are not visible until one has doubled the islet just mentioned.