The accompanying notice having been received from Captain the Count Du Bouzet, of the French corvette La Brillante, communicating the discovery of two coral reefs, in the situations therein described, His Excellency the Governor is pleased to direct its publication, for general information. His Excellency desires at the same time to acknowledge to Captain the Count Du Bouzet his attention in furnishing the Government with this information: -(Translation.)
On the 28th August, 1847, the French corvette La Brillante, having left Anatam on the 26th with a gale of wind from the east, which changed on the next day to the south, after having veered round to the north-east and north-west, was, at half-past five in the morning, by reckoning, in latitude 23 ° 9 ' 30 " south, and longitude 167 ° 51 ' east (from Paris) ; the day was just dawning, the weather thick, with a fresh breeze from the S.S.W., but the sea still very high ; the vessel was on the port tack, under plain sail, and making three knots ; the look-out signalled a shoal ahead, very near the ship. The helm having been put up, she fell off immediately, and cleared the shoal to the E.N.E., at the distance of little more than a cable's length ; the commander gave orders to wear, and to heave to on the other tack, it was then only that bottom could be found ; two soundings were obtained, of twenty and twenty-three fathoms, on a rocky bottom, no other indication being visible on the sounding lead than the removing of the arming. Immediately after, soundings could not be obtained with fifty fathoms, the corvette being then about three cables lengths to the E. ¼ S.E. of the shoal. The sea still running high, the commander did not send a boat to examine it, but having passed so near, it could be perceived, from the colour of the sea, which was quite yellow, that there was very little water upon it ; at most, two or three metres, (from 6.5 to 9.75 feet). The shoal appears to be a mass of coral, its form is round, and it is about 40 metres wide. It is the more dangerous, as the sea did not break upon it, although there was a heavy swell. The weather cleared in the forenoon, so that good observations for time could be taken, and an excellent latitude at noon. With the aid of these observations, the position of the danger was fixed (approximately) to be in 23 ° 13 ' 52 " of south latitude, and 167 ° 35 ' 18 " east, of the meridian of Paris ; and, consequently, a considerable distance from the Durand Reef, as marked on the charts.
The commander of the corvette, believing it to be unknown, thought himself justified in calling it La Brillante's Shoal. If, instead of coming upon it at daybreak, the vessel had encountered it during the night, especially as the weather was so dark, it would have been almost impossible to avoid it. It is to be regretted that the weather did not admit of this danger being examined more minutely.
Coral Reef discovered to the north-east of the Wallis Isles, by an American Whaler. The ship Lalla Rookh, of New Bedford, Captain Reynard Ower, discovered a reef of coral forty miles to the north-east of the Wallis Isles, ten fathoms of water were found on it. The ship was going at the rate of three knots, and was two hours in passing over the bank, running W. ¼ S.W. The captain supposed that the reef extended about two miles on each side of his course. In many parts there appeared to be less water. The latitude of this reef is 18 ° 2 ' south, and its longitude 175 ° 38 ' west of the meridian of Greenwich. This information was given by Captain Reynard Ower, of New Bedford, during his stay at the Wallis Isles.
Tuesday's Government Gazette.
SG & SGTL ; Vol 4 ; Page 277.
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