But not thinking I had any time to spare to visit this fine island, I continued to range the coast to its western extremity, and then steered N.N.W, from the S.E. end of Mallicollo, which, at half past six o'clock next morning, bore N. 14° E., distant seven or eight leagues, and Three-Hills Island S. 82° E. Soon after, we saw the islands Apee, Paom, and Ambrym.
The island Threehills lies south four leagues from the coast of Apee, and S.E. 1/2 S., distant seventeen leagues from Port Sandwich; to this, and what hath been already said of it, I shall only add, that W. by N., five miles from the west point, is a reef of rocks on which the sea continually breaks. Nine leagues, in the direction of south, from Threehills, lies Sandwich Island.
At sun-rise we discovered several more islands, extending from the S.E. point of Apee to the south as far as S.E. by S. The nearest to us we reached by ten o'clock, and not being able to weather it, we tacked a mile from its shore in fourteen fathoms water. This island is about four leagues in circuit, is remarkable by having three high peaked hills upon it, by which it has obtained that name.
The island of Apee is not less than twenty leagues in circuit; its longest direction is about eight leagues N.W. and S.E.; it is of considerable height; and hath a hilly surface diversified with woods and lawns, the west and south parts especially; for the others we did not see.
At this time the Resolution was not far from the Isle of Ambrym, the Isle of Paoom, and the Isle of Apee. On the next morning, several more islands were discovered, lying off the south-east point of Apee, and constituting a group, which Captain Cook called Shepherd's isles, in honour of his learned and valuable friend, Dr. Shepherd, Plumian professor of Astronomy at Cambridge.
Before this could be accomplished, it fell calm, and we were left to the mercy of the current, close to the isles, where we could find no soundings with a line of an hundred and eighty fathoms. We had now land or islands in every direction, and were not able to count the number which lay round us. The mountain on Paoon was seen over the east end of Apee, bearing N.N.W. at eight o'clock.
In the p.m. the wind veering more to the north, we resumed our course to the east; and having weathered Threehills, stood for the group of small isles which lie off the S.E. point of Apee. These I called Shepherd's Isles, in honour of my worthy friend Dr Shepherd, Plumian professor of astronomy at Cambridge.
It is different from any we had before met with, and bears no affinity to that of Mallicollo; so that, it should seem, the people of these islands are a distinct nation of themselves. Mallicollo, Apee, etc. were names entirely unknown to them; they even knew nothing of Sandwich Island, which is much nearer.
Its limits were determined by several bearings; but the lines of the shore were traced out by guess, except the N.E. part where there is anchorage half a mile from the land. Aurora, Whitsuntide, Ambrym, Paoom, and its neighbour Apee, Threehills, and Sandwich Islands, lie all nearly under the meridian of 167° 29' or 30' E., extending from the latitude of 14° 51' 30", to 17° 53' 30".
At this time, the isle of Ambrym extended from N. 3° E. to N. 65° E. The isle of Paoon from N. 76° E. to S. 88° E.; and the isle of Apee from S. 83° E. to S. 43° E. We stood for this last isle, which we reached by midnight, and then brought-to till day-break on the 24th, when we made sail to the S.E., with a view of plying up to the eastward on the south side of Apee.