Skirmishes and the way home

Persistent attempts to kidnap Wik men provoked aggressive responses.

On 8 May 1623, Carstensz' crew skirmished with two hundred Aborigines at the mouth of a river near Cape Duyfken and landed at the Pennefather River (Carstensz' Carpentier River). Pieter de Carpentier was Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies at the time. 

Carstensz' landings, and/or those of Jansz before him or subsequent encounters with Tasman or Gonzal and van Aaschens.

At this point, the two ships separated.

Carstensz retraced their outward route and returned to Ambon in the Pera, while the less seaworthy Arnhem cut across the Gulf of Carpentaria, sighting the east coast of Arnhem Land.

 By 14 May the Pera was near the mouth of the Jardine River, south-west of Cape York. Carstensz might have discovered the passage between Cape York and New Guinea, but adverse winds and dangerous shallows prevented a close investigation of the waterway.

Carstensz reached Amboyna on 8 June 1623 Amboyna and promptly disappears from sight. 

There are no recorded details of his early life or subsequent career, and the Dutch dictionary of biography does not give details of his birth and death. It seems safe to assume that he was, at least, a competent navigator. His report on the country delivered a summary that effectively discouraged further exploration, although Tasman undertook a more detailed charting of the Gulf, Arnhem Land and the north Australian coast in 1644.

© Ian Hughes 2017