Mathew Flinders, in the Investigator, sailed along exploring the southern coast and the Bay of Isles. He followed the coast, mapping and naming places, such as Lucky Bay, Thistle Cove, as well as inland peaks, such as the Barrens. Captain Mathew Flinders wrote the following in his journal, which was published in 1814:
‘Friday, January 8th, “Before sunset, the western isle of the D’Entrecasteaux Archipel de la Recherche was in sight to the eastward…The French Admiral had mostly skirted round the archipelago, a sufficient reason for me to attempt passing through the middle.”’
Mathew Flinders’ journals provide dates and other relevant particulars.
Mathew Flinders entry in Log – Saturday, January 9th, 1802:
“Seeing no probability of reaching a space of clear water in which to stand off and on during the night, and no prospect of shelter under any of the islands, I found myself under the necessity of adopting a hazardous measure, and with the concurrence of the Masters opinion we steered directly before the wind for the main coast where the appearance of some breaches, behind other islands, gave hope of finding anchorage.
At seven in the evening we entered a small sandy bay, and finding it sheltered everywhere except to the south-westward, in which direction there were many islands and rocks in the offing to break off the sea, the anchor was dropped in seven fathoms, sandy bottom.
The Master sounded round the ship, but nothing was found to injure the cables; and except the water being shallow in the north-west corner of the bay, there was no danger to be apprehended, unless from strong south –west winds. The critical circumstances under which this place was discovered induced me to give it the name of Lucky Bay.”
Esperance Yesterday and Today John Rintoul.
Mathew Flinders named Thistle Cove after John Thistle, who was sent to check the bay for anchorage and also found fresh water there.