The Endeavour Journal of Joseph Banks 1768–1771 [Volume One]
1. Wind variable and weather sufficiently troublesome.
2. More moderate but a heavy swell from SW made the ship very troublesome.
3. More moderate but SW swell almost as high as ever which gave great spirits to the no Continent party.
4. Pleasant weather and fair wind so that we ran in towards the land. In the morn 1 or 2 Penguins were about us that swam as fast as the ship saild making a noise something like the shreiking of a goose; the[y] seemd to be like Diomedœa demersa but whether they were or not I cannot be certain.2 In the evening ran along shore but kept so far of that little could be seen; a large smoak was however, which at night shewd itself in an immence fire on the side of a hill which we supposd to be set on fire by the natives; for tho this is the only sign of people we have seen yet I think it must be an indisputable proof that there are inhabitants, tho probably very thinly scatterd over the face of this very large countrey.
5. Thick misty weather, the smoak of last nights fire still in sight. A point of land seen this morn3 which inclind much to the Westward was supposd by the no Continents the end of the land; towards even however it cleard up and we Continents had the pleasure to see more land to the Southward.
6. Very moderate and exceedingly clear. Land seen as far as South so our unbeleivers are almost inclind to think that Continental measures will at last prevail.
2 The noise made by these penguins in the water ‘something like the shreiking of a goose’, seems to identify them as Megadyptes antipodes, the Yellow-eyed Penguin. This breeds at Cape Saunders. Another candidate, the Little Blue Penguin, Eudyptula minor minor, is less likely to call when swimming on the surface, and the noise it makes is not a loud one. Any of the New Zealand crested penguins, which squawk loudly, might have been seen off the Otago coast. It may therefore be safer not to risk identification. The species mentioned by Banks, now known as the Jackass Penguin, Spheniscus demersus, is common on the coast of South Africa, but does not occur in New Zealand waters.
3 There was no ‘point’ seen on this day, in the sense of a cape. Cook says, ‘At 7 oClock the extremes of the land bore from N38°E to West 6° South…. The land appears of a moderate height and not hilly’. The coast of the South Island was turning towards Foveaux Strait.
7. Almost calm so we remaind in the same place nearly all day, to[o] far from the land to see any thing of it at least to depend upon our observations.
8. Little wind and fair, which carried us to the Southward far enough to ascertain that the appearance seen to the Southward in the eve of the 6th was nothing but clouds, tho from its fixd and steady appearance nobody at that time doubted in the least its being land.
9. At the first dawn of day a ledge of rocks were discoverd right to leward and very near us,1 so we had much reason to be thankfull that the wind in the night had been very gentle otherwise we must in all human probability have ran right among them, at least we could have had no chance of escaping them but by hearing them as there was no moon. The land appeard barren and seemd to end in a point2 to which the hills gradualy declind — much to the regret of us Continent mongers who could not help thinking this, a great swell from SW and the broken ground without it a pretty sure mark of some remarkable Cape being here. By noon we were pretty near the land which was uncommonly barren; the few flat places we saw seemingly produc'd little or nothing and the rest was all bare rocks, which were amazingly full of Large Veins and patches of some mineral that shone as if it had been polishd or rather lookd as if they were realy pavd with glass; what it was I could not at all guess but it certainly was some mineral and seemd to argue by its immense abundance a countrey abounding in minerals, where if one may judge from the corresponding latitudes of South America in all human probability something very valuable might be found.3
10. Blew fresh all day but carried us round the Point to the total demolition of our aerial fabrick calld continent.
1 The Traps—so called by Cook.
2 Presumably by this he means South Cape.
3 According to Cook the ship was four or five leagues off the land, and it seems that what raised Banks's excitement was the granite of the Fraser peaks, rising as high as 1400 feet above the south arm of Port Pegasus, and shining in the morning sun. His deduction of ‘a country abounding in minerals’, and his reasoning from South America, were not highly scientific.
12. Blew hard all day: immense quantities of Albatrosses and other sea birds were seen which we had been without for some time.
13. Wind fair but still blew fresh with very unsetled weather. In the evening we saw a harbour, stood in towards it and found it to have all the appearances of a good one but it was too late to stand near.1 The countrey about it was high inland tho not so much so as that seen on the 11th as there was no snow on any part of it. Here were veins in the rocks, very large, filld with a whiteish appearance different from what we saw on the 9th.2 The sides of the hills appeard to be well wooded and the countrey in general as fertile as in so hilly a countrey could be expected, but not the least signs of inhabitants.
14. Stood along shore with a fair breeze and passed 3 or 4 places that had much the appearance of harbours, much to my regret who wishd to examine the mineral appearances from which I had formd great hopes.3 The countrey rose immediately from the sea side in steep hills which however were tolerably coverd with wood; behind these were another ridge of hills coverd in many places with snow, which from its pure whiteness and smoothness in the morn and the many cracks and intervals that appeard among it at night we conjecturd to be newly falln.
2 Probably this refers to the limestone of the district.
3 They passed the entrances to Breaksea Sound, Dagg's Sound and Doubtful Sound. Banks, as we can see, was most anxious to get ashore, and in days to come he was to nourish a little grudge against Cook; contrasting him to his discredit with Flinders. But in Cook's day, he wrote to Robert Brown in 1803, natural history was not the ‘favourite pursuit’ it had since become. ‘Cook might have met with reproof for sacrificing a day's fair wind to the accommodation of the Naturalists. Captain Flinders will meet with thanks and praise….’—Smith, Life of Sir Joseph Banks, pp. 234–5. Cook, however, was responsible for the voyage, and of Doubtful Sound he remarks (pp. 265–6), ‘The Land on each side of the entrance of this harbour riseth almost perpendicular from the Sea to a very considerable height and this was the reason why I did not attempt to go in with the Ship because I saw clearly that no winds could blow there but what was either right in or right out. This is Westerly or Easterly, and it certainly would have been highly imprudent in me to have put into a place where we could not have got out but with a wind that we have lately found does not blow one day in a month: I mention this because there were some on board who wanted me to harbour at any rate without in the least considering either the present or future concequences’. He, rather than Banks, must have our approbation.
16. Much snow on the ridges of the high hills, two were however seen on which was little or none: whatever the cause of it might be I could not guess, they were quite bare of trees or any kind of Vegetables and seemd to consist of a mouldering soft stone of the colour of Brick or light red ocre.2 About noon the countrey near the sea changd much for the better, appearing in broad Valleys clothd with prodigious fine woods out of which came many fine streams of water,3 but notwithstanding the fineness of the countrey there was not the smallest signs of inhabitants, nor indeed have we seen any since we made this land except the fire on the 4th.
17. Passd today by several large flatts which seemd low. The day in general was foggy so that little could be seen.
18. Immense quantities of snow on the hills new falln which by noon was plainly seen to begin to melt. The countrey near the shore was to appearance fertile and pleasant enough.
19. Hazey weather and foul wind put us all out of spirits.
20. Blew fresh all day with much rain and hazey weather; at night however wind came fair.
21. Hazey: the land was wrap'd in a cloak of fog all day Above which the tops of some hills appeard. At night saw a Phænomenon which I have but seldom seen, at sun set the flying clouds were of almost all colours among which was green very conspicuous tho rather faint colourd.
22. Cloudey mistey and calm all day. Once we were very near the shore on which we saw that there was a most dreadfull surf, occasiond by the S and SW swell which has reignd without intermission ever since we have been upon this side of the land.
23. Fine weather and light breezes.
1 Cook gives the noon latitude for this day as 44° 47′, so that they were about off Bligh Sound. There was no ‘considerable’ river here, but the debris could quite easily have drifted down the coast from a number of rivers—e.g. the Awarua—with the southerly current.
2 This must have been the Red Hills range.
3 The fringe of low land widens out between Awarua Point and Cascade Point and does run into the foothills in valleys; there is one considerable river, the Hope, just south of Cascade Point, and it must have been this, and the streams which made Cook give Cascade Point its name, that so impressed Banks.
24. Just turnd the Westernmost point1 and stood into the mouth of the streights intending to anchor in the first harbour we could find when an Easterly wind met us right in the teeth, to our no small dissatisfaction as I beleive there has been no other part of the time since we have left Cape Turnagain the first time when such a wind would have been disagreable.
25. Light breezes but wind still at East. The sea is certainly an excellent school for patience.
26. Light breezes and wind fair to our no small comfort. Afternoon we saw a ripple near an Island2 which had something the appearance of Breakers, but differd from them in the small waves breaking only without any swell or large ones. Our boat sounded upon it but could get no ground; we suppos'd it to be the effect of a strong tide such as we felt in the streights a[s] we passd them. At night came to an anchor in a Bay in some part of which it is probable that Tasman anchord.3
27. Went ashore this morn:4 the countrey hilly but not very high, little or no flats were however to be seen. In the place where we waterd were the remains of two or three Indian houses which clearly had not been inhabited this year at least, but no signs that people had been here since that time. While Dr Solander and self botanizd Tupia and his boy caught almost a boat load of fish by angling in 2 or 3 fathom water.
28. Raind and blew so hard all today that going ashore was scarce practicable, at least when we had so little hopes of success as our yesterdays search had given us in which we found not one new plant.
29. Raind and blew as hard as yesterday. Myself ill with sickness at stomack and most violent headach, a complaint which in some of our people has been succeeded by a fever. During the day many fish were taken in the ship 90 out of the Cabbin windows alone.
2 Stephens Island.
3 This was in Admiralty Bay, off D'Urville Island; but it was nowhere near Tasman's first anchorage, which was in Golden Bay to the west. Rain and haze and the darkness of night left Cook ignorant of the line of the coast between Cape Farewell and Cape Stephens, the northern tip of D'Urville Island, and to the whole wide opening which contains both Golden Bay and Tasman Bay he gave the name of Blind Bay. But Tasman did lie at anchor for four days, 21–25 December 1642, apparently in the shelter formed by Stephens Island, D'Urville Island, and the Rangitoto Islands, which he called Abel Tasmans Reede (roadstead). The Endeavour was not far from this, but was right inside Admiralty Bay.
4 i.e. on D'Urville Island.
After coming down I examind the stones which lay on the beach. They shewd evident signs of mineral tendency being full of Veins but I had not the fortune to discover any ore of metal (at least that I knew to be so) in them. As the place we lay in had no bare rocks in its neighbourhood this was the only method I had of even Conjecturing.page break page break page break page break
Pl. 4. A View of the Endeavour's Watering Place in the Bay of Good Success
Pl. 5. An Indian Town at Terra del Fuego