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An Account of the Voyages undertaken by the order of His Present Majesty, for making Discoveries in the Southern Hemisphere, and successively performed by Commodore Byron, Captain Wallis, Captain Carteret, and Captain Cook, in the Dolphin, the Swallow, and the Endeavour: Drawn from the Journals which were kept by the several Commanders, and from the Papers of Joseph Banks, Esq. [Vol. II]

Chap. V

Chap. V.

Range from the Bay of Islands, round North-Cope to Queen Charlotte's Sound; and a Description of that Part of the Coast.

On Thursday the 7th of December, at noon, Cape Bret bore S. S. E. ½ E. distant ten miles, and our latitude, by observation, was 34° 59′ S. Soon after we made several observations of the sun and moon, the result of which made our longitude 185° 36′ W. The wind being against us, we had made but little way. In the afternoon we stood in-shore, and setched close under the Cavalles, from which islands the main trends W. by N. several canoes put off and followed us, but a light breeze springing up, I did not choose to wait for them. I kept standing to the W. N. W. and N. W. till the next morning ten o'clock, when I tacked and stood in for the shore, from which we were about five leagues distant. At noon, the westermost land in fight bore W. by S. and was about four leagues distant. In the afternoon, we had a gentle breeze to the west, page 189 which in the evening came to the south, and continuing so all night, by day-light brought us pretty well in with the land, seven leagues to the westward of the Cavalles, where we found a deep bay running in S.W. by W. and W. S. W. the bottom of which we could but just see, and there the land appeared to be low and level. To this bay, which I called Doubtless Bay, the entrance is formed by two points, which lie W.N. W. and E. S. E and are five miles distant from each other. The wind not permitting us to look in here, we steered for the westermost land in fight, which bore from us W. N. W. about three leagues, but before we got the length of it, it fell calm.

While we lay becalmed, several canoes came off to us, but the people having heard of our guns, it was not without great difficulty that they were persuaded to come under our stern: after having bought some of their cloaths, as well as their fish, we began to make inquiries concerning their country, and learned, by the help of Tupia, that, at the distance of three days rowing in their canoes, at a place called Moorewhennua, the land would take a short turn to the southward, and from thence extend more to the west. This place we concluded to be the land discovered by Tasman, which he called Cape Maria van Diemen, and finding these people so intelligent, we inquired farther, if they knew of any country besides their own? They answered, that they never had visited any other, but that their ancestors had told them, that to the N. W. by N. or N. N. W. there was a country of great extent, called Ulimaroa, to which some people had sailed in a very large canoe; that only part of them returned, and reported, that, after a passage of a month, they had seen a country where the people eat hogs. Tupia then inquired whether these adventurers brought any hogs with them when they returned? they said, No. Then, replied Tupia, your story is certainly false, for it cannot be believed that men who came back from an expedition without hogs, had ever visited a country where hogs were to be procured. It is however remarkable, notwithstanding the shrewdness of Tupia's objection, that when they mentioned page 190 hogs, it was not by description but by name, calling them Booah, the name which is given them in the South-Sea islands; but if the animal had been wholly unknown to them, and they had had no communication with people to whom it was known, they could not possibly have been acquainted with the name.

About ten o'clock at night, a breeze sprung up at W. N. W. with which we stood off north; and at noon the next day, the Cavalles bore S. E. by E. distant eight leagues; the entrance of Doubtless Bay S. by W. distant three leagues; and the north-west extremity of the land in sight, which we judged to be the main, bore N. W. by W. our latitude by observation was 34° 44′ S., In the evening, we found the variation to be 12° 41′ E. by the azimuth, and 12° 40′ by the amplitude.

Early in the morning, we stood in with the land, seven leagues to the westward of Doubtless Bay, the bottom of which is not far distant from the bottom of another large bay, which the shore forms at this place, being separated only by a low neck of land, which juts out into a peninsula that I have called Knuckle Point. About the middle of this bay, which we called Sandy Bay, is a high mountain, standing upon a distant shore, to which I gave the name of Mount Camei. The latitude here is 34° 51′ S. and longitude in 186° 50′. We had twenty-four and twenty-five′ fathom water, with a good bottom; but there seems to be nothing in this bay that can induce a ship to put into it; for the land about it is utterly barren and desolate, and, except Mount Camel, the situation is low: the soil appears to be nothing but white sand, thrown up in low irregular hills and narrow ridges, lying parallel with the shore. But barren and desolate as this place is, it is not without inhabitants: we saw one village on the west side of Mount Camel, and another on the east side; we saw also five canoes full of people, who pulled after the ship, but could not come up with us. At nine o'clock, we tacked and stood to the northward; and at noon the Cavalles bore S. E. by E. distant thirteen leagues; the north extremity of the land in sight making like an island, bore N. W. ½ N. page 191 distant nine leagues, and Mount Camel bore S. W. by S. distance six leagues.

The wind being contrary, we kept plying northward till five o'clock in the evening of the 12th, when having made very little way, we tacked and stood to the north-east; being two leagues to the northward of Mount Camel, and about a mile and an half from the shore, in which situation we had two and-twenty fathoms water.

At ten it began to blow and rain, which brought us under double-reefed top-sails; at twelve we tacked, and stood to the westward till seven the next morning, when we tacked and stood again to the N. E. being about a mile to the windward of the place where we tacked last night. Soon after it blew very hard at N. N. W. with heavy squalls and much rain, which brought us under our courses, and split the main-top-fail, so that we were obliged to unbend it, and bend another. At ten it became more moderate, and we set the top-sails double reesed. At noon, having strong gales and heavy weather, we tacked and stood to the westward, and had no land in sight for the first time since we had been upon this coast.

We had now strong gales at W. and W. S. W. and at half an hour past three we tacked and stood to the northward. Soon after a small island, lying off Knuckle Point, bore S. ½ W. distant half a league. In the evening, having split the fore and mizen top-sails, we brought the ship under her courses; and at midnight we wore, and stood to the southward till five in the morning, when we tacked and stood to the N. W. and saw land bearing south, at the distance of eight or nine leagues; by this we discovered that we had fallen much to the leeward since yesterday morning. At noon, our latitude by observation was 34° 6 S. and the same land which we had seen before to the N. W. now bore S. W. and appeared to be the northern extremity of the country. We had a large swell rolling in from the westward, and therefore concluded that we were not covered by any land in that quarter. At eight in the evening we tacked and stood to the westward, with as much sail as we could bear; and at noon the next day we were in latitude 134° 10′, longitude page 192 185° 45′ W. and by estimation about seventeen leagues from the land, notwithstanding our utmost endeavours to keep in with it.

On the 16th, at six in the morning, we saw land from the mast-head, bearing S. S. W. and at noon it bore S. by W. distant fourteen leagues. While we were standing in for the shore, we sounded several times, but had no ground with ninety fathoms. At eight we tacked in a hundred and eight fathoms, at about three or four miles from the shore, which was the same point of land that we had to N. W. before we were blown off. At noon it bore S. W. distant about three miles: Mount Camel bore S. by E. distant about eleven leagues, and the westermost land in sight bore S. 75 W. the latitude by observation was 34° 20′ S. At four o'clock we tacked and stood in shore, in doing which we met with a strong rippling, and the ship fell fast to leeward, which we imputed to a current setting east. At eight we tacked and stood off till eight the next morning, when we tacked and stood in, being about ten leagues from the land. At noon, the point of land which we were near the day before, bore S. S. W. distant five leagues. The wind still continued at west; and at seven o'clock we tacked in thirty-five fathoms, when the point of land which has been mentioned before bore N. W. by N. distant four or five miles; so that we had not gained one inch to windward the last twenty-four hours, which confirmed our opinion that there was a current to the eastward. The point of land I called North Cape, it being the northern extremity of this country. It lies in latitude 34° 22′ S. longitude 186° 55′ W. and thirty-one leagues distant from Cape Bret, in the direction of N. 63 W. It forms the north point of Sandy Bay, and is a peninsula jetting out N. E. about two miles, and terminating in a bluff head that is flat at the top. The isthmus which joins this head to the main land is very low, and for that reason the land of the Cape, from several situations, has the appearance of an island. It is still more remarkable when it is seen from the southward, by the appearance of a high round island at the S. E. point of the Cape; but this is also a deception; for what appears to be an island is page 193 a round hill, joined to the Cape by a low narrow neck of land. Upon the Cape we saw a Hippah, or village, and a few inhabitants; and en the south-east side of it there appears to be anchorage, and good shelter from the south-west and north-west winds.

We continued to stand off and on, making N. W. till noon on the 21st, when North Cape bore S. 39 E. distant thirty-eight leagues. Our situation varied only a few leagues till the 23d, when, about seven o'clock in the evening, we saw land from the mast-head bearing S. ½ E. At eleven the next morning we saw it again, bearing S. S. E. at the distance of eight leagues. We now flood to the S. W. and at four o'clock the land bore S. E. by S. distant four leagues, and proved to be a small island, with other islands or rocks still smaller, lying off the south-west end of it, and another lying off the north-east end, which were discovered by Tasman, and called the Three Kings. The principal island lies in latitude 34° 12′ S. longitude 187° 48′ W. and distant fourteen or fifteen leagues from North Cape, in the direction of W. 14 N. At midnight we tacked, and stood to the N. E. till six the next morning, which was Christmas-day, when we tacked and stood to the southward. At noon, the Three Kings bore E. 8 N dillant five or six leagues. The variation this morning by the azimuth was 11° 25′ E.

On the 26th, we stood to the southward close upon a wind, and at noon were in latitude 35° 10′ S. longitude 180° 20′ W. the Three Kings bearing N. 26 W. distant twenty-two leagues. In this situation we had no land in sight; and yet, by observation, we were in the latitude of the Bay of Islands, and by my reckoning but twenty leagues to the westward of North Cape; from whence it appears, that the northern part of this island is very narrow; for otherwise we must have seen some part of the west side of it. We stood to the southward till twelve at night, and then tacked and stood to the northward.

At four o'clock in the morning the wind freshened, and at nine blew a storm, so that we were obliged to bring the ship to under her main-sail. Our course made good between noon this day and yesterday page 194 was S. S. W. ½ W. distance eleven miles. The Three Kings bore N. 27 E. distant seventy-seven miles. The gale continued all this day, and till two the next morning, when it fell, and began to veer to the southward and S. W. where it fixed about four, when we made sail, and steered east in for the land, under the foresail and main-sail; but the wind then rising, and by eight o'clock being increased to a hurricane, with a prodigious sea, we were obliged to take in the mainsail; we then wore the ship, and brought her to with her head to the north-west. At noon the gale was somewhat abated, but we had still heavy squalls. Our course made good this day was north, a little easterly, twenty-nine miles; latitude by account 34° 50′S. longitude 188° 27′ W. the Three Kings bore N. 41 E. distant fifty-two miles. At seven o'clock in the evening, the wind being at S. W. and S. W. by W. with hard squalls, we wore and lay on the other tack, and at six the next morning spread more sail. Our course and distance since yesterday was E. by N. twenty-nine miles. In the afternoon we had hard squalls at S. W. and at eight in the evening wore and stood to the N. W. till five the next morning, and then wore and stood to the S. E. At six we saw the land bearing N. E. distant about six leagues, which we judged to be Cape Maria Van Diemen, and which corresponded with the account that had been given of it by the Indians. And on the next day, at noon, Cape Maria Van Diemen bore N. E. by N. distant about five leagues. At seven in the evening, we tacked and stood to the westward, with a moderate breeze at S. W. by S. and S. W. Mount Camel then bore N. 83 E. and the northermost land, or Cape Maria Van Diemen, N. by W. We were now distant from the nearest land about three leagues, where we had something more than forty fathoms water; and it must be remarked, that Mount Camel, which when seen on the other side did not seem to be more than one mile from the sea, seemed to be but little more when seen from this side; which is a demonstration that the land here cannot be more than two or three miles broad, or from sea to sea.

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At six o'clock in the morning of January the 1st, 1970, being New-year's-day, we tacked and stood to the eastward, the Three Kings bearing N. W. by N. At noon we tacked again, and stood to the westward, being in latitude 34° 37′S. the Three Kings bearing N. W. by N. at the distance of ten or eleven leagues, and Cape Maria Van Diemen N. 31 E. distant about four leagues and an half; in this situation we had fifty-four fathoms water.

During this part of our navigation two particulars are very remarkable; in latitude 35° S. and in the midst of summer, I met with a gale of wind, which for its strength and continuance was such as I had scarcely ever been in before, and we were three weeks in getting ten leagues to the westward, and five weeks in getting fifty leagues; for at this time it was so long since we passed Cape Bret. During the gale, we were happily at a great distance from the land, otherwise it is highly probable, that we should neve have returned to relate our adventures.

At five o'clock in the evening, having a fresh breeze to the westward, we tacked and stood to southward: at this time North Cape bore E. ¾ N. and just open of a point that lies three leagues W. by N. from it.

The Cape, as I have observed before, is the northermost extremity of this country, and the eastermost, point of a peninsula, which runs out N. W. and N. W. by N. seventeen or eighteen leagues, and of which Cape Maria Van Diemen is the westermost point. Cape Maria lies in latitude 34° 30′ S. longitude 187° 18′ W. and from this point the land trends away S. E. by S. and S. E. beyond Mount Camel, and is every where a barren shore, consisting of banks of white sand.

On the 2d, at noon, we were in latitude 35° 17′ S and Cape Maria bore N. distant about sixteen leagues, as near as we could guess; for we had no land in sight, and did not dare to go nearer, as a fresh gale blew right on shore, with a rolling sea. The wind continued at W. S. W. with frequent squalls. In the evening we shortened sail, and at midnight tacked, and made a trip to the N. W. till two in the morning, when we wore page 196 and stood to the southward. At break of day we made sail, and edged away, in order to make land: and at ten o'clock we saw it, bearing N. W. It appeared to be high, and at noon extended from N. to E. N. E. distant by estimation eight or ten leagues. Cape Maria then bore N. 2° 30′ W. distant thirty-three leagues: our latitude by observation was 36° 2′ S. About seven o'clock in the evening we were within six leagues of it; but having a fresh gale upon it, with a rolling sea, we hauled our wind to the S. E. and kept on that course close upon the wind all night, founding several times, but having no ground with one hundred and ten fathoms.

At eight o'clock the next morning we were about five leagues from the land, and off a place which lies in latitude 36° 25′, and had the appearance of a bay or inlet. It bore east; and in order to see more of it, we kept on our course till eleven o'clock, when we were not more than three leagues from it, and then discovered that it was neither inlet nor bay, but a tract of low land, bounded by higher lands on each side, which produced the deception. At this time we tacked, and stood to the N. W. and at noon the land was not distant more than three or four leagues. We were now in latitude 36° 31′ S. longitude 185° 50′ W. Cape Maria bore N. 25 W. distant forty-four leagues and an half; so that the coast must be almost straight in the direction of S. S. E. ¾ E. and N. N. W. ¾ W. nearly. In about latitude 35° 45 is some high land adjoining to the sea; to the southward of which the more is also high, and has the most desolate and inhospitable appearance that can be imagined. Nothing is to be seen but hills of sand, on which there is scarcely a blade of verdure; and a vast sea, impelled by the westerly winds, breaking upon it in a dreadful surf, renders it not only forlorn but frightful; complicating the idea of danger with desolation, and impressing the mind at once with a sense of misery and death. From this place I steered to the northward, resolving never more to come within the same distance of the coast, except the wind mould be very favourable indeed. I stood under a fresh sail all the day, hoping to get an offing by page 197 the next noon, and we made good a course of an hundred and two miles N. 38 W. Our latitude by observation was 35° 10′ S. and Cape Maria bore N. 10 E. distance forty-one miles. In the night, the wird shisted from S. W. by S. to S. and blew fresh. Our course to the noon of the 5th was N. 75 W. distance eight miles.

At day-break, on the 6th, we saw land, which we took to be Cape Maria, bearing N. N. F. distant eight or nine leagues. And on the 7th, in the afternoon, the land bore east; and some time after we discovered a turtle upon the water, but, being awake, it dived instantly, so that we could not take it. At noon the high land, which has just been mentioned, extended from N. to E. at the distance of five or six leagues; and in two places, a flat gave it the appearance of a bay or inlet. The course that we made good the last four-and-twenty hours was S. 33 E. fifty-three miles, Cape Maria bearing N. 25 W. distant thirty leagues.

We sailed within sight of land all this day, with gentle gales between the N. E. and N. W. and by the next noon had sailed sixty-nine miles, in the direction of S. 37 E. our latitude by observation was 36° 39′ S. The land which on the 4th we had taken for a bay, now bore N. E. by N. distant five leagues and an half, and Cape Maria N. 29 W. forty-seven-leagues.

On the 9th, we continued a south-east course till eight o'clock in the evening, having run seven leagues since noon, with the wind at N. N. E. and N. and being within three or four leagues of the land, which appeared to be low and sandy. I then steered S. E. by S. in a direction parallel with the coast, having from forty-eight to thirty-four fathoms water, with a black sandy bottom. At day-break, the next morning, we found ourselves between two and three leagues from the land, which began to have a better appearance, rising in gentle slopes, and being covered with trees and herbage. We saw a smoke and a few houses, but it appeared to be but thinly inhabited. At seven o'clock we steered S. by E. and afterwards S. page 198 by W. the land lying in that direction. At nine, we were a-breast of a point which rises with an easy ascent from the sea to a considerable height; this point, which lies in latitude 37° 43′, I named Woody Head. About eleven miles from this head, in the direction of S. W. ½ W. lies a very small island, upon which we saw a great number of gannets, and which we therefore called Gannet Island. At noon, a high craggy point bore E. N. E. distant about a league and a half, to which I gave the name of Albetress Point; it lies in latitude 38° 4′ S. longitude 184° 42′ W. and is distant seven leagues in the direction of S. 17 W. from Woody Head. On the north side of this point the shore forms a bay, in which there appears to be anchorage and shelter for shipping. Our course and distance for the last twenty-four hours was S. 37 E. sixty-nine miles; and at noon this day Cape Maria bore N. 30 W. distant eighty-two leagues. Between twelve and one, the wind shifted at once from N. N. E. to S. S. W. with which we stood to the westward till four o'clock in the afternoon, and then tacked, and stood again in shore till seven, when we tacked again and stood to the westward, having but little wind. At this time Albetross Point bore N. E. distant near two leagues, and the southermost land in sight bore S. S. W. ½ W. being a very high mountain, and in appearance greatly resembling the Peak of Teneriffe. In this situation we had thirty fathoms water, and having but little wind all night, we tacked about four in the morning, and stood in for the shore. Soon after it fell calm, and, being in forty-two fathoms water, the people caught a few sea-bream. At eleven a light breeze sprung up from the west, and we made sail to the southward. We continued to steer S. by W. and S. S. W. along the shore, at the distance of abour sour leagues, with gentle breezes from between N. W. and N. N. E. At seven in the evening, we saw the top of the Peak to the southward, above the clouds which concealed it below; and at this time the southermost land in sight bore S. by W. the variation, by several azimuths, which were taken both in the morning and the evening, appeared to be 14° 15′ easterly.

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At noon, on the 12th, we were distant about three leagues from the shore which lies under the Peak, but the Peak itself was wholly concealed by clouds; we judged it to bear about S. S. E. and some very remarkable, peaked islands, which lay under the more, bore E. S. E. distant three or four leagues. At seven in the evening we sounded, and had forty-two fathoms, being distant from the shore between two and three leagues; we judged the Peak to bear east, and after it was dark we saw fires upon the shore.

At five o'clock in the morning we saw, for a few minutes, the summit of the Peak, towering above the clouds, and covered with snow; it now bore N. E. It lies in latitude 39° 16′S. longitude 185° 15′ W. and I named it Mount Egmont, in honour of the Earl; it seems to have a large base, and to rise with a gradual ascent. It lies near the sea, and is surrounded by a flat country of a pleasant appearance, being cloathed with verdure and wood, which renders it the more conspicuous, and the shore under it forms a large cape, which I have named Cape Egmont. It lies S. S. W. W. ½ twenty-seven leagues distant from Albetross Point, and on the north side of it are two small islands, which lie near a remarkable point on the main, that rises to a considerable height in the form of a sugar-loaf. To the southward of the Cape, the land trends away S. E. by E. and S. S. E. and seems to be every where a bold shore. At noon Cape Egmont bore about N. E. and in this direction, at about four leagues from the shore, we had forty fathoms of water. The wind, during the rest of the day, was from W. to N. W. by W. and we continued to steer along the shore S. S. E. and S. E. by E. keeping at the distance of between two and three leagues. At half an hour after seven we had another transient view of Mount Egmont, which bore N. 17 W. distant about ten leagues.

At five the next morning we steered S. E. by S, the coast inclining more southerly; and in about half an hour we saw land bearing S. W. by S. for which we hauled up. At noon the north-west extremity of the land in sight bore S. 63 W. and some high land, which had the appearance of an island lying under the page 200 main, bore S. S. E. distant five leagues. We were now in a bay, the bottom of which bearing south we could not see, though it was clear in that quarter. Our latitude by observation was 40° 27′ S. longitude 184° 39′ W. At eight in the evening, we were within two leagues of the land which we had discovered in the morning, having run ten leagues since noon: the land which then bore S. 63 W. now bore N. 59 W. at the distance of seven or eight leagues, and had the appearance of an island. Between this land and Cape Egmont lies the bay, the west side of which was our situation at this time, and the land here is of a considerable height, and diversified by hill and valley.