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Explorers of the Pacific: European and American Discoveries in Polynesia

Dumont D'Urville's First Voyage

Dumont D'Urville's First Voyage

1826 to 1829

Jules Sébastien César Dumont d'Urville's first voyage on the corvette Astrolabe was also "by order of the king," and his instructions were to explore the principal groups of islands in the Grand Ocean, to which the Coquille had not been able to give sufficient attention, and to augment as much as possible the mass of scientific material acquired by Duperrey in 1822 to 1824.

The Astrolabe sailed from Toulon on April 26, 1826, and proceeded south of the Cape of Good Hope and Australia to arrive at Port Jackson on December 1, 1826. Dumont d'Urville visited the Reverend Samuel Marsden at Parra-page 84matta, and his observations include a sketch of the British colony of New South Wales. He sailed for New Zealand and saw Cape Foulwind on January 11, 1827. He explored Tasman Bay and found the pass between an island in Cook Strait and the northern shore of the South Island. The island has been named d'Urville Island and the pass, French Pass. He worked up the east coast of the North Island and reached the Bay of Islands in March. His published journal contains a great deal about the inhabitants and an entire volume of 792 pages is "devoted to references to New Zealand from all available sources.

The Astrolabe sailed north from New Zealand, sighted the Kermadecs, and reached Eua, Tonga, on April 18, 1827. An attack on a watering party was made by the Tongans, who killed one man. After a stay at the anchorage in Tongatabu, Dumont d'Urville went on to make explorations in the Fiji Archipelago in June. After further exploration in New Britain and New Guinea, the Astrolabe reached Amboina in October. November was spent along the northwest coast of Australia, and on December 16 the ship reached Tasmania, where a stop was made at Hobart Town. A study was made of the colony of Van Diemens Land (Tasmania).

On January 6, 1828, Dumont d'Urville sailed for Vanikoro in the Santa Cruz Islands where he stayed a while to obtain more details concerning the wreck of La Pérouse's ships. On March 17, the Astrolabe sailed to Guam and, later, to Amboina and Batavia. She sailed for the Ile de France on September 2 and stayed there until November 18, when she sailed for the Cape of Good Hope. She sailed again on January 2, 1829, on the homeward trip and dropped anchor at Marseilles on March 25, 1829. The cases of scientific specimens were disembarked for transport to the Museum in Paris.