Historical Records of New Zealand Vol. II.
Journal or Description drawn up by me, Abel Jansz Tasman, of a voyage made from the Town of Batavia, in East India, for the discovery of the unknown south land, in the year of our Lord 1642, the 14th of August. May God Almighty vouchsafe His blessing on this work. Amen.
[Off the coast of New Zealand, December 13, 1642.]
Item the 13th do. Latitude observed, 42° 10′; longitude, 188° 28′; course kept east by north; sailed 36 miles in a south-south-westerly wind with a top-gallant gale. Towards noon we saw a large, high-lying land, bearing south-east of us at about 15 miles distance; we turned our course to the south-east, making straight for this land, fired a gun, and in the afternoon hoisted the white flag, upon which the officers of the “Zeehaen” came on board of us, with whom we resolved to touch at the said land as quickly as at all possible, for such reasons as are more amply set forth in this day's resolution. In the evening we deemed it best, and gave orders accordingly to our steersmen, to stick to the south-east course while the weather keeps quiet, but should the breeze freshen, to steer due east, in order to avoid running on shore, and to preclude accidents as much as in us lies; since we opine that the land should not be touched at from this side, on account of the high open sea running there in huge hollow waves and heavy swells, unless there should happen to be safe land-locked bays on this side. At the expiration of four glasses of the first watch we shaped our course due east. Variation, 7° 30′ N.E.
Item the 14th do. At noon, latitude observed, 42° 10′; longitude, 189° 3′; course kept east; sailed 12 miles. We were about 2 miles off the coast, which showed as a very high double land, but we could not see the summits of the mountains, page 19 owing to thick clouds. We shaped our course to northward along the coast, so near to it that we could constantly see the surf break on the shore. In the afternoon we took soundings at about 2 miles distance from the coast, in 55 fathoms (a sticky sandy soil), after which it fell a calm. Towards evening we saw a low-lying point north-east by north of us, at about 3 miles distance; the greater part of the time we were drifting in a calm towards the said point; in the middle of the afternoon we took soundings in 45 fathoms, a sticky sandy bottom. The whole night we drifted in a calm, the sea running from the west-north-west, so that we got near the land in 28 fathoms, good anchoring-ground, where, on account of the calm, and for fear of drifting nearer to the shore, we ran out our kedge-anchor during the day-watch, and are now waiting for the land-wind.
Item the 15th do. In the morning, with a light breeze blowing from the land, we weighed anchor, and did our best to run out to sea a little, our course being north-west by north; we then had the northernmost low-lying point of the day before north-north-east and north-east by north of us. This land consists of a high double mountain-range, not lower than Ilha Formoza. At noon, latitude observed, 41° 40′; longitude, 189° 49′; course kept north-north-east; sailed 8 miles. The point we had seen the day before now lay south-east of us, at 2 ½ miles of distance; northward from this point extends a large rocky reef; on this reef, projecting from the sea, there are a number of high steep cliffs, resembling steeples or sails; one mile west of this point we could sound no bottom. As we still saw this high land extend to the north-north-east of us, we from here held our course due north, with good, dry weather and smooth water. From the said low point with the cliffs, the land makes a large curve to the north-east, trending first due east, and afterwards due north again. The point aforesaid is in latitude 41° 50′ south. The wind was blowing from the west. It was easy to see here that in these parts the land must be very desolate; we saw no human beings nor any smoke rising; nor can the people here have any boats, since we did not see any signs of them; in the evenings we found 8° N.E. variation of the compass.
Item the 16th do. At six glasses before the day we took soundings in 60 fathoms, good anchoring-ground. The northern-most point we had in sight then bore from us north-east by east, at 3 miles distance, and the nearest land lay south-east of us at 1 ½ miles distance. We drifted in a calm, with good weather and smooth water; at noon, latitude observed, 40° 58′; average longitude, 189° 54′; course kept north-north-east; sailed 11 miles. We drifted in a calm the whole afternoon; page 20 in the evening at sunset we had 9° 23′ increasing N.E. variation; the wind then went round to south-west with a freshening breeze; we found the farthest point of the land that we could see to bear from us east by north, the land falling off so abruptly there that we did not doubt that this was the farthest extremity. We now convened our council with the second mates, with whom we resolved to run north-east and east-north-east till the end of the first watch, and then to sail near the wind, wind and weather not changing, as may in extenso be seen from this day's resolution. During the night, in the sixth glass, it fell calm again, so that we stuck to the east-north-east course. Although in the fifth glass of the dog-watch we had the point we had seen in the evening south-east of us we could not sail higher than east-north-east slightly easterly, owing to the sharpness of the wind. In the first watch we took soundings once, and a second time in the dog-watch, in 60 fathoms, clean grey sand. In the second glass of the day-watch we got a breeze from the south-east, upon which we tacked for the shore again.
Item the 17th do. In the morning at sunrise we were about one mile from the shore; in various places we saw smoke ascending from fires made, by the Natives; the wind then being south, and blowing from the land, we again tacked to eastward. At noon, latitude estimated 40° 32′; longitude, 190° 47′; course kept north-east by east; sailed 12 miles. In the afternoon, the wind being west, we held our course east by south, along a low-lying shore with dunes, in good dry weather; we sounded in 30 fathoms, black sand, so that by night one had better approach this land aforesaid sounding; we then made for this sandy point until we got in 17 fathoms, where we cast anchor at sunset owing to a calm, when we had the northern extremity of this dry sandspit west by north of us; also high land extending to the east by south; the point of the reef south-east of us; here, inside this point or narrow sandspit, we saw a large open bay upwards of 3 or 4 miles wide; to eastward of this narrow sandspit there is a sandbank upwards of a mile in length, with 6, 7, 8, and 9 feet of water above it, and projecting east-south-east from the said point. In the evening we had 9° N.E. variation.
Item the 18th do. In the morning we weighed anchor in calm weather; at noon latitude estimated 40° 49′; longitude, 191° 41′; course kept east-south-east; sailed 11 miles. In the morning before weighing anchor, we had resolved, with the officers of the “Zeehaen,” that we should try to get ashore here, and find a good harbour; and that, as we neared it, we should send out the pinnace to reconnoitre; all which may in extenso page 21 be seen from this day's resolution. In the afternoon our Skipper Ide Tiercxz and our Pilot-major Francoys Jacobsz, in the pinnace, and Supercargo Gilsemans, with one of the second mates of the “Zeehaen,” in the latter's cock-boat, went on before to seek a fitting anchorage and a good watering-place. At sunset, when it fell a calm, we dropped anchor in 15 fathoms, good anchoring-ground; in the evening, about an hour after sunset, we saw a number of lights on shore, and four boats close inshore, two of which came towards us, upon which our own two boats returned on board; they reported that they found no less than 13 fathoms water, and that when the sun sank behind the high land they were still about half a mile from shore. When our men had been on board for the space of about one glass the men in the two prows began to call out to us in a rough, hollow voice, but we could not understand a word of what they said. We, however, called out to them in answer, upon which they repeated their cries several times, but came no nearer than a stone-shot; they also blew several times on an instrument of which the sound was like that of a Moorish trumpet; we then ordered one of our sailors (who had some knowledge of trumpet-blowing) to play them some tunes in answer. Those on board the “Zeehaen” ordered their second mate (who had come out to India as a trumpeter, and had in the Mauritius been appointed second mate by the council of that fortress and the ships) to do the same; after this had been repeated several times on both sides, and, as it was getting more and more dark, those in the Native prows at last ceased, and paddled off. For more security, and to be on our guard against all accidents, we ordered our men to keep double watches, as we are wont to do when out at sea, and to keep in readiness all necessaries of war, such as muskets, pikes, and cutlasses. We cleaned the guns on the upper-orlop, and placed them again, in order to prevent surprises, and be able to defend ourselves, if these people should happen to attempt anything against us. Variation, 9° N.E.
* Small boom-sails or yard-sails, as carried by tingangs (small Indian vessels).
This is the second land which we have sailed along and discovered. In honour of Their High Mightinesses the States-General we gave to this land the name of Staten Landt†, since we deemed it quite possible that this land is part of the great Staten Landt, though this is not certain. This land seems to be a very fine country, and we trust that this is the mainland coast of the unknown south land. To this course we have given the name of Abel Tasman passagie, because he has been the first to navigate it.
[The five pages following are taken up by coast surveyings and drawings with inscriptions]:
* Murderers' Bay.
† Afterwards named “New Zealand.”
‡ Zeehaen's Bocht.
Item the 21st do. During the night, in the dog-watch, we had a westerly wind with a strong breeze; we steered to the north, hoping that the land which we had had north-west of us the day before might there fall away to northward, but after the cook had dished we again ran against it, and found that it still extended to the north-west. We now tacked, turning from the land again, and as it began to blow fresh, we ran south-west over towards the south shore. At noon, latitude observed 40° 31′; longitude, 192° 55′; course kept north; sailed 5 miles. The weather was hazy, so that we could not see land. Halfway the afternoon we again saw the south coast; the island which the day before we had west of us at about 6 miles distance now lay south-west by south of us at about 4 miles distance. We made for it, running on until the said island was north-north-west of us, then dropped our anchor behind a number of cliffs in 33 fathoms, sandy ground mixed with shells. There are many islands and cliffs all round here. We struck our sail-yards, for it was blowing a storm from the north-west and west-north-west.
Item the 22nd do. The wind north-west by north, and blowing so hard that there was no question of going under sail in order to make any progress; we found it difficult enough for the anchor to hold. We therefore set to refitting our ship. We are lying here in 40° 50′ S. latitude, and longitude 192° 37′; course held south-west by south; sailed 6 miles. During the night we got the wind so hard from the north-west, that we had to strike our tops and drop another anchor. The “Zeehaen” was almost forced from her anchor, and therefore hove out another anchor likewise.
Item the 23rd do. The weather still dark, hazy, and drizzling; the wind north-west and west-north-west, with a storm, so that to our great regret we could not make any headway.
Item the 24th do. Still rough, unsteady weather, the wind still north-west and stormy; in the morning when there was a short calm, we hoisted the white flag, and got the officers of the “Zeehaen” on board of us. We then represented to them that since the tide was running from the south-east there was page 26 likely to be a passage through, so that perhaps it would be best as soon as wind and weather would permit, to investigate this point, and see whether we could get fresh water there; all of which may in extenso be seen from the resolution drawn up concerning this matter.
Item the 25th do. In the morning we reset our tops and sailyards, but out at sea things looked still so gloomy that we did not venture to weigh our anchors. Towards evening it fell a calm, so that we took in a part of our cable.
Item the 26th do. In the morning, two hours before day, we got the wind east-north-east, with a light breeze. We weighed anchor and set sail, steered our course to northward, intending to sail northward round this land; at daybreak it began to drizzle, the wind went round to the south-east, and afterwards to the south as far as the south-west, with a stiff breeze. We had soundings in 60 fathoms, and set our course by the wind to westward. At noon, latitude estimated 40° 13′; longitude, 192° 7′; course kept north-north-west; sailed 10 miles. Variation, 8° 40′. During the night we lay-to with small sail.
Item the 27th do. In the morning at daybreak we made sail again, set our course to northward, the wind being southwest with a steady breeze; at noon, latitude observed 38° 38′; longitude, 190° 15′; course kept north-west; sailed 26 miles. At noon we shaped our course north-east. During the night we lay-to under small sail. Variation, 8° 20′.
Item the 28th do. In the morning, at daybreak, we made sail again, set our course to eastward, in order to ascertain whether the land we had previously seen in 40° extends still further northward, or whether it falls away to eastward. At noon we saw east by north of us a high mountain, which we at first took to be an island; but afterwards we observed that it forms part of the main land. We were then about 5 miles from shore, and took soundings in 50 fathoms, fine sand mixed with clay. This high mountain is in 38° S. latitude. So far as I could observe this coast extends south and north. It fell a calm, but when there came a light breeze from the north-north-east we tacked to the north-west. At noon, latitude estimated 38° 2′; longitude, 192° 23′; course held north-east by east; sailed 16 miles. Towards the evening the wind went round to north-east and north-east by east, stiffening more and more, so that at the end of the first watch we had to take in our topsails. Variation, 8° 30′.
Item the 29th do. In the morning, at daybreak, we took in our bonnets, and had to lower our foresail down to the stem. At noon, latitude estimated 37° 17′; longitude, 191° 26′. page 27 Towards noon we again set our foresail, and then tacked to westward; course kept north-west; sailed 16 miles.
Item the 30th do. In the morning, the weather having somewhat improved, we set our topsails and slid out our bonnets. We had the “Zeehaen” to lee of us, tacked and made towards her. We then had the wind west-north-west, with a top-gallant gale. At noon, latitude observed 37°; longitude, 191° 55′; course held north-east; sailed 7 miles. Towards evening we again saw the land, bearing from us north-east and north-north-east, on which account we steered north and north-east. Variation, 8° 40′ N.E.
[The next page has two coast-surveyings, with inscriptions: “A view of the Staete Landt in 38° 30′ S. latitude.” “A view of the Staete Landt in 36° S. latitude.”]
Item the last do. At noon we tacked about to northward, the wind being west-north-west, with a light breeze. At noon, latitude observed 36° 45′; longitude, 191° 46′; course kept north-west; sailed 7 miles. In the evening we were about 3 miles from shore. At the expiration of 4 glasses in the first watch we again tacked to the north. During the night we threw the lead in 80 fathoms. This coast here extends south-east and north-west; the land is high in some places, and covered with dunes in others. Variation, 8°.
Item the 1st of January. In the morning we drifted in a calm along the coast—which here still stretches north-west and south-east. The coast here is level and even, without reefs or shoals. At noon we were in latitude 36° 12′; longitude, 191° 7′; course kept north-west; sailed 10 miles. About noon the wind came from the south-south-east and south-east. We now shaped our course west-north-west, in order to keep off shore, since there was a heavy surf running. Variation 8° 30′ N.E.
Item the 2nd do. Calm weather. Half-way the afternoon we got a breeze from the east; we directed our course to the north-north-west; at the end of the first watch, however, we turned our course to the north-west, so as not to come too near the shore, and prevent accidents, seeing that in the evening we had the land north-north-west of us. At noon we were in latitude 35° 55′; longitude, 190° 47′; course kept north-west by west; sailed 7 miles. Variation, 9 degrees.
Item the 3rd do. In the morning we saw the land east by north of us at about 6 miles distance, and were surprised to find ourselves so far from shore. At noon, latitude observed 35° 20′; longitude, 190° 17′; course held north-west by north; sailed 11 miles. At noon the wind went round to the south-south-east, upon which we steered our course east-north-east, page 28 to get near the shore again. In the evening we saw land north and east-south-east of us.
Item the 4th do. In the morning we found ourselves near a cape, and had an island north-west by north of us; upon which we hoisted the white flag for the officers of the “Zeehaen” to come on board of us, with whom we resolved to touch at the island aforesaid, to see if we could there get fresh water, vegetables, &c. At noon, latitude observed, 34° 35′; longitude, 191° 9′; course kept north-east; sailed 15 miles, with the wind south-east. Towards noon we drifted in a calm, and found ourselves in the midst of a very heavy current, which drove us to the westward. There was besides a heavy sea running from the north-east here, which gave us great hopes of finding a passage here. This cape, which we had east-north-east of us, is in 34° 30′ S. latitude. The land here falls away to eastward. In the evening we sent to the “Zeehaen” the pilot-major with the secretary, as we were close to this island, and, so far as we could see, were afraid there would be nothing there of what we were in want of; we therefore asked the opinion of the officers of the “Zeehaen” whether it would not be best to run on, if we should get a favourable wind during the night, which the officers of the “Zeehaen” fully agreed with. Variation, 8° 40′ N.E.
[The two pages following contain a double-page chart of New Zealand from Cape Maria Van Diemen as far as the 43rd degree S. latitude, with inscription: “Staete Landt: This land was made and discovered by the ships ‘Heemskerck’ and ‘Zeehaen,’ the Hon. Abel Tasman, commander, A.D. 1642, the 13th of December.”]
[The next two pages contain two double-page coast-surveyings, with inscriptions: “A view of Drie Coningen Island, when it is north-west of you at 4 miles distance.” “A view of Drie Coningen Island, when you are at anchor on the north-west side of it in 40 fathoms; to this island we gave the name of Drie Coningen Island, because we came to anchor there on Twelfth-night-eve, and sailed thence again of Twelfth-day.”]
* The sailor's journal in the Sweer's collection gives some more particulars, without great interest however.
Item the 6th do. Early in the morning we sent to the watering-place the two boats—to wit, ours and the cock-boat of the “Zeehaen”—each furnished with two pederaroes, six musketeers, and the rowers with pikes and side-arms, together with our pinnace with the Pilot-major Francoys Jacobsz and Skipper Gerrit Jansz, with casks for getting fresh water. While rowing towards the shore, they saw, in various places on the heights, a tall man standing with a long stick like a pike, apparently watching our men. As they were rowing past, he had page 30 called out to them in a very loud voice. When they had got about half-way to the watering-place, between a certain point and another large high rock or small island, they found the the current to run so strongly against the wind, that with the empty boats they had to do their utmost to hold their own; for which reason the pilot-major and Gerrit Jansz, Skipper of the “Zeehaen,” agreed together to abstain from exposing the small craft and the men to such great peril, seeing that there was still a long voyage before them, and the men and the small craft were greatly wanted by the ships. They therefore pulled back to the ships, the rather as a heavy surf was rolling on the shore near the watering-place. The breeze freshening, we could easily surmise that they had not been able to land, and now made a sign to them from our ship with the furled flag, and fired a gun, to let them know that they were at liberty to return, but they were already on their way back before we signalled to them. The pilot-major, having come alongside our ship again with the boats, reported that owing to the wind the attempt to land there was too dangerous, seeing that the sea was everywhere near the shore full of hard rocks, without any sandy ground, so that they would have greatly imperilled the men, and run the risk of having the water-casks injured or stove in. We forthwith summoned the officers of the “Zeehaen” and the second mates on board of us, and convened a council, in which it was resolved to weigh anchor directly, and to run on an easterly course as far as 220 degrees longitude, in accordance with the preceding resolution; then to shape our course to northward, or eventually due north, as far as latitude 17° south, after which we shall hold our course due west in order to run straight in sight of the Coques and Hoorense Islands, where we shall take in fresh water and refreshments; or, if we should meet with any other islands before these, we shall endeavour to touch at them, in order to ascertain what can be obtained there; all this being duly specified and set forth at length in this day's resolution, to which for briefness sake we beg leave to refer. About noon we set sail; at noon we had the island due south of us at about 3 miles' distance; in the evening at sunset it was south-south-west of us at 6 or 7 miles distance, the island and the rocks lying south-west and north-west of each other. During the night it was pretty calm, with an east-south-east wind, our course being north-north-east, very close to the wind, while the tide was running in from the north-east.
* * * * *
Done on the ship “Heemskercq”; date as above.
Abel Jansz Tasman.