Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

Captain Cook's Journal During the First Voyage Round the World by James Cook

Part 9 out of 11

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 1.3 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

way close upon a wind, because if we found no Passage we could always
return back the way we went. In the Evening the Boats return'd with one
Turtle, a sting ray, and as many large Clams as came to 1 1/2 pounds a
Man; in each of these Clams were about 20 pounds of Meat; added to this
we Caught in the night several Sharks. Early in the morning I sent the
Pinnace and Yawl again to the Reef, as I did not intend to weigh until
half Ebb, at which time the Shoals began to appear. Before 8 it came on
to blow, and I made the Signal for the Boats to come on Board, which they
did, and brought with them one Turtle. We afterwards began to heave, but
the wind Freshening obliged us to bear away* (* To veer cable, i.e., pay
out more cable, in order to hold the ship with the freshening wind.)
again and lay fast.

Monday, 6th. Winds at South-East. At 2 o'Clock p.m. it fell pretty
Moderate, and we got under sail, and stood out upon a wind North-East by
East, leaving the Turtle Reef to windward, having the Pinnace ahead
sounding. We had not stood out long before we discovered shoals ahead and
on both bows. At half past 4 o'Clock, having run off 8 Miles, the Pinnace
made the Signal for Shoal water in a place where we little Expected it;
upon this we Tack'd and Stood on and off while the Pinnace stretched
farther to the Eastward, but as night was approaching I thought it safest
to Anchor, which we accordingly did in 20 fathoms water, a Muddy bottom.
Endeavour River bore South 52 degrees West; Cape Bedford West by North
1/2 North, distant 5 Leagues; the Northermost land in sight, which made
like an Island, North; and a Shoal, a small, sandy part of which appear'd
above water, North-East, distance 2 or 3 Miles. In standing off from this
Turtle Reef to this place our soundings were from 14 to 20 fathoms, but
where the Pinnace was, about a Mile farther to the East-North-East, were
no more than 4 or 5 feet of water, rocky ground; and yet this did not
appear to us in the Ship. In the morning we had a strong Gale from the
South-East, that, instead of weighing as we intended, we were obliged to
bear away more Cable, and to Strike Top Gallant yards.

Tuesday, 7th. Strong Gales at South-East, South-East by South, and
South-South-East, with cloudy weather at Low water in the P.M. I and
several of the Officers kept a look out at the Mast head to see for a
Passage between the Shoals; but we could see nothing but breakers all the
way from the South round by the East as far as North-West, extending out
to Sea as far as we could see. It did not appear to be one continued
Shoal, but several laying detached from each other. On the Eastermost
that we could see the Sea broke very high, which made one judge it to be
the outermost; for on many of those within the Sea did not break high at
all, and from about 1/2 flood to 1/2 Ebb they are not to be seen, which
makes the Sailing among them more dangerous, and requires great care and
Circumspection, for, like all other Shoals, or Reefs of Coral Rocks, they
are quite steep too. Altho' the most of these Shoals consist of Coral
Rocks, yet a part of some of them is sand. The Turtle Reef and some
others have a small Patch of Sand generally at the North end, that is
only cover'd at high water. These generally discover themselves before we
come near them. Altho' I speak of this as the Turtle Reef, yet it is not
to be doubted but what there are Turtle upon the most of them as well as
this one. After having well viewed our situation from the Mast Head, I
saw that we were surrounded on every side with Dangers, in so much that I
was quite at a loss which way to steer when the weather will permit us to
get under sail, for to beat back to the South-East the way we came, as
the Master would have had me done, would be an endless peice of work, as
the winds blow constantly from that Quarter, and very Strong, without
hardly any intermission;* (* The south-east trade wind blows home on this
coast very strong from about June to October. Though the Barrier Reef
prevents any great sea from getting up, the continuance of this wind is a
great nuisance for a sailing ship from many points of view though from
others it is an advantage.) on the other hand, if we do not find a
passage to the Northward we shall have to come back at last. At 11 the
Ship drove, and obliged us to bear away to a Cable and one third, which
brought us up again; but in the morning the Gale increasing, she drove
again. This made us let go the Small Bower Anchor, and bear away a whole
Cable on it and 2 on the other; and even after this she still kept
driving slowly, until we had got down Top gallant Masts, struck Yards and
Top masts close down, and made all snug; then she rid fast, Cape Bedford
bearing West-South-West, distant 3 1/2 Leagues. In this situation we had
Shoals to the Eastward of us extending from the South-East by South to
the North-North-West, distant from the nearest part of them about 2

Wednesday, 8th. Strong gales at South-South-East all this day, in so much
that I durst not get up Yards and Topmasts.

Thursday, 9th. In the P.M., the weather being something moderate, we got
up the Top masts, but keept the Lower yards down. At 6 in the morning we
began to heave in the Cable, thinking to get under sail; but it blow'd so
fresh, together with a head sea, that we could hardly heave the ship a
head, and at last was obliged to desist.

[Off Cape Flattery, Queensland.]

Friday, 10th. Fresh Gales at South-South-East and South-East by South.
P.M., the wind fell so that we got up the small Bower Anchor, and hove
into a whole Cable on the Best Bower. At 3 in the morning we got up the
Lower Yards, and at 7 weighed and stood in for the Land (intending to
seek for a passage along Shore to the northward), having a Boat ahead
sounding; depth of water as we run in from 19 to 12 fathoms. After
standing in an hour we edged away for 3 Small Islands* (* Now called the
Three Isles.) that lay North-North-East 1/2 East, 3 Leagues from Cape
Bedford. To these Islands the Master had been in the Pinnace when the
Ship was in Port. At 9 we were abreast of them, and between them and the
Main, having another low Island between us and the latter, which lies
West-North-West, 4 Miles from the 3 Islands. In this Channell had 14
fathoms water; the Northermost point of the Main we had in sight bore
from us North-North-West 1/2 West, distant 2 Leagues. 4 or 5 Leagues to
the North-East of this head land appeared 3 high Islands,* (* The
Direction Islands.) with some smaller ones near them, and the Shoals and
Reefs without, as we could see, extending to the Northward as far as
these Islands. We directed our Course between them and the above
headland, leaving a small Island* (* The Two Isles. Cook had now got
among the numerous islands and reefs which lie round Cape Flattery. There
are good channels between them, but they are very confusing to a
stranger. Cook's anxiety in his situation can well be imagined,
especially with his recent disaster in his mind.) to the Eastward of us,
which lies North by East, 4 Miles from the 3 Islands, having all the
while a boat ahead sounding. At Noon we were got between the head Land
and the 3 high Islands, distant from the former 2, and from the latter 4
Leagues; our Latitude by observation was 14 degrees 51 minutes South. We
now judged ourselves to be clear of all Danger, having, as we thought, a
Clear, open Sea before us; but this we soon found otherwise, and
occasioned my calling the Headland above mentioned Cape Flattery
(Latitude 14 degrees 55 minutes South, Longitude 214 degrees 43 minutes
West). It is a high Promontory, making in 2 Hills next the sea, and a
third behind them, with low sandy land on each side; but it is better
known by the 3 high Islands out at Sea, the Northermost of which is the
Largest, and lies from the Cape North-North-East, distant 5 Leagues. From
this Cape the Main land trends away North-West and North-West by West.

Saturday, 11th. Fresh breezes at South-South-East and South-East by
South, with which we steer'd along shore North-West by West until one
o'Clock, when the Petty Officer at the Masthead called out that he saw
land ahead, extending quite round to the Islands without, and a large
reef between us and them; upon this I went to the Masthead myself. The
reef I saw very plain, which was now so far to windward that we could not
weather it, but what he took for Main land ahead were only small Islands,
for such they appeared to me; but, before I had well got from Mast head
the Master and some others went up, who all asserted that it was a
Continuation of the Main land, and, to make it still more alarming, they
said they saw breakers in a Manner all round us. We immediately hauld
upon a wind in for the Land, and made the Signal for the Boat, which was
ahead sounding, to come on board; but as she was well to leeward, we were
obliged to edge away to take her up, and soon after came to an Anchor
under a point of the Main in 1/4 less 5* (* The nautical manner of
expressing four and three-quarters.) fathoms, about a Mile from the
Shore, Cape Flattery bearing South-East, distant 3 1/2 Leagues. After
this I landed, and went upon the point, which is pretty high, from which
I had a View of the Sea Coast, which trended away North-West by West, 8
or 10 Leagues, which was as far as I could see, the weather not being
very clear. I likewise saw 9 or 10 Small, Low Islands and some Shoals
laying off the Coast, and some large Shoals between the Main and the 3
high Islands, without which, I was now well assured, were Islands, and
not a part of the Mainland as some had taken them to be. Excepting Cape
Flattery and the point I am now upon, which I have named point Lookout,
the Main land next the sea to the Northward of Cape Bedford is low, and
Chequer'd with white sand and green Bushes, etc., for 10 or 12 Miles
inland, beyond which is high land. To the northward of Point Lookout the
shore appear'd to be shoal and flat some distance off, which was no good
sign of meeting with a Channell in with the land, as we have hitherto
done. We saw the footsteps of people upon the sand, and smoke and fire up
in the Country, and in the evening return'd on board, where I came to a
resolution to visit one of the high Islands in the Offing in my Boat, as
they lay at least 5 Leagues out at Sea, and seem'd to be of such a height
that from the Top of one of them I hoped to see and find a Passage out to
sea clear of the Shoals. Accordingly in the Morning I set out in the
Pinnace for the Northermost and largest of the 3, accompanied by Mr.
Banks. At the same time I sent the Master in the Yawl to Leeward, to
sound between the Low Islands and the Main. In my way to the Island I
passed over a large reef of Coral Rocks and sand, which lies about 2
Leagues from the Island; I left another to leeward, which lays about 3
Miles from the Island. [On Lizard Island, Queensland.] On the North part
of this is a low, sandy Isle, with Trees upon it; on the reef we pass'd
over in the Boat we saw several Turtle, and Chased one or Two, but caught
none, it blowing too hard, and I had no time to spare, being otherways
employ'd. I did not reach the Island until half an hour after one o'Clock
in the P.M. on

Sunday, 12th, when I immediately went upon the highest hill on the
Island,* (* Lizard Island.) where, to my Mortification, I discover'd a
Reef of Rocks laying about 2 or 3 Leagues without the Island, extending
in a line North-West and South-East, farther than I could see, on which
the sea broke very high.* (* This was the outer edge of the Barrier
Reefs.) This, however, gave one great hopes that they were the outermost
shoals, as I did not doubt but what I should be able to get without them,
for there appeared to be several breaks or Partitions in the Reef, and
Deep Water between it and the Islands. I stay'd upon the Hill until near
sun set, but the weather continued so Hazey all the time that I could not
see above 4 or 5 Leagues round me, so that I came down much disappointed
in the prospect I expected to have had, but being in hopes the morning
might prove Clearer, and give me a better View of the Shoals. With this
view I stay'd all night upon the Island, and at 3 in the Morning sent the
Pinnace, with one of the Mates I had with me, to sound between the Island
and the Reefs, and to Examine one of the breaks or Channels; and in the
mean time I went again upon the Hill, where I arrived by Sun Rise, but
found it much Hazier than in the Evening. About Noon the pinnace
return'd, having been out as far as the Reef, and found from 15 to 28
fathoms water. It blow'd so hard that they durst not venture into one of
the Channels, which, the Mate said, seem'd to him to be very narrow; but
this did not discourage me, for I thought from the place he was at he
must have seen it at disadvantage. Before I quit this Island I shall
describe it. It lies, as I have before observed, about 5 Leagues from the
Main; it is about 8 Miles in Circuit, and of a height sufficient to be
seen 10 or 12 Leagues; it is mostly high land, very rocky and barren,
except on the North-West side, where there are some sandy bays and low
land, which last is covered with thin, long grass, Trees, etc., the same
as upon the Main. Here is also fresh Water in 2 places; the one is a
running stream, the water a little brackish where I tasted it, which was
close to the sea; the other is a standing pool, close behind the sandy
beach, of good, sweet water, as I daresay the other is a little way from
the Sea beach. The only land Animals we saw here were Lizards, and these
seem'd to be pretty Plenty, which occasioned my naming the Island Lizard
Island. The inhabitants of the Main visit this Island at some Seasons of
the Year, for we saw the Ruins of Several of their Hutts and heaps of
Shells, etc. South-East, 4 or 5 Miles from this Island, lay the other 2
high Islands, which are very small compared to this; and near them lay 3
others, yet smaller and lower Islands, and several Shoals or reefs,
especially to the South-East. There is, however, a clear passage from
Cape Flattery to those Islands, and even quite out to the outer Reefs,
leaving the above Islands to the South-East and Lizard Island to the

Monday, 13th. At 2 P.M. I left Lizard Island in order to return to the
Ship, and in my way landed upon the low sandy Isle mentioned in coming
out. We found on this Island* (* Eagle Island.) a pretty number of Birds,
the most of them sea Fowl, except Eagles; 2 of the Latter we shott and
some of the others; we likewise saw some Turtles, but got none, for the
reasons before mentioned. After leaving Eagle Isle I stood South-West
direct for the Ship, sounding all the way, and had not less than 8
fathoms, nor more than 14. I had the same depth of Water between Lizard
and Eagle Isle. After I got on board the Master inform'd me he had been
down to the Islands I had directed him to go too, which he judged to lay
about 3 Leagues from the Main, and had sounded the Channel between the 2,
found 7 fathoms; this was near the Islands, for in with the Main he had
only 9 feet 3 Miles off, but without the Islands he found 10, 12, and 14
fathoms. He found upon the islands piles of turtle shells, and some finns
that were so fresh that both he and the boats' crew eat of them. This
showed that the natives must have been there lately. After well
considering both what I had seen myself and the report of the Master's, I
found by experience that by keeping in with the Mainland we should be in
continued danger, besides the risk we should run in being lock'd in with
Shoals and reefs by not finding a passage out to Leeward. In case we
persever'd in keeping the Shore on board an accident of this kind, or any
other that might happen to the ship, would infallibly loose our passage
to the East India's this Season,* (* In November the wind changes to the
North-West, which would have been a foul wind to Batavia.) and might
prove the ruin of both ourselves and the Voyage, as we have now little
more than 3 Months' Provisions on board, and that at short allowance.
Wherefore, after consulting with the Officers, I resolved to weigh in the
morning, and Endeavour to quit the Coast altogether until such time as I
found I could approach it with less danger. With this View we got under
sail at daylight in the morning, and stood out North-East for the
North-West end of Lizard Island, having Eagle Island to windward of us,
having the pinnace ahead sounding; and here we found a good Channell,
wherein we had from 9 to 14 fathoms. At Noon the North end of Lizard
Island bore East-South-East, distant one Mile; Latitude observed 14
degrees 38 minutes South; depth of water 14 fathoms. We now took the
pinnace in tow, knowing that there were no dangers until we got out to
the Reefs.* (* From the 13th to the 19th the language used in Mr.
Corner's copy of the Journal is quite different from that of the
Admiralty and the Queen's, though the occurrences are the same. From
internal evidences, it appears that Mr. Corner's copy was at this period
the first written up, and that Cook amended the phrases in the other fair

[Pass Outside Barrier Reef, Queensland.]

Tuesday, 14th. Winds at South-East, a steady gale. By 2 P.M. we got out
to the outermost reefs, and just fetched to Windward of one of the
openings I had discover'd from the Island; we tacked and Made a short
trip to the South-West, while the Master went in the pinnace to examine
the Channel, who soon made the signal for the Ship to follow, which we
accordingly did, and in a short time got safe out. This Channel* (* Now
known as Cook's Passage.) lies North-East 1/2 North, 3 Leagues from
Lizard Island; it is about one-third of a Mile broad, and 25 or 30
fathoms deep or more. The moment we were without the breakers we had no
ground with 100 fathoms of Line, and found a large Sea rowling in from
the South-East. By this I was well assured we were got with out all the
Shoals, which gave us no small joy, after having been intangled among
Islands and Shoals, more or less, ever since the 26th of May, in which
time we have sail'd above 360 Leagues by the Lead without ever having a
Leadsman out of the Chains, when the ship was under sail; a Circumstance
that perhaps never hapned to any ship before, and yet it was here
absolutely necessary. I should have been very happy to have had it in my
power to have keept in with the land, in order to have explor'd the Coast
to the Northern extremity of the Country, which I think we were not far
off, for I firmly believe this land doth not join to New Guinea. But this
I hope soon either to prove or disprove, and the reasons I have before
assign'd will, I presume, be thought sufficient for my leaving the Coast
at this time; not but what I intend to get in with it again as soon as I
can do it with safety. The passage or channel we now came out by, which I
have named, ----* (* Blank in MS.) lies in the Latitude of 14 degrees 32
minutes South; it may always be found and known by the 3 high Islands
within it, which I have called the Islands of Direction, because by their
means a safe passage may be found even by strangers in within the Main
reef, and quite into the Main. Lizard Island, which is the Northermost
and Largest of the 3, Affords snug Anchorage under the North-West side of
it, fresh water and wood for fuel; and the low Islands and Reefs which
lay between it and the Main, abound with Turtle and other fish, which may
be caught at all Seasons of the Year (except in such blowing weather as
we have lately had). All these things considered there is, perhaps, not a
better place on the whole Coast for a Ship to refresh at than this
Island. I had forgot to mention in its proper place, that not only on
this Island, but on Eagle Island, and on several places of the Sea beach
in and about Endeavour River, we found Bamboos, Cocoa Nutts, the seeds of
some few other plants, and Pummice-stones, which were not the produce of
the Country. From what we have seen of it, it is reasonable to suppose
that they are the produce of some lands or Islands laying in the
Neighbourhood, most likely to the Eastward, and are brought hither by the
Easterly trade winds. The Islands discover'd by Quiros lies in this
parrallel, but how far to the Eastward it's hard to say; for altho' we
found in most Charts his discoveries placed as far to the West as this
country yet from the account of his Voyage, compared with what we
ourselves have seen, we are Morally certain that he never was upon any
part of this Coast.* (* The Island of Espiritu Santo, in the New
Hebrides, which Quiros discovered, lies 1200 miles to the eastward, and
New Caledonia, from which these objects might equally have come, is 1000
miles in the same direction.) As soon as we had got without the Reefs we
Shortened sail, and hoisted in the pinnace and Long boat, which last we
had hung alongside, and then stretched off East-North-East, close upon a
wind, as I did not care to stand to the Northward until we had a whole
day before us, for which reason we keept making short boards all night.
The large hollow sea we have now got into acquaints us with a
Circumstance we did not before know, which is that the Ship hath received
more Damage than we were aware of, or could perceive when in smooth
Water; for now she makes as much water as one pump will free, kept
constantly at work. However this was looked upon as trifling to the
Danger we had lately made an Escape from. At day light in the morning
Lizard Island bore South by West, distant 10 Leagues. We now made all the
sail we could, and stood away North-North-West 1/2 West, but at 9 we
steer'd North-West 1/2 North, having the advantage of a Fresh Gale at
South-East; at Noon we were by observation in the Latitude of 13 degrees
46 minutes South, the Lizard Island bore South 15 degrees East, distant
58 Miles, but we had no land in sight.

Wednesday, 15th. Fresh Trade at South-East and Clear weather. At 6 in the
evening shortned sail and brought too, with her head to the North-East.
By this time we had run near 12 Leagues upon a North-West 1/2 North
Course since Noon. At 4 a.m. wore and lay her head to the South-West, and
at 6 made all Sail, and steer'd West, in order to make the land, being
fearful of over shooting the passage, supposing there to be one, between
this land and New Guinea. By noon we had run 10 Leagues upon this Course,
but saw no land. Our Latitude by observation was 13 degrees 2 minutes
South, Longitude 216 degrees 00 minutes West, which was 1 degree 23
minutes to the West of Lizard Island.

[Ship in Danger, Outside Barrier Reef.]

Thursday, 16th. Moderate breezes at East-South-East and fair weather. A
little after Noon saw the Land from the Mast head bearing
West-South-West, making high; at 2 saw more land to the North-West of the
former, making in hills like Islands; but we took it to be a Continuation
of the Main land. An hour after this we saw a reef, between us and the
land, extending away to the Southward, and, as we thought, terminated
here to the Northward abreast of us; but this was only on op'ning, for
soon after we saw it extend away to the Northward as far as we could
distinguish anything. Upon this we hauld close upon a Wind, which was now
at East-South-East, with all the sail we could set. We had hardly trimm'd
our sails before the wind came to East by North, which made our
weathering the Reef very doubtful, the Northern point of which in sight
at sun set still bore from us North by West, distant about 2 Leagues.
However, this being the best Tack to Clear it, we keept standing to the
Northward, keeping a good look out until 12 at night, when, fearing to
run too far upon one Course, we tack'd and stood to the southward, having
run 6 Leagues North or North by East since sun set; we had not stood
above 2 Miles to the South-South-East before it fell quite Calm. We both
sounded now and several times before, but had not bottom with 140 fathoms
of line.* (* The description which follows, of the situation of the ship,
and the occurrences until she was safely anchored inside the Barrier
Reef, is from the Admiralty copy, as it is much fuller than that in Mr.
Corner's.) A little after 4 o'clock the roaring of the surf was plainly
heard, and at daybreak the Vast foaming breakers were too plainly to be
seen not a mile from us, towards which we found the ship was carried by
the Waves surprisingly fast. We had at this time not an air of Wind, and
the depth of water was unfathomable, so that there was not a possibility
of anchoring. In this distressed Situation we had nothing but Providence
and the small Assistance the Boats could give us to trust to; the Pinnace
was under repair, and could not immediately be hoisted out. The Yawl was
put in the Water, and the Longboat hoisted out, and both sent ahead to
tow, which, together with the help of our sweeps abaft, got the Ship's
head round to the Northward, which seemed to be the best way to keep her
off the Reef, or at least to delay time. Before this was effected it was
6 o'clock, and we were not above 80 or 100 yards from the breakers. The
same sea that washed the side of the ship rose in a breaker prodidgiously
high the very next time it did rise, so that between us and destruction
was only a dismal Valley, the breadth of one wave, and even now no ground
could be felt with 120 fathom. The Pinnace was by this time patched up,
and hoisted out and sent ahead to Tow. Still we had hardly any hopes of
saving the ship, and full as little our lives, as we were full 10 Leagues
from the nearest Land, and the boats not sufficient to carry the whole of
us; yet in this Truly Terrible Situation not one man ceased to do his
utmost, and that with as much Calmness as if no danger had been near. All
the dangers we had escaped were little in comparison of being thrown upon
this reef, where the Ship must be dashed to pieces in a Moment. A reef
such as one speaks of here is Scarcely known in Europe. It is a Wall of
Coral Rock rising almost perpendicular out of the unfathomable Ocean,
always overflown at high Water generally 7 or 8 feet, and dry in places
at Low Water. The Large Waves of the Vast Ocean meeting with so sudden a
resistance makes a most Terrible Surf, breaking Mountains high,
especially as in our case, when the General Trade Wind blows directly
upon it. At this Critical juncture, when all our endeavours seemed too
little, a Small Air of Wind sprung up, but so small that at any other
Time in a Calm we should not have observed it. With this, and the
Assistance of our Boats, we could observe the Ship to move off from the
Reef in a slanting direction; but in less than 10 Minutes we had as flat
a Calm as ever, when our fears were again renewed, for as yet we were not
above 200 Yards from the Breakers. Soon after our friendly Breeze visited
us again, and lasted about as long as before. A Small Opening was now
Seen in the Reef about a 1/4 of a Mile from us, which I sent one of the
Mates to Examine. Its breadth was not more than the Length of the Ship,
but within was Smooth Water. Into this place it was resolved to Push her
if Possible, having no other Probable Views to save her, for we were
still in the very Jaws of distruction, and it was a doubt wether or no we
could reach this Opening. However, we soon got off it, when to our
Surprise we found the Tide of Ebb gushing out like a Mill Stream, so that
it was impossible to get in. We however took all the Advantage Possible
of it, and it Carried us out about a 1/4 of a Mile from the breakers; but
it was too Narrow for us to keep in long. However, what with the help of
this Ebb, and our Boats, we by Noon had got an Offing of 1 1/2 or 2
Miles, yet we could hardly flatter ourselves with hopes of getting Clear,
even if a breeze should Spring up, as we were by this time embay'd by the
Reef, and the Ship, in Spite of our Endeavours, driving before the Sea
into the bight. The Ebb had been in our favour, and we had reason to
Suppose the flood which was now made would be against us. The only hopes
we had was another Opening we saw about a Mile to the Westward of us,
which I sent Lieutenant Hicks in the Small Boat to Examine. Latitude
observed 12 degrees 37 minutes South, the Main Land in Sight distant
about 10 Leagues.

[Pass Again Inside Barrier Reef.]

Friday, 17th. While Mr. Hicks was Examining the opening we struggled hard
with the flood, sometime gaining a little and at other times loosing. At
2 o'Clock Mr. Hicks returned with a favourable Account of the Opening. It
was immediately resolved to Try to secure the Ship in it. Narrow and
dangerous as it was, it seemed to be the only means we had of saving her,
as well as ourselves. A light breeze soon after sprung up at
East-North-East, with which, the help of our Boats, and a Flood Tide, we
soon entered the Opening, and was hurried thro' in a short time by a
Rappid Tide like a Mill race, which kept us from driving against either
side, though the Channel was not more than a 1/4 of a Mile broad, having
2 Boats ahead of us sounding.* (* This picture of the narrow escape from
total shipwreck is very graphic. Many a ship has been lost under similar
circumstances, without any idea of anchoring, which would often save a
vessel, as it is not often that a reef is so absolutely steep; but that
Cook had this possibility in his mind is clear. As a proof of the
calmness which prevailed on board, it may be mentioned that when in the
height of the danger, Mr. Green, Mr. Clerke, and Mr. Forwood the gunner,
were engaged in taking a Lunar, to obtain the longitude. The note in Mr.
Green's log is: "These observations were very good, the limbs of sun and
moon very distinct, and a good horizon. We were about 100 yards from the
reef, where we expected the ship to strike every minute, it being calm,
no soundings, and the swell heaving us right on.") Our deepth of water
was from 30 to 7 fathoms; very irregular soundings and foul ground until
we had got quite within the Reef, where we Anchor'd in 19 fathoms, a
Coral and Shelly bottom. The Channel we came in by, which I have named
Providential Channell, bore East-North-East, distant 10 or 12 Miles,
being about 8 or 9 Leagues from the Main land, which extended from North
66 degrees West to South-West by South.

It is but a few days ago that I rejoiced at having got without the Reef;
but that joy was nothing when Compared to what I now felt at being safe
at an Anchor within it. Such are the Visissitudes attending this kind of
Service, and must always attend an unknown Navigation where one steers
wholy in the dark without any manner of Guide whatever. Was it not from
the pleasure which Naturly results to a man from his being the first
discoverer, even was it nothing more than Land or Shoals, this kind of
Service would be insupportable, especially in far distant parts like
this, Short of Provisions and almost every other necessary. People will
hardly admit of an excuse for a Man leaving a Coast unexplored he has
once discovered. If dangers are his excuse, he is then charged with
Timerousness and want of Perseverance, and at once pronounced to be the
most unfit man in the world to be employ'd as a discoverer; if, on the
other hand, he boldly encounters all the dangers and Obstacles he meets
with, and is unfortunate enough not to succeed, he is then Charged with
Temerity, and, perhaps, want of Conduct. The former of these Aspersions,
I am confident, can never be laid to my Charge, and if I am fortunate to
Surmount all the Dangers we meet with, the latter will never be brought
in Question; altho' I must own that I have engaged more among the Islands
and Shoals upon this Coast than perhaps in prudence I ought to have done
with a single Ship* (* Cook was so impressed with the danger of one ship
alone being engaged in these explorations, that in his subsequent voyages
he asked for, and obtained, two vessels.) and every other thing
considered. But if I had not I should not have been able to give any
better account of the one half of it than if I had never seen it; at
best, I should not have been able to say wether it was Mainland or
Islands; and as to its produce, that we should have been totally ignorant
of as being inseparable with the other; and in this case it would have
been far more satisfaction to me never to have discover'd it. But it is
time I should have done with this Subject, which at best is but
disagreeable, and which I was lead into on reflecting on our late

In the P.M., as the wind would not permit us to sail out by the same
Channel as we came in, neither did I care to move until the pinnace was
in better repair, I sent the Master with all the other Boats to the Reef
to get such refreshments as he could find, and in the meantime the
Carpenters were repairing the pinnace. Variations by the Amplitude and
Azimuth in the morning 4 degrees 9 minutes Easterly; at noon Latitude
observed 12 degrees 38 minutes South, Longitude in 216 degrees 45 minutes
West. It being now about low water, I and some other of the officers went
to the Masthead to see what we could discover. Great part of the reef
without us was dry, and we could see an Opening in it about two Leagues
farther to the South-East than the one we came in by; we likewise saw 2
large spots of sand to the Southward within the Reef, but could see
nothing to the Northward between it and the Main. On the Mainland within
us was a pretty high promontary, which I called Cape Weymouth (Latitude
12 degrees 42 minutes South, Longitude 217 degrees 15 minutes); and on
the North-West side of this Cape is a Bay, which I called Weymouth Bay.*
(* Viscount Weymouth was one of the Secretaries of State when the
Endeavour sailed.)

Saturday, 18th. Gentle breezes at East and East-South-East. At 4 P.M. the
Boats return'd from the Reef with about 240 pounds of Shell-fish, being
the Meat of large Cockles, exclusive of the Shells. Some of these Cockles
are as large as 2 Men can move, and contain about 20 pounds of Meat, very
good. At 6 in the morning we got under sail, and stood away to the
North-West, as we could not expect a wind to get out to Sea by the same
Channel as we came in without waiting perhaps a long time for it, nor was
it advisable at this time to go without the Shoals, least we should by
them be carried so far off the Coast as not to be able to determine
wether or no New Guinea joins to or makes a part of this land. This
doubtful point I had from my first coming upon the Coast, determined, if
Possible, to clear up; I now came to a fix'd resolution to keep the Main
land on board, let the Consequence be what it will, and in this all the
Officers concur'd. In standing to the North-West we met with very
irregular soundings, from 10 to 27 fathoms, varying 5 or 6 fathoms almost
every Cast of the Lead. However, we keept on having a Boat ahead
sounding. A little before noon we passed a low, small, sandy Isle, which
we left on our Starboard side at the distance of 2 Miles. At the same
time we saw others, being part of large Shoals above water, away to the
North-East and between us and the Main land. At Noon we were by
observation in the Latitude of 12 degrees 28 minutes South, and 4 or 5
Leagues from the Main, which extended from South by West to North 71
degrees West, and some Small Islands extending from North 40 degrees West
to North 54 degrees West, the Main or outer Reef seen from the Masthead
away to the North-East.

[Amongst Shoals off Cape Grenville.]

Sunday, 19th. Gentle breezes at South-East by East and Clear wether. At 2
P.M., as we were steering North-West by North, saw a large shoal right
ahead, extending 3 or 4 points on each bow, upon which we hauld up
North-North-East and North-East by North, in order to get round to North
Point of it, which we reached by 4 o'clock, and then Edged away to the
westward, and run between the North end of this Shoal and another, which
lays 2 miles to the Northward of it, having a Boat all the time ahead
sounding. Our depth of Water was very irregular, from 22 to 8 fathoms. At
1/2 past 6 we Anchor'd in 13 fathoms; the Northermost of the Small
Islands mentioned at Noon bore West 1/2 South, distant 3 Miles. These
Islands, which are known in the Chart by the name of Forbes's Isles,* (*
Admiral John Forbes was a Commissioner of Longitude in 1768, and had been
a Lord of the Admiralty from 1756 to 1763.) lay about 5 Leagues from the
Main, which here forms a moderate high point, which we called Bolt head,
from which the Land trends more westerly, and is all low, sandy Land, but
to the Southward it is high and hilly, even near the Sea. At 6 A.M. we
got under sail, and directed our Course for an Island which lay but a
little way from the Main, and bore from us at this time North 40 degrees
West, distant 5 Leagues; but we were soon interrupted in our Course by
meeting with Shoals, but by the help of 2 Boats ahead and a good lookout
at the Mast head we got at last into a fair Channel, which lead us down
to the Island, having a very large Shoal on our Starboard side and
several smaller ones betwixt us and the Main land. In this Channel we had
from 20 to 30 fathoms. Between 11 and 12 o'Clock we hauld round the
North-East side of the Island, leaving it between us and the Main from
which it is distant 7 or 8 Miles. This Island is about a League in
Circuit and of a moderate height, and is inhabited; to the North-West of
it are several small, low Islands and Keys, which lay not far from the
Main, and to the Northward and Eastward lay several other Islands and
Shoals, so that we were now incompassed on every side by one or the
other, but so much does a great danger Swallow up lesser ones, that these
once so much dreaded spots were now looked at with less concern. The
Boats being out of their Stations, we brought too to wait for them. At
Noon our Latitude by observation was 12 degrees 0 minutes South,
Longitude in 217 degrees 25 minutes West; depth of Water 14 fathoms;
Course and distance sail'd, reduced to a strait line, since yesterday
Noon is North 29 degrees West, 32 Miles. The Main land within the above
Islands forms a point, which I call Cape Grenville* (* George Grenville
was First Lord of the Admiralty for a few months in 1763, and afterwards
Prime Minister for two years.) (Latitude 11 degrees 58 minutes, Longitude
217 degrees 38 minutes); between this Cape and the Bolt head is a Bay,
which I Named Temple Bay.* (* Richard Earl Temple, brother of George
Grenville, was First Lord of the Admiralty in 1756.) East 1/2 North, 9
Leagues from Cape Grenville, lay some tolerable high Islands, which I
called Sir Charles Hardy's Isles;* (* Admiral Sir C. Hardy was second in
command in Hawke's great action in Quiberon Bay, 1759.) those which lay
off the Cape I named Cockburn Isles.* (* Admiral George Cockburn was a
Commissioner of Longitude and Comptroller of the Navy when Cook left
England. Off Cape Grenville the Endeavour again got into what is now the
recognised channel along the land inside the reefs.)

[Nearing Cape York, Queensland.]

Monday, 20th. Fresh breezes at East-South-East. About one P.M. the
pinnace having got ahead, and the Yawl we took in Tow, we fill'd and
Steer'd North by West, for some small Islands we had in that direction.
After approaching them a little nearer we found them join'd or connected
together by a large Reef; upon this we Edged away North-West, and left
them on our Starboard hand, steering between them and the Island laying
off the Main, having a fair and Clear Passage; Depth of Water from 15 to
23 fathoms. At 4 we discover'd some low Islands and Rocks bearing
West-North-West, which we stood directly for. At half Past 6 we Anchor'd
on the North-East side of the Northermost, in 16 fathoms, distant from
the Island one Mile. This Isle lay North-West 4 Leagues from Cape
Grenville. On the Isles we saw a good many Birds, which occasioned my
calling them Bird Isles. Before and at Sunset we could see the Main land,
which appear'd all very low and sandy, Extends as far to the Northward as
North-West by North, and some Shoals, Keys, and low sandy Isles away to
the North-East of us. At 6 A.M. we got again under sail, with a fresh
breeze at East, and stood away North-North-West for some low Islands* (*
Boydong Keys.) we saw in that direction; but we had not stood long upon
this Course before we were obliged to haul close upon a wind in Order to
weather a Shoal which we discover'd on our Larboard bow, having at the
same time others to the Eastward of us. By such time as we had weathered
the Shoal to Leeward we had brought the Islands well upon our Leebow; but
seeing some Shoals spit off from them, and some rocks on our Starboard
bow, which we did not discover until we were very near them, made me
afraid to go to windward of the Islands; wherefore we brought too, and
made the signal for the pinnace, which was a head, to come on board,
which done, I sent her to Leeward of the Islands, with Orders to keep
along the Edge off the Shoal, which spitted off from the South side of
the Southermost Island. The Yawl I sent to run over the Shoals to look
for Turtle, and appointed them a Signal to make in case they saw many; if
not, she was to meet us on the other side of the Island. As soon as the
pinnace had got a proper distance from us we wore, and stood After her,
and run to Leeward of the Islands, where we took the Yawl in Tow, she
having seen only one small Turtle, and therefore made no Stay upon the
Shoal. Upon this Island, which is only a Small Spott of Land, with some
Trees upon it, we saw many Hutts and habitations of the Natives, which we
supposed come over from the Main to these Islands (from which they are
distant about 5 Leagues) to Catch Turtle at the time these Animals come
ashore to lay their Eggs. Having got the Yawl in Tow, we stood away after
the pinnace North-North-East and North by East to 2 other low Islands,
having 2 Shoals, which we could see without and one between us and the
Main. At Noon we were about 4 Leagues from the Main land, which we could
see Extending to the Northward as far as North-West by North, all low,
flat, and Sandy. Our Latitude by observation was 11 degrees 23 minutes
South, Longitude in 217 degrees 46 minutes West, and Course and distance
sail'd since Yesterday at Noon North 22 degrees West, 40 Miles; soundings
from 14 to 23 fathoms. But these are best seen upon the Chart, as
likewise the Islands, Shoals, etc., which are too Numerous to be
Mentioned singly.* (* It is very difficult to follow Cook's track after
entering Providential Channel to this place. The shoals and islands were
so confusing that their positions are very vaguely laid down on Cook's
chart. It is easy to imagine how slow was his progress and tortuous his
course, with a boat ahead all the time constantly signalling shallow
water. Nothing is more trying to officers and men.)

Tuesday, 21st. Winds at East by South and East-South-East, fresh breeze.
By one o'Clock we had run nearly the length of the Southermost of the 2
Islands before mentioned, and finding that we could not well go to
windward of them without carrying us too far from the Main land, we bore
up, and run to Leeward, where we found a fair open passage. This done, we
steer'd North by West, in a parrallel direction with the Main land,
leaving a small Island between us and it, and some low sandy Isles and
Shoals without us, all of which we lost sight of by 4 o'Clock; neither
did we see any more before the sun went down, at which time the farthest
part of the Main in sight bore North-North-West 1/2 West. Soon after this
we Anchor'd in 13 fathoms, soft Ground, about five Leagues from the Land,
where we lay until day light, when we got again under sail, having first
sent the Yawl ahead to sound. We steer'd North-North-West by Compass from
the Northermost land in sight; Variation 3 degrees 6 minutes East. Seeing
no danger in our way we took the Yawl in Tow, and made all the Sail we
could until 8 o'Clock, at which time we discover'd Shoals ahead and on
our Larboard bow, and saw that the Northermost land, which we had taken
to be a part of the Main, was an Island, or Islands,* (*Now called Mount
Adolphus Islands.) between which and the Main their appeared to be a good
Passage thro' which we might pass by running to Leeward of the Shoals on
our Larboard bow, which was now pretty near us. Whereupon we wore and
brought too, and sent away the Pinnace and Yawl to direct us clear of the
Shoals, and then stood after them. Having got round the South-East point
of the Shoal we steer'd North-West along the South-West, or inside of it,
keeping a good lookout at the Masthead, having another Shoal on our
Larboard side; but we found a good Channel of a Mile broad between them,
wherein were from 10 to 14 fathoms. At 11 o'Clock, being nearly the
length of the Islands above mentioned, and designing to pass between them
and the Main, the Yawl, being thrown a stern by falling in upon a part of
the Shoal, She could not get over. We brought the Ship too, and Sent away
the Long boat (which we had a stern, and rigg'd) to keep in Shore upon
our Larboard bow, and the Pinnace on our Starboard; for altho' there
appear'd nothing in the Passage, yet I thought it necessary to take this
method, because we had a strong flood, which carried us on end very fast,
and it did not want much of high water. As soon as the Boats were ahead
we stood after them, and got through by noon, at which time we were by
observation in the Latitude of 10 degrees 36 minutes 30 seconds South.
The nearest part of the Main, and which we soon after found to be the
Northermost,* (* Cape York, the northernmost point of Australia.) bore
West southerly, distant 3 or 4 Miles; the Islands which form'd the
passage before mentioned extending from North to North 75 degrees East,
distant 2 or 3 Miles. At the same time we saw Islands at a good distance
off extending from North by West to West-North-West, and behind them
another chain of high land, which we likewise judged to be Islands.* (*
The islands around Thursday Island.) The Main land we thought extended as
far as North 71 degrees West; but this we found to be Islands. The point
of the Main, which forms one side of the Passage before mentioned, and
which is the Northern Promontory of this Country, I have named York Cape,
in honour of his late Royal Highness, the Duke of York.* (* Edward
Augustus, Duke of York and Albany, was a brother of George III.) It lies
in the Longitude of 218 degrees 24 minutes West, the North point in the
Latitude of 10 degrees 37 minutes South, and the East point in 10 degrees
41 minutes. The land over and to the Southward of this last point is
rather low and very flatt as far inland as the Eye could reach, and looks
barren. To the Southward of the Cape the Shore forms a large open bay,
which I called Newcastle bay, wherein are some small, low Islands and
shoals, and the land all about it is very low, flatt, and sandy. The land
on the Northern part of the Cape is rather more hilly, and the shore
forms some small bays, wherein there appear'd to be good Anchorage, and
the Vallies appear'd to be tolerably well Cloathed with wood. Close to
the East point of the Cape are 3 small Islands, and a small Ledge of
rocks spitting off from one of them. There is also an Island laying close
to the North Point. The other Islands before spoke of lay about 4 Miles
without these; only two of them are of any extent. The Southermost is the
largest, and much higher than any part of the Main land. On the
North-West side of this Island seem'd to be good Anchorage, and Vallies
that to all appearance would afford both wood and fresh Water. These
Isles are known in the Chart by the name of York Isles.* (* Now called
Mount Adolphus Islands.) To the Southward and South-East of them, and
even to the Eastward and Northward, are several low Islands, rocks, and
Shoals. Our depth of Water in sailing between them and the Main was 12,
13, and 14 fathoms.* (* In this channel is the dangerous rock on which
the steamship Quetta was wrecked, with such terrible loss of life, in
1890. By the Endeavour's track she must have passed very near it.)

[Land upon Possession Island.]

Wednesday, 22nd. Gentle breezes at East by South and clear weather. We
had not steer'd above 3 or 4 Miles along shore to the westward before we
discover'd the land ahead to be Islands detached by several Channels from
the main land; upon this we brought too to Wait for the Yawl, and called
the other Boats on board, and after giving them proper instructions, sent
them away again to lead us thro' the Channell next the Main, and as soon
as the Yawl was on board made sail after them with the Ship. Soon after
we discover'd rocks and Shoals in this Channell, upon which I made the
Signal for the boats to lead thro' the next Channel to the Northward* (*
This led to Endeavour Strait, but the recognised track is the channel
farther north.) laying between the Islands, which they accordingly did,
we following with the Ship, and had not less than 5 fathoms; and this in
the narrowest part of the Channel, which was about a Mile and a 1/2 broad
from Island to Island. At 4 o'Clock we Anchor'd about a Mile and a 1/2 or
2 Miles within the Entrance in 6 1/2 fathoms, clear ground, distance from
the Islands on each side of us one Mile, the Main land extending away to
the South-West; the farthest point of which we could see bore from us
South 48 degrees West, and the Southermost point of the Islands, on the
North-West side of the Passage, bore South 76 degrees West. Between these
2 points we could see no land, so that we were in great hopes that we had
at last found out a Passage into the Indian seas; but in order to be
better informed I landed with a party of men, accompanied by Mr. Banks
and Dr. Solander, upon the Islands which lies at the South-East point of
the Passage. Before and after we Anchor'd we saw a Number of People upon
this Island, Arm'd in the same manner as all the others we have seen,
Except one man, who had a bow and a bundle of Arrows, the first we have
seen upon this Coast. From the appearance of the people we expected they
would have opposed our landing; but as we approached the shore they all
made off, and left us in peaceable possession of as much of the Island as
served our purpose. After landing I went upon the highest hill, which,
however, was of no great height, yet no less than twice or thrice the
height of the Ship's Mastheads; but I could see from it no land between
South-West and West-South-West, so that I did not doubt but there was a
passage. I could see plainly that the lands laying to the North-West of
this passage were compos'd of a number of Islands of Various extent, both
for height and Circuit, ranged one behind another as far to the Northward
and Westward as I could see, which could not be less than 12 or 14

Having satisfied myself of the great Probability of a passage, thro'
which I intend going with the Ship, and therefore may land no more upon
this Eastern coast of New Holland, and on the Western side I can make no
new discovery, the honour of which belongs to the Dutch Navigators, but
the Eastern Coast from the Latitude of 38 degrees South down to this
place, I am confident, was never seen or Visited by any European before
us; and notwithstanding I had in the Name of his Majesty taken possession
of several places upon this Coast, I now once More hoisted English
Colours, and in the Name of His Majesty King George the Third took
possession of the whole Eastern coast from the above Latitude down to
this place by the Name of New Wales,* (* The Admiralty copy, as well as
that belonging to Her Majesty, calls it New South Wales. The island where
the ceremony was performed was named on Cook's chart Possession Island,
and is still so called.) together with all the Bays, Harbours, Rivers,
and Islands, situated upon the said Coast; after which we fired 3 Volleys
of small Arms, which were answer'd by the like number from the Ship.

This done, we set out for the Ship, but were some time in getting on
board on account of a very Rapid Ebb Tide, which set North-East out of
the Passage. Ever since we came in amongst the Shoals this last time we
have found a Moderate Tide; the flood setting to the North-West and Ebb
to the South-East; at this place is high water at full and change of the
moon, about 1 or 2 o'Clock, and riseth and falleth upon a perpendicular
about 10 or 12 feet. We saw upon all the Adjacent Lands and Islands a
great number of smokes--a certain sign that they are inhabited--and we
have daily seen smokes on every part of the Coast we have lately been
upon. Between 7 and 8 o'Clock a.m. we saw several naked people, all or
most of them Women, down upon the beach picking up Shells, etc.; they had
not a single rag of any kind of Cloathing upon them, and both these and
those we saw yesterday were in every respect the same sort of People we
have seen everywhere upon the Coast. 2 or 3 of the Men we saw Yesterday
had on pretty large breast plates, which we supposed were made of pearl
Oyster Shells; this was a thing, as well as the Bow and Arrows, we had
not seen before. At low water, which hapned about 10 o'Clock, we got
under sail, and stood to the South-West, with a light breeze at East,
which afterwards veer'd to North by East, having the Pinnace ahead; depth
of Water from 6 to 10 fathoms, except in one place, were we passed over a
Bank of 5 fathoms. At Noon Possession Island, at the South-East entrance
of the Passage, bore North 53 degrees East, distant 4 Leagues; the
Western extream of the Main land in sight South 43 degrees West, distant
4 or 5 Leagues, being all exceeding low. The South-West point of the
largest Island* (* Prince of Wales Island.) on the North-West side of the
passage bore North 71 degrees West, distant 8 Miles; this point I named
Cape Cornwall (Latitude 10 degrees 43 minutes South, Longitude 218
degrees 59 minutes West),* (* This longitude is 70 minutes too far west,
and one of the worst given in the Journal. There were no observations,
and the dead reckoning among the shoals was difficult to keep.) and some
low Islands lying about the Middle of the Passage, which I called
Wallace's Isles, bore West by South 1/2 South, distance about 2 Leagues.
Our Latitude by Observation was 10 degrees 46 minutes South.

[In Endeavour Strait, Torres Strait.]

Thursday, 23rd. In the P.M. had little wind and Variable, with which and
the Tide of Flood we keept advancing to the West-North-West; depth of
Water 8, 7, and 5 fathoms. At 1/2 past 1 the pinnace, which was ahead,
made the Signal for Shoal Water, upon which we Tackt and sent away the
Yawl to sound also, and then Tack'd again, and stood after them with the
Ship; 2 hours after this they both at once made the Signal for having
Shoal water. I was afraid to stand on for fear of running aground at that
time of the Tide, and therefore came to an Anchor in 1/4 less 7 fathoms,
sandy ground. Wallice's Islands bore South by West 1/2 West, distant 5 or
6 Miles, the Islands to the Northward extending from North 73 degrees
East to North 10 degrees East, and a small island* (* Booby Island.) just
in sight bearing North-West 1/2 West. Here we found the flood Tide set to
the Westward and Ebb to the Contrary. After we had come to Anchor I sent
away the Master with the Long boat to sound, who, upon his return in the
evening, reported that there was a bank stretching North and South, upon
which were 3 fathoms Water, and behind it 7 fathoms. We had it Calm all
Night and until 9 in the morning, at which time we weigh'd, with a light
breeze at South-South-East, and steer'd North-West by West for the Small
Island above mentioned, having first sent the Boats ahead to sound; depth
of Water 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, and 3 fathoms when upon the Bank,* (* The
Endeavour Strait is now little used, on account of this great bank, which
nearly bars its western part. There is, however, deeper water than Cook
found, a few miles to the southward; but it is just the difficulty of
finding this narrow pass, so far from land, and the fact that there is a
deep though narrow channel north of Prince of Wales Island, that has
caused it to be abandoned. The passage of Torres Strait is, however,
still an anxious bit of navigation.) it being now the last Quarter Ebb.
At this time the most Northermost Islands we had in sight bore North 9
degrees East; the South-West point of the largest Islands on the
North-West side of the Passage, which I named Cape Cornwall, bore East;
distant 3 Leagues. This bank, at least so much as we sounded, extends
nearly North and South, how far I cannot say; its breadth, however, is
not more than 1/4 or at most 1/2 a Mile. Being over the Bank, we deepned
our water to a 1/4 less 7 fathoms, which depth we carried all the way to
the small Island ahead, which we reached by Noon, at which time it bore
South, distant near 1/2 a Mile; depth of Water 5 fathoms. The most
northermost land we had in sight (being part of the same Chain of Islands
we have had to the Northward of us since we entered the Passage) bore
North 71 degrees East; Latitude in, by Observation, 10 degrees 33 minutes
South, Longitude 219 degrees 22 minutes West. In this situation we had no
part of the Main land in sight. Being now near the island, and having but
little wind, Mr. Banks and I landed upon it, and found it to be mostly a
barren rock frequented by Birds, such as Boobies, a few of which we
shott, and occasioned my giving it the name of Booby Island.* (* Booby
Island is now the great landmark for ships making Torres Strait from the
westward. There is a light upon it.) I made but very short stay at this
Island before I return'd to the Ship; in the meantime the wind had got to
the South-West, and although it blow'd but very faint, yet it was
accompanied with a Swell from the same quarter. This, together with other
concuring Circumstances, left me no room to doubt but we had got to the
Westward of Carpentaria, or the Northern extremity of New Holland, and
had now an open Sea to the Westward; which gave me no small satisfaction,
not only because the danger and fatigues of the Voyage was drawing near
to an end, but by being able to prove that New Holland and New Guinea are
2 separate Lands or Islands, which until this day hath been a doubtful
point with Geographers.* (* Luis Vaez de Torres, commanding a Spanish
ship in company with Quiros in 1605, separated from his companion in the
New Hebrides. He afterwards passed through the Strait separating New
Guinea from Australia, which now bears his name. This fact, however, was
little known, as the Spaniards suppressed all account of the voyage; and
though it leaked out later, the report was so vague that it was very much
doubted whether he had really passed this way. On most charts and maps of
the period, New Guinea was shown joined to Australia, and to Cook the
establishment of the Strait may fairly be given. Only the year before
Bougainville, the French navigator, who preceded Cook across the Pacific,
and who was steering across the Coral Sea on a course which would have
led him to Lizard Island, abandoned his search in that direction, after
falling in with two reefs to the eastward of the Barrier, because he
feared falling amongst other shoals, and had no faith whatever in the
reports of the existence of Torres Strait. Had he persevered, he would
have snatched from Cook the honour of the complete exploration of Eastern
Australia, and of the verification of the passage between it and New
Guinea. Bougainville paid dearly for his caution, as he found that
retracing his steps against the trade wind, in order to pass eastward and
northward of New Guinea, occupied such a weary time, that he and his
people were nearly starved before they reached a place of refreshment.)

[Description of Endeavour Strait.]

The North-East entrance of this passage or Strait lies in the Latitude of
10 degrees 27 minutes South, and in the Longitude of 218 degrees 36
minutes West from the Meridian of Greenwich.* (* As before mentioned,
this longitude is over a degree in error. The sun was not available for
lunars until the 24th August, and the first was observed on the 25th,
when the ship was at Booby Island; but the result is not recorded in Mr.
Green's log. Mr. Green was at this time ill. The latitude is a clerical
error for 10.37, which Cook's chart shows, and is nearly correct.) It is
form'd by the Main, or the northern extremity of New Holland, on the
South-East, and by a Congeries of Islands to North-West, which I named
Prince of Wales's Islands. It is very Probable that the Islands extend
quite to New Guinea;* (* This conjecture was very near the truth. The
whole of Torres Strait is obstructed by either islands or reefs that
leave very little passage.) they are of Various Extent both for height
and Circuit, and many of them seem'd to be indifferently well Cloath'd
with wood, etc., and, from the smokes we saw, some, if not all of them,
must be inhabited. It is also very probable that among these Islands are
as good, if not better, passages than the one we have come thro', altho'
one need hardly wish for a better, was the access to it from the Eastward
less dangerous; but this difficulty will remain until some better way is
found out than the one we came, which no doubt may be done was it ever to
become an object to be looked for.* (* It is the western and not the
eastern approach of Endeavour Strait that forms the difficulty, now the
locality has been charted, for vessels of deeper draught than the
Endeavour; though for small craft, as Cook says, you can hardly wish for
a better.) The northern Extent of the Main or outer reef, which limit or
bounds the Shoals to the Eastward, seems to be the only thing wanting to
Clear up this point; and this was a thing I had neither time nor
inclination to go about, having been already sufficiently harrass'd with
dangers without going to look for more.* (* The east coast of Australia,
which Cook had now followed from end to end, is 2000 miles in extent. He
took four months over it, much less time than he had given to New
Zealand; but this is easily accounted for. His people were getting worn
out, and he was haunted by fears of not getting off the coast before the
North-West monsoon set in, which would have been a foul wind for him in
getting from Torres Straits to Batavia, and his provisions were running
short. Besides this, there was the grave doubt whether Australia and New
Guinea were really separated. If this turned out to be false, there was a
long round to make, back to the eastern extremity of the latter, and the
voyage to Batavia would have been infinitely extended. Considering these
circumstances, Cook's exploration of the coast was wonderful, and the
charts attached to this book attest the skill and unwearied pains taken
in mapping it from such a cursory glance. He only stopped at four places:
Botany Bay, Bustard Bay, Thirsty Sound, and the Endeavour River; and from
the neighbourhood of these, with the view obtained as he coasted along,
he had to form his opinion of the country--an opinion, as we shall see,
singularly correct.)

This passage, which I have named Endeavour Straits, after the Name of the
Ship, is in length North-East and South-West 10 Leagues, and about 5
leagues broad, except at the North-East entrance, where it is only 2
Miles broad by reason of several small Islands which lay there, one of
which, called Possession Island, is of a Moderate height and Circuit;
this we left between us and the Main, passing between it and 2 Small
round Islands, which lay North-West 2 Miles from it. There are also 2
Small low Islands, called Wallice's Isles,* (* These are probably called
after Captain Wallis, who made a voyage across the Pacific in the Dolphin
in 1767, and discovered Tahiti.) laying in the Middle of the South-West
entrance, which we left to the southward; the depth of Water we found in
the Straits was from 4 to 9 fathoms. Every where good Anchorage, only
about 2 Leagues to the Northward of Wallice's Islands is a Bank, whereon
is not more than 3 fathoms at low Water, but probable there might be
found more was it sought for. I have not been particular in describing
this Strait, no more than I have been in pointing out the respective
Situations of the Islands, Shoals, etc., on the Coast of New Wales; for
these I refer to the Chart, where they are deliniated with all the
accuracy that Circumstances would admit of.

With respect to the Shoals that lay upon this Coast I must observe, for
the benefit of those who may come after me, that I do not believe the one
1/2 of them are laid down in my Chart; for it would be Absurd to suppose
that we Could see or find them all. And the same thing may in some
Measure be said of the Islands, especially between the Latitude of 20 and
22 degrees, where we saw Islands out at Sea as far as we could
distinguish any thing. However, take the Chart in general, and I believe
it will be found to contain as few Errors as most Sea Charts which have
not undergone a thorough correction.* (* Cook's pride in his chart is
well justified, as its general accuracy is marvellous, when one considers
that he simply sailed along the coast. The great feature of this shore,
however--the Barrier Reef--only appears on it at its northern end, where
its approach to the land caused Cook to make such unpleasant acquaintance
with it. See charts.) The Latitude and Longitude of all, or most of, the
principal head lands, Bays, etc., may be relied on, for we seldom fail'd
of getting an Observation every day to correct our Latitude by, and the
Observation for settling the Longitude were no less Numerous, and made as
often as the Sun and Moon came in play; so that it was impossible for any
Material error to creep into our reckoning in the intermediate times. In
justice to Mr. Green,* (* From this phrase, and from various remarks in
Mr. Green's own log, it would appear that Mr. Green was not very easy to
get on with; but there is no doubt of his unwearied zeal in astronomical
observations.) I must say that he was indefatigable in making and
calculating these observations, which otherwise must have taken up a
great deal of my time, which I could not at all times very well spare;
not only this, but by his instructions several of the petty Officers can
make and calculate these observations almost as well as himself. It is
only by such Means that this method of finding the Longitude at Sea can
be put into universal practice; a Method that we have generally found may
be depended upon within 1/2 a degree, which is a degree of Accuracy more
than sufficient for all Nautical purposes. Would Sea Officers once apply
themselves to the making and calculating these Observations they would
not find them so very difficult as they at first imagine, especially with
the Assistance of the Nautical Almanack and Astronomical Ephemeris, by
the help of which the Calculation for finding the Longitude takes up but
little more time than that of an Azimuth for finding the Variation of the
Compass; but unless this Ephemeris is Published for some time to come,
more than either one or 2 Years, it can never be of general use in long
Voyages, and in short Voyages it's not so much wanted.* (* The "Nautical
Almanac" was first published for 1767. That for 1770 was not published
until 1769; but it seems probable that Cook either had proof sheets, or
the manuscript calculations.) Without it the Calculations are Laborious
and discouraging to beginners, and such as are not well vers'd in these
kind of Calculations.

[Account of New South Wales Coast.]

SOME ACCOUNT OF NEW WALES.* (* Called in Admiralty and the Queen's Copy
New South Wales. It would appear that for this part of the voyage Mr.
Corner's copy was the first written, and that Cook's first idea was to
christen the country New Wales.)

In the Course of this Journal I have at different times made mention of
the Appearance or Aspect of the face of the Country, the Nature of the
Soil, its produce, etc. By the first it will appear that to the Southward
of 33 or 34 degrees the land in general is low and level, with very few
Hills or Mountains; further to the Northward it may in some places be
called a Hilly, but hardly anywhere can be called a Mountainous, Country,
for the Hills and Mountains put together take up but a small part of the
Surface in Comparison to what the Planes and Valleys do which intersect
or divide these Hills and Mountains. It is indifferently well water'd,
even in the dry Seasons, with small brooks and Springs, but no great
Rivers, unless it be in the Wet Season, when the low lands and Vallies
near the Sea, I do suppose, are mostly laid under Water. The Small Brooks
may then become large Rivers; but this can only happen with the Tropick.
It was only in Thirsty Sound that we could find no fresh Water, and that
no doubt was owing to the Country being there very much intersected with
Salt Creeks and Mangrove land.

The low land by the Sea, and even as far in land as we were, is for the
most part friable, loose, sandy Soil yet indifferently fertile, and
Cloathed with woods, long grass, shrubs, plants, etc. The Mountains or
Hills are checquer'd with woods and Lawns; some of the Hills are wholy
cover'd with Flourishing Trees; others but thinly, and the few that are
upon them are small, and the spot of Lawns or Savannahs are rocky and
barren, especially to the Northward, where the Country did not afford or
produce near the Vegetation that it does to the Southward, nor were the
Trees in the Woods half so tall and stout. The Woods do not produce any
great variety of Trees; there are only 2 or 3 sorts that can be called
Timber. The largest is the gum Tree, which grows all over the country;
the wood of this Tree is too hard and ponderous for most common uses. The
Tree which resembles our Pines I saw nowhere in perfection but in Botany
Bay; this wood, as I have before observed, is something of the same
Nature as American Live Oak; in short, most of the large Trees in this
Country are of a hard and ponderous nature, and could not be applied to
many purposes. Here are several sorts of the Palm kind, Mangrove, and
several other sorts of small Trees and Shrubs quite unknown to me,
besides a very great number of Plants hitherto unknown; but these things
are wholy out of my way to describe, nor will this be of any loss, since
not only plants, but every thing that can be of use to the Learned World
will be very accurately described by Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander. The Land
naturally produces hardly anything fit for Man to eat, and the Natives
know nothing of Cultivation. There are, indeed, growing wild in the wood
a few sorts of Fruit (the most of them unknown to us), which when ripe do
not eat amiss, one sort especially, which we called Apples, being about
the size of a Crab Apple it is black and pulpey when ripe, and tastes
like a Damson; it hath a large hard stone or Kernel, and grows on Trees
or Shrubs.* (* The Black Apple, or Sapota Australis.)

In the Northern parts of the Country, as about Endeavour River, and
probably in many other places, the Boggy or watery Lands produce Taara or
Cocos,* (* A species of Taro, Colocasia macrorhiza.) which, when properly
cultivated, are very good roots, without which they are hardly eatable;
the Tops, however, make very good greens.

Land Animals are scarce, so far as we know confin'd to a very few
species; all that we saw I have before mentioned. The sort which is in
the greatest Plenty is the Kangooroo or Kanguru, so called by the
Natives; we saw a good many of them about Endeavour River, but kill'd
only 3, which we found very good Eating. Here are likewise Lizards,
Snakes, Scorpions, Centapees, etc., but not in any plenty. Tame Animals
they have none but Dogs, and of these we saw but one, and therefore must
be very scarce, probably they eat them faster than they breed them; we
should not have seen this one had he not made us frequent Visits while we
lay in Endeavour River.

The land Fowls are Bustards, Eagles, Hawks, Crows, such as we have in
England, Cockatoes of 2 sorts, White and Brown, very beautiful Birds of
the Parrot kind, such as Lorryquets, etc., Pidgeons, Doves, Quails, and
several sorts of smaller birds. The Sea and Water Fowls are Herons,
Boobies, Noddies, Guls, Curlews, Ducks, Pelicans, etc., and when Mr.
Banks and Mr. Gore where in the Country, at the head of Endeavour River,
they saw and heard in the Night great numbers of Geese. The Sea is
indifferently well stocked with fish of Various sorts, such as Sharks,
Dog-fish, Rockfish, Mullets, Breams, Cavallies, Mack'rel, old wives,
Leather Jackets, Five Fingers,* (* Old wives are Enoploxus Armatus;
Leather jackets, Monacanthus; Five fingers, Chilodactylus.) Sting rays,
Whip rays, etc., all excellent in their kind. The Shell fish are Oysters
of 3 or 4 sorts, viz., Rock Oysters and Mangrove Oysters, which are
small, Pearl Oysters and Mud Oysters; these last are the best and Largest
I ever saw. Cockles and Clams of several sorts, many of those that are
found upon the Reefs are of a prodigious size, Craw fish, Crabs, Muscles,
and a variety of other sorts. Here are also upon the Shoals and Reefs
great Numbers of the finest Green Turtle in the world, and in the River
and Salt Creeks are some Aligators.

[Australian Natives.]

The Natives of this Country are of a middle Stature, streight Bodied and
Slender limb'd; their Skins the Colour of Wood soot, their Hair mostly
black, some Lank and others curled; they all wear it Cropt Short; their
Beards, which are generally black, they likewise crop short, or Singe
off. There features are far from being disagreeable, and their Voices are
soft and Tunable. They go quite Naked, both Men and Women, without any
manner of Cloathing whatever; even the Women do not so much as cover
their privities, altho' None of us was ever very near any of their Women,
one Gentleman excepted, yet we are all of us as well satisfied of this as
if we had lived among them. Notwithstanding we had several interviews
with the Men while we lay in Endeavour River, yet, wether through
Jealousy or disregard, they never brought any of their women along with
them to the Ship, but always left them on the Opposite side of the River,
where we had frequent Opportunities viewing them thro' our Glasses. They
wear as Ornaments, Necklaces made of Shells, Bracelets, or Hoops, about
their Arms, made mostly of Hair Twisted and made like a Cord Hoop; these
they wear tight about the upper parts of their Arms, and some have
Girdles made in the same manner. The Men wear a bone, about 3 or 4 Inches
long and a finger's thick, run thro' the Bridge* (* The cartilage of the
nostril. Banks mentions that the bluejackets called this queer ornament
the "spritsail yard.") of their Nose; they likewise have holes in their
Ears for Ear Rings, but we never saw them wear any; neither are all the
other Ornaments wore in Common, for we have seen as many without as with
them. Some of these we saw on Possession Island wore breast plates, which
we supposed were made of Mother of Pearl Shells. Many of them paint their
Bodies and faces with a Sort of White paste or Pigment; this they apply
different ways, each according to his fancy.

Their offensive weapons are Darts; some are only pointed at one end,
others are barb'd, some with wood, others with Stings of rays, and some
with Sharks' Teeth, etc.; these last are stuck fast on with Gum. They
throw the Darts with only one hand, in the doing of which they make use
of a piece of wood about 3 feet long, made thin like the blade of a
Cutlass, with a little hook at one End to take hold of the End of the
dart, and at the other end is fix'd a thin piece of bone about 3 or 4
Inches long; the use of this is, I believe, to keep the dart steady, and
to make it quit the hand in a proper direction. By the helps of these
throwing sticks, as we call them, they will hit a mark at the Distance of
40 or 50 yards, with almost, if not as much, Certainty as we can do with
a Musquet, and much more so than with a ball.* (* The invention of these
throwing sticks, and of the Boomerang, is sufficient to prove the
intelligence of the Australian aborigines.) These throwing sticks we at
first took for wooden swords, and perhaps on some occasions they may use
them as such; that is, when all their darts are expended. Be this as it
may, they never Travel without both them and their Darts, not for fear of
Enemies, but for killing of Game, etc., as I shall show hereafter. There
defensive weapons are Targets, made of wood; but these we never saw used
but once in Botany Bay.

I do not look upon them to be a warlike people; on the contrary, I think
them a Timerous and inoffensive race, no ways inclined to Cruelty, as
appear'd from their behaviour to one of our people in Endeavour River,
which I have before mentioned, neither are they very numerous. They live
in small parties along by the Sea Coast, the banks of Lakes, Rivers,
Creeks, etc. They seem to have no fixed habitation, but move about from
place to place like wild beasts in search of Food, and, I believe, depend
wholy upon the Success of the present day for their Subsistance. They
have wooden fish Gigs, with 2, 3, or 4 prongs, each very ingeniously
made, with which they strike fish. We have also seen them strike both
fish and birds with their Darts. With these they likewise kill other
Animals; they have also wooden Harpoons for striking Turtle, but of these
I believe they get but few, except at the seasons they come ashore to
lay. In short, these people live wholy by fishing and hunting, but mostly
by the former, for we never saw one Inch of Cultivated land in the whole
Country. They know, however, the use of Taara, and sometimes eat them; we
do not know that they Eat anything raw, but roast or broil all they eat
on slow small fires. Their Houses are mean, small Hovels, not much bigger
than an Oven, made of Peices of Sticks, Bark, Grass, etc., and even these
are seldom used but in the Wet seasons, for in the daytimes we know they
as often sleep in the Open Air as anywhere else. We have seen many of
their Sleeping places, where there has been only some branches or peices
of Bark, grass, etc., about a foot high on the Windward side.

[Australian Canoes.]

Their Canoes are as mean as can be conceived, especially to the
Southward, where all we saw were made of one peice of the Bark of Trees
about 12 or 14 feet long, drawn or Tied together at one end. As I have
before made mention, these Canoes will not Carry above 2 people, in
general there is never more than one in them; but, bad as they are, they
do very well for the purpose they apply them to, better than if they were
larger, for as they draw but little water they go in them upon the Mud
banks, and pick up Shell fish, etc., without going out of the Canoe. The
few Canoes we saw to the Northward were made out of a Log of wood
hollow'd out, about 14 feet long and very narrow, with outriggers; these
will carry 4 people. During our whole stay in Endeavour River we saw but
one Canoe, and had great reason to think that the few people that resided
about that place had no more; this one served them to cross the River and
to go a Fishing in, etc. They attend the Shoals, and flatts, one where or
another, every day at low water to gather Shell fish, or whatever they
can find to eat, and have each a little bag to put what they get in; this
bag is made of net work. They have not the least knowledge of Iron or any
other Metal that we know of; their working Tools must be made of Stone,
bone, and Shells; those made of the former are very bad, if I may judge
from one of their Adzes I have seen.

Bad and mean as their Canoes are, they at Certain seasons of the Year (so
far as we know) go in them to the most distant Islands which lay upon the
Coast, for we never landed upon one but what we saw signs of People
having been there before. We were surprized to find Houses, etc., upon
Lizard Island, which lies 5 Leagues from the nearest part of the Main; a
distance we before thought they could not have gone in their Canoes.

The Coast of this Country, at least so much of it as lays to the
Northward of 25 degrees of Latitude, abounds with a great Number of fine
bays and Harbours, which are Shelter'd from all winds; but the Country
itself, so far as we know, doth not produce any one thing that can become
an Article in Trade to invite Europeans to fix a settlement upon it.
However, this Eastern side is not that barren and miserable country that
Dampier and others have described the Western side to be. We are to
consider that we see this country in the pure state of nature; the
Industry of Man has had nothing to do with any part of it, and yet we
find all such things as nature hath bestow'd upon it in a flourishing
state. In this Extensive Country it can never be doubted but what most
sorts of Grain, Fruit, roots, etc., of every kind would flourish here
were they once brought hither, planted and Cultivated by the hands of
Industry; and here are Provender for more Cattle, at all seasons of the
Year, than ever can be brought into the Country.* (* It says a good deal
for Cook's penetration that he wrote like this, for the coast of
Australia is not promising, especially in the dry season; and coming as
he did from the more apparently fertile countries of Tahiti and New
Zealand, Australia must have appeared but a barren land.) When one
considers the Proximity of this Country with New Guinea, New Britain, and
several other Islands which produce Cocoa Nutts and many other fruits
proper for the support of man, it seems strange that they should not long
ago be Transplanted here; by its not being done it should seem that the
Natives of this Country have no commerce with their Neighbours, the New
Guineans.* (* The climate is too dry for the cocoanut palm.) It is very
probable that they are a different people, and speak a different
Language. For the advantage of such as want to Clear up this point I
shall add a small Vocabulary of a few Words in the New Holland Language
which we learnt when in Endeavour River.* (* The languages of the
different tribes differ very much. This results from the continual state
of war in which they live, as they have no communication the one with the


The Head : Whageegee.
The Hair of the head : Morye or More.
The Eyes : Meul.
The Ears : Melea.
The Lips : Yembe or Jembi.
The Teeth : Mulere or Moile.
The Chinn : Jaeal.
The Beard : Waller.
The Tongue : Unjar.
The Nose : Bonjoo.
The Naval : Toolpoor or Julpur.
The Penis : Keveil or Kerrial.
The Scrotum : Coonal or Kunnol.
The Arms : Aw or Awl.
The Hand : Marigal.
The Thumb : Eboorbalga.
The Fore, Middle and Ring fingers : Egalbaiga.
Little Finger : Nakil or Eboonakil.
The Thighs : Coman.
The Knees : Ponga.
The Legs : Peegoorgo.
The Feet : Edamal.
The Nails : Kolke or Kulke.
A Stone : Walba.
Sand : Joo'wal, Yowall, or Joralba.
A Rope or Line : Goorgo or Gurka.
Fire : Maianang or Meanang.
The Sun : Galan or Gallan.
The Sky : Kere or Kearre.
A Father : Dunjo.
A Son : Jumurre.
A Man : Bamma or Ba ma.
A Dog : Cotta or Kota.
A Lorryquet : Perpere or Pier-pier.
A Cocatoo : Wanda.
Male Turtle : Poonja or Poinja.
Female : Mamingo.
A great Cockle : Moenjo or Moingo.
Cocos Yams : Maracotu (?).
A Canoe : Maragan.

[Australian Natives.]

From what I have said of the Natives of New Holland they may appear to
some to be the most wretched People upon Earth; but in reality they are
far more happier than we Europeans, being wholy unacquainted not only
with the Superfluous, but with the necessary Conveniences so much sought
after in Europe; they are happy in not knowing the use of them. They live
in a Tranquility which is not disturbed by the Inequality of Condition.
The earth and Sea of their own accord furnishes them with all things
necessary for Life. They covet not Magnificient Houses, Household-stuff,
etc.; they live in a Warm and fine Climate, and enjoy every wholesome
Air, so that they have very little need of Cloathing; and this they seem
to be fully sencible of, for many to whom we gave Cloth, etc., left it
carelessly upon the Sea beach and in the Woods, as a thing they had no
manner of use for; in short, they seem'd to set no Value upon anything we
gave them, nor would they ever part with anything of their own for any
one Article we could offer them. This, in my opinion, Argues that they
think themselves provided with all the necessarys of Life, and that they
have no Superfluities.* (* The native Australians may be happy in their
condition, but they are without doubt among the lowest of mankind.
Confirmed cannibals, they lose no opportunity of gratifying their love of
human flesh. Mothers will kill and eat their own children, and the women
again are often mercilessly illtreated by their lords and masters. There
are no chiefs, and the land is divided into sections, occupied by
families, who consider everything in their district as their own.
Internecine war exists between the different tribes, which are very
small. Their treachery, which is unsurpassed, is simply an outcome of
their savage ideas, and in their eyes is a form of independence which
resents any intrusion on THEIR land, THEIR wild animals, and THEIR rights
generally. In their untutored state they therefore consider that any
method of getting rid of the invader is proper. Both sexes, as Cook
observed, are absolutely nude, and lead a wandering life, with no fixed
abode, subsisting on roots, fruits, and such living things as they can
catch. Nevertheless, although treated by the coarser order of colonists
as wild beasts to be extirpated, those who have studied them have formed
favourable opinions of their intelligence. The more savage side of their
disposition being, however, so very apparent, it is not astonishing that,
brought into contact with white settlers, who equally consider that they
have a right to settle, the aborigines are rapidly disappearing.)

I shall conclude the account of this Country with a few observations on
the Currents and Tides upon the Coast, because I have mentioned in the
Course of this Journal that the latter hath sometimes set one way and
sometimes another, which I shall Endeavour to account for in the best
manner I can. From the Latitude of 32 degrees, or above downwards to
Sandy Cape in the Latitude of 24 degrees 46 minutes, we constantly found
a Current setting to the Southward at the rate of 10 or 15 Miles per Day,
more or less, according to the distance we were from the land, for it
runs stronger in shore than in the Offing. All this time I had not been
able to satisfy myself whether the flood-tide came from the Southward,
Eastward, or Northward, but judged it to come from the South-East; but
the first time we anchor'd upon the coast, which was in the Latitude of
24 degrees 30 minutes, and about 10 Leagues to the South-East of Bustard
Bay, we found there the flood to come from the North-West. On the
Contrary, 30 Leagues further to the North-West, on the South side of
Keppel Bay, we found the Flood to come from the East, and at the Northern
part of the said Bay we found it come from the Northward, but with a much
Slower Motion than the Easterly Tide. Again, on the East side of the Bay
of Inlets we found the flood to set strong to the Westward as far as the
Op'ning of Broad sound, but on the North side of that sound the flood
come with a Slow motion from the North-West; and when at Anchor before
Repulse bay we found the flood to come from the northward. We need only
admit the flood tide to come from the East or South-East, and then all
these seeming Contradictions will be found to be conformable to reason
and experience. It is well known that where there are deep Inlets, large
Creeks, etc., into low lands, that it is not occasioned by fresh water
Rivers; there is a very great indraught of the Flood Tide, the direction
of which will be determin'd according to the possition or direction of
the Coast which forms the Entrance into such Inlets; and this direction
the Tide must follow, let it be ever so contrary to their general Course
out at Sea, and where the Tides are weak, as they are in general upon
this Coast, a large Inlet will, if I may so call it, attract the Flood
tide for many Leagues. Any one need only cast an Eye over the Chart to be
made sencible of what I have advanced. To the Northward of Whitsundays
Passage there are few or no large Inlets, and consequently the Flood sets
to the Northward or North-West, according to the direction of the Coast,
and Ebb the Contrary; but this is to be understood at a little distance
from land, or where there is no Creeks or Inlets, for where such are, be
they ever so small, they draw the flood from the Southward, Eastward, and
Northward, and, as I found by experience, while we lay in Endeavour
River.* (* Cook's reasoning on the course of the flood stream is quite
sound.) Another thing I have observed upon the Tides which ought to be
remarked, which is that there is only one high Tide in 24 Hours, and that
is the night Tide. On the Spring Tides the difference between the
perpendicular rise of the night and day Tides is not less than 3 feet,
which is a great deal where the Tides are so inconsiderable, as they are
here.* (* This difference in the heights of consecutive tides is termed
the diurnal inequality. It results from the tide wave being made up of a
large number of undulations, some caused by the moon, some by the sun;
some occurring twice a day, others only once. It occurs in all parts of
the world, but is inconspicuous on the coasts of Europe. In Australia it
is very marked, and occasions the night tides to be the highest at one
time of the year, when the Endeavour was on the coast, and the day tides
at the other. There are places on the east coast of Australia where the
range of the tide is very great, but Cook did not anchor at any of them.)
This inequality of the Tide I did not observe till we run ashore; perhaps
it is much more so to the Northward than to the Southward. After we had
got within the Reefs the second time we found the Tides more considerable
than at any time before, except in the Bay of Inlets. It may be owing to
the water being confin'd in Channels between the Shoals, but the flood
always set to the North-West to the extremity of New Wales, from thence
West and South-West into the India Seas.

[Historical Notes, East Coast of Australia.]


PREVIOUS to Cook's visit no European, so far as is known, had ever
sighted the East Coast of Australia, or, as it was then called, New
Holland. The Dutch had examined and mapped the shores from the Gulf of
Carpentaria on the north round by the west to Van Dieman's Land or
Tasmania, but had not decided whether the latter was a part of the
mainland or no. Dampier, in 1699, had the intention of passing south to
explore the unknown eastern shore, but never carried it out, confining
his attention to the northern part of the west coast, with which, and
with good reason, he was not favourably impressed.

On all maps of the time, the east coast, from Tasmania to the north, was
shown as a dotted and more or less straight line, Tasmania being joined
at the south, and generally New Guinea at the north.

There is indeed one manuscript known as the Dauphin's Map, a copy of
which is in the British Museum, of the date of about 1540, which shows a
certain amount of the north-east coast, and has been thought by some to
prove that some one had visited it. But an inspection of it shows that it
is far more probably a case of imaginative coast drawing, such as occurs
in other places in the same map, and in many others of the same and later
dates, and there is certainly no record of any voyage to this coast.

After Cook's exploration it remained unvisited until 1788, when, owing
mainly to Banks' influence, Botany Bay was pitched upon as a convict
settlement, and a squadron, consisting of H.M.S. Sirius, the Supply brig,
3 storeships, and 6 transports, under the command of Captain Arthur
Phillip, R.N., which had sailed from England on May 13th, 1787, arrived
in that bay on January 18th, 1788, but immediately moved into Port
Jackson, where the settlement of Sydney was formed.

The early history of the Colony was one of struggle and starvation, and
it was many years before any prosperity was attained. In 1839 the
deportation of convicts ceased, but it was not until 1851, when gold was
found, that free settlers in any large number came to the Colony.

Queensland, formerly the northern part of New South Wales, was formed a
separate Colony in 1859.

A white population of about 1,500,000 now inhabits the eastern part of
Australia, first explored by Cook, and their numbers are rapidly

Although the products of the Colonies are mainly agricultural and
mineral, a very large proportion of this population are in the large

Sydney contains 230,000, Newcastle 20,000, Brisbane 55,000, Rockhampton

Wool, one of the staple products, is obtained from some 80,000,000 sheep,
which, as Cook foresaw, have thriven well; and with 8,000,000 head of
cattle supply another export in the shape of frozen meat. Coal and other
minerals employ a large number of people, and the total value of exports
amounts to about 24,000,000 pounds.

The uninhabited shores and untracked seas of Cook's time, only 120 years
ago, are thus now teeming with life and trade; and it is no wonder that
the name of the great explorer is more venerated, and the memory of his
deeds is more fresh, in the Colonies than in the Mother country that sent
him forth to find new fields for British enterprise.


[August 1770.]

FRIDAY, 24th. In the P.M. had light Airs from the South-South-West, with
which, after leaving Booby Island, as before mentioned, we steer'd
West-North-West until 5 o'clock, when it fell Calm, and the Tide of Ebb
which sets to the North-East soon after making, we Anchor'd in 8 fathoms
soft sandy bottom, Booby Island bearing South 50 degrees East, distant 5
miles; Prince of Wales Isles extending from North-East by North to South
55 degrees East. There appear'd to be an open clear passage between these
Islands extending from North 64 degrees East to East by North. At 1/2
past 5 in the morning in purchasing* (* Weighing the anchor.) the Anchor,
the Cable parted about 8 or 10 fathoms from the Anchor; I immediately
order'd another Anchor to be let go, which brought the ship up before she
had drove a cable's length from the Buoy; after this we carried out a
Kedge, and warped the ship nearer to it, and then endeavour'd to sweep
the Anchor with a Hawser, but miss'd it, and broke away the Buoy rope.*
(* The kedge is a small anchor. Sweeping is dragging the middle of a
rope, or hawser, held at the two ends from two boats some distance apart,
along the bottom, with the object of catching the fluke of the anchor as
it lies on the bottom, and so recovering it. It is a long and wearisome
operation if the bottom is uneven. Cook, however, having already lost one
of his large anchors, could not afford to leave this without an effort.)
We made several Attempts afterwards, but did not succeed. While the Boats
were thus employed we hove up the Kedge Anchor, it being of no more use.
At Noon Latitude observed 10 degrees 30 minutes South. Winds at
North-East, a fresh breeze; the Flood Tide here comes from the same

Saturday, 25th. Winds at North-East and East-North-East, a gentle breeze.
Being resolv'd not to leave the Anchor behind while there remain'd the
least probability of getting of it, after dinner I sent the Boats again
to sweep for it first with a small line, which succeeded, and now we
know'd where it lay we found it no very hard matter to sweep it with a
Hawser. This done, we hove the Ship up to it by the same Hawser, but just
as it was almost up and down the Hawser slip'd, and left us all to do
over again. By this time it was dark, and obliged us to leave off until
daylight in the morning, when we sweep'd it again, and hove it up to the
bows, and by 8 o'Clock weigh'd the other anchor, got under sail, and
stood away North-West, having a fresh breeze at East-North-East. At Noon
we were by observation in the Latitude of 10 degrees 18 minutes South,
Longitude 219 degrees 39 minutes West, having no land in sight, but about
2 miles to the Southward of us lay a Shoal,* (* Cook Reef.) on which the
Sea broke, and I believe a part of it dry. At low Water it extended
North-West and South-East, and might be about 4 or 5 Leagues in Circuit;
depth of Water at this time and since we weigh'd 9 fathoms.

Sunday, 26th. Fresh breezes at East in standing to the North-West. We
began to Shoalden our water from 9 to 7 fathoms, and at 1/2 past one,
having run 11 Miles since Noon, the boat which was a head made the signal
for Shoal Water, immediately upon which we let go an Anchor, and brought
the Ship up with the sails standing as the boats was but a little way
ahead, having but just relieved the Crew, and at same time we saw from
the Ship Shoal Water* (* Cook Shoal.) in a manner all round us, and both
wind and Tide setting upon it. We lay in 6 fathoms with the Ship, but
upon sounding about her found hardly 2 fathoms, a very rocky bottom, not
much above 1/2 a cable's length from us from the east round by the North
and West as far as South-West, so that there was no way to get clear but
the way we came. This was one of the many Fortunate Escapes we have had
from Shipwreck, for it was near high water, and there run a short
cockling sea that would soon have bulged the Ship had she struck. These
Shoals that lay a fathom or 2 under Water are the most dangerous of any,
for they do not shew themselves until you are close upon them, and then
the water upon them looks brown like the reflection of dark clouds.
Between 3 and 4 the Ebb began to make, when I sent the Master to sound to
the Southward and South Westward, and in the meantime, as the Ship
tended,* (* Swung to the tide.) hove up the Anchor, and with a little
Sail stood to the Southward and afterwards edged away to the Westward,
and got once more out of danger, where at sun set we Anchor'd in 10
fathoms Sandy bottom. Having a fresh of wind at East-South-East, at 6
o'clock in the morning we weighed and stood West, with a fresh of wind at
East, having first sent a boat ahead to sound. I did intend to have
steer'd North-West until we had made the Coast of New Guinea, designing
if Possible to touch upon that Coast, but the meeting with these Shoals
last night made me Alter the Course to West, in hopes of meeting with
fewer dangers and deeper Water; and this we found, for by Noon we had
deepned our water gradually to 17 fathoms, and this time we were by
observation in the Latitude of 10 degrees 10 minutes South, Longitude 220
degrees 12 minutes West. Course and distance sail'd since yesterday at
noon North 76 degrees West, 11 Leagues, no land in sight.

[Off South Coast of New Guinea.]

Monday, 27th. Fresh breezes between the East by North and
East-South-East, with which we steer'd West until sun set; depth of Water
from 27 to 23 fathoms. We now Reef'd the Topsails, shortened Sail, and
hoisted in the pinnace and Long boat up alongside, and afterwards kept
upon a Wind all night under our Topsails, 4 hours on one Tack and four
hours on the other; depth of Water 25 fathoms, very even soundings. At
daylight made all the Sail we could, and steer'd West-North-West until 8
o'clock, then North-West; at Noon we were by Observation in the Latitude
of 9 degrees 56 minutes South, Longitude 221 degrees 00 minutes West;
Variation 2 degrees 30 minutes East. Course and distance sail'd since
yesterday at Noon North 73 degrees 33 minutes West, 49 miles.

Tuesday, 28th. Fresh breezes at East and East by South and fair weather.
Continued a North-West Course until sun set, at which time we shortned
sail, and haul'd close upon a Wind to the Northward; depth of Water 21
fathoms. At 8 Tack'd and stood to the Southward until 12, then stood to
the Northward under little Sail until daylight, sounding from 25 to 17
fathoms; Shoalding as we stood to the Northward. At this time we made
sail and steer'd North in order to make the land of New Guinea; from the
time of our making sail until noon the depth of Water gradually decreased
from 17 to 12 fathoms, a stony and shelly bottom. We were now by
Observation in the Latitude of 8 degrees 52 minutes South, which is in
the same Parrallel as the Southern parts of New Guinea as it is laid down
in the Charts; but there are only 2 points so far to the South, and I
reckon we are a degree to the Westward of both, and for that reason do
not see the Land which trends more to the Northward. Our Course and
distance sail'd since Yesterday is North-North-West, 69 Miles; Longitude
in 221 degrees 27 minutes West. The Sea in many places is here cover'd
with a kind of a brown scum, such as Sailors generally call spawn; upon
our first seeing it it alarm'd us, thinking we were among Shoals, but we
found the same depth of Water were it was as in other places; neither Mr.
Banks nor Dr. Solander could tell what it was, altho' they had of it to

Wednesday, 29th. Continued standing to the Northward, with a fresh gale
at East by South and South-East until 6 o'clock, having very irregular
and uncertain soundings from 24 to 7 fathoms. At 4 we made the Land from
the Mast head, bearing North-West by North, and which appear'd to be very
low. At 6 it extended from West-North-West to North-North-East, distant 4
or 5 Leagues. At this time hauld close upon a wind to the Eastward until
7 o'clock, then Tack'd and stood to the Southward until 12, at which time
we wore and stood to the Northward until 4, then lay her Head off until
daylight, when we again saw the Land, and stood North-North-West directly
for it, having a fresh gale at East by South. Our Soundings in the night
were from 17 to 5 fathoms, very irregular, without any sort of Rule with
respect to our distance from the Land. At 1/2 past 6 a small low island,
laying about a League from the Main, bore North by West, distant 5 miles;
this island lays in the Latitude of 8 degrees 13 minutes South, Longitude
221 degrees 25 minutes West. I find it laid down in the Charts by the
Name of St. Bartholomew or Whermoysen. We now steer'd North-West by West,
West-North-West, West by North, West by South, and South-West by West, as
we found the land to lay, having a Boat ahead of the Ship sounding; depth
of water from 5 to 9 fathoms. When in 7, 8 or 9 fathoms we could but just
see the Land from the Deck; but I did not think we were at above 4
Leagues off, because the land is exceeding low and level, and appeared to
be well cover'd with wood; one sort appeared to us to be Cocoa Nutt
Trees. By the Smookes we saw in different parts as we run along shore we
were assured that the Country is inhabited. At Noon we were about 3
Leagues from the land, the Westermost part of which that we could see
bore South 79 degrees West; our Latitude by Observation was 8 degrees 19
minutes South, Longitude 221 degrees 44 minutes West. The Island, St.
Bartholomew, bore North 74 degrees East, distant 20.* (* The ship was now
off the south coast of New Guinea, and near what is known as Princess
Marianne Strait, which separates Frederick Henry Island from the main
island. All this coast is very shallow, but very imperfectly charted to
the present day.)

Thursday, 30th. Fresh breezes at South-East, East-South-East, and East by
South. After steering South-West by West, 6 miles, we discover'd on our
Starboard bow and ahead a Strong appearance of Shoal Water, and by this
time we had Shoald our water from 10 to 5 fathoms; upon which I made the
Pinnace Signal to Edge down to it, but she not going far enough, we sent
the Yawl to sound in it, and at the same time hauld off close upon a
Wind, with the Ship until 4, at which time we had run 6 Miles, but did
not depen our water anything. We then Edged away South-West, 4 Miles
more, but finding still Shoal Water we brought too, and call'd the Boats
on board by Signal, hoisted them in, and then hauld off close upon a
wind, being at this time about 3 or 4 Miles from the Land. The Yawl found
only 3 fathoms water in the place where I sent her to sound, which place
I weather'd about 1/2 a mile. Between 1 and 2 we passed a Bay or Inlet,
before which lies a small Island that seems to Shelter it from the
Southerly winds; but I very much doubt their being Water behind it for
Shipping. I could not attempt it because the South-East Trade wind blows
right in, and we have not as yet had any land breezes. We stretched off
to Sea until 12 o'Clock, at which time we were 10 and 11 Leagues from the
Land, and had depen'd our Water to 29 fathoms; we now tack'd and stood in
until 4 o'Clock, when, being in 6 1/2 fathoms, we tack'd and lay her head
off until day light, at which time we saw the land bearing North-West by
West, distant about 4 Leagues. We now made sail and steer'd
West-South-West, and then West by South, but coming into 54 fathoms we
hauld off South-West until we depen'd our Water to 8 fathoms; we then
keept away West by South and West, having 9 fathoms and the Land just in
sight from the Deck, which we judged not above 3 or 4 Leagues off, as it
is everywhere exceeding low. At Noon we were by Observation in the
Latitude of 8 degrees 38 minutes South, Longitude 222 degrees 34 minutes
West. St. Bartholomew Isle bore North 69 degrees East, distant 74 Miles.

[Off Cape Walsche, New Guinea.]

Friday, 31st. Between 12 and 1 in the P.M. Steer'd North-North-West, in
which time we Shoalded our Water from 8 to 5 1/2, which I thought was
little enough, and therefore keept away again West, and soon depen'd it
to 7 fathoms, which depth we keept until 6, having the land just in sight
from the Deck. At this time the Western Extream bore North, distant about
4 Leagues, and Seem'd to end in a point and turn away to the Northward;
we took it to be Point St. Augustine or Walsche Caep, Latitude 8 degrees
24 minutes South, Longitude 222 degrees 55 minutes West.* (* This
position is correct. Mr. Green had been assiduously observing lunars, and
it appears strange that the error of the position of the north point of
Australia was not discovered; but doubtless the discrepancy was put down
to current.) We now shortned sail and hauld off South-South-West and
South by West, having the wind at South-East and South-East by East, a
Gentle breeze; we stood off 16 Miles, having from 7 to 27 fathoms,
deepning gradually as we run off. At midnight we Tacked and stood in
until daylight, at which time we could see no land, and yet we had only 5
1/2 fathoms. We now Steer'd North-West, having the same deepth of Water
until near 9 o'Clock, when we began to Depen our Water to 6 1/2 and 7
fathoms. By this I thought that we were far Enough to the Westward of the
Cape, and might haul to the Northward with Safety, which we now did,
having the Wind at North-East by East, a light breeze. By Noon we had
increased our Water to 9 fathoms, and were by Observation in the Latitude
of 8 degrees 10 minutes South, which was 10 Miles to the Northward of
that given by the Log; by which I conjectur'd that we had meet with a
strong Current setting round the Cape, not only to the Northward, but to
the Westward also, otherwise we ought to have seen the Land, which we did

[September 1770.]

Saturday, 1st September. In the P.M. and most part of the night had a
fresh breeze from the South-East with which we keept standing in for the
land North-East and East-North-East, close upon a wind, until half past
6, when we Anchor'd in 4 1/2 fathoms, soft muddy bottom, as we have every
were found upon the Coast. About an hour before we Anchor'd we saw the
land from the Mast head extending from the East by North to
South-South-East, all very low; at the time we Anchor'd we found a small
drean* (* Drain.) of a Tide setting away to the North-West, which
continued until 2 in the morning, when the Water had fell 9 feet or
better. This Tide of Ebb was then succeeded by the Flood, which came from
the South-West; yet we did not find the Water to rise much upon a
perpendicular, or else the greatest fall of the Tide had not been well
attended to in the night, for at 6, when we got under sail, we had no
more than 3 fathoms under the ship, and yet we could not see the land
from the Deck. After getting under sail we stood to the Northward with a
light breeze at East, and deepned our Water by noon to 10 fathoms, having
the Land just in sight from the Mast head to the South-East. At this time
we were in the Latitude of 7 degrees 39 minutes South, Longitude 222
degrees 42 minutes West; Port St. Augustine bore South 10 degrees West,
distant 15 Leagues.

Sunday, 2nd. In the P.M. had Calm until 2, when a light breeze sprung up
at North by East, and we stood in for the Land East by North until 5, at
which time we got the wind from the South-West, a light breeze, with
which we steer'd North-East, edging in for the land, having it in sight
from the Deck, and which I judged to be about 3 or 4 Leagues off, being
very low land. Found the Variation to be 2 degrees 34 minutes East, and a
little before 8 o'Clock, having but little wind, we Anchor'd in 7
fathoms, soft Muddy bottom. In the Afternoon and evening we saw several
Sea Snakes, some of which the people in the Boat alongside took up by
hand. At daylight in the Morning we got under sail, and stood away to the
North-North-East, having a fresh gale at East, which by noon brought us
into the Latitude of 7 degrees 14 minutes South, Longitude 222 degrees 30
minutes West; Depth of Water 13 fathoms. Course and distance sail'd since
Yesterday Noon is North 24 degrees East, 27 Miles, having at this time no
land in sight, for the Land, according to the Charts, trends more
Easterly than the Wind would permit us to sail.

Monday, 3rd. Steer'd North by East, with a fresh breeze at East by North
until 7 in the Evening, when the wind came to South-East by South, with
which we keept standing to the Eastward close upon a wind all Night,
having from 17 to 10 fathoms pretty even Soundings. At daylight we saw
the land extending from North by East to South-East, distant about 4
Leagues. We still keept standing in for it, having the advantage of a
fresh gale at East-South-East and East by South, until near 9, when,
being about 3 or 4 Miles off, and in 3 fathoms, we brought too and I went
ashore in the pinnace, accompanied by Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander, having
a mind to land once in this Country before we quit it Altogether, which I
now am determin'd to do without delay; for I found that it is only
spending time to little purpose, and carrying us far out of our way,
staying upon this Coast, which is so shallow that we can hardly keep
within sight of land.

[Land in New Guinea.]

At the time we put off from the Ship we saw not the least sign of
inhabitants; but we had no sooner landed than we saw the print of Men's
feet fresh upon the sand, and a little way farther we found a small Shed
or Hutt, about which lay green shells of Cocoa Nutts. By this we were
well assured that the inhabitants were not far off; nay, we thought we
heard their Voices in the woods, which were so close and thick that we
did not think it safe to venture in, for fear of an Ambuscade, as we had
only a Boat's crew with us, a part of which were left to look after the
boat, which lay about a 1/4 of a Mile from the Shore. We therefore took a
walk upon the Sea beach, but had not gone above 200 Yards before we were
attack'd by 3 or 4 Men, who came out of the woods a little before us, but
upon our firing upon them they retir'd. Finding that we could not search
the Country with any degree of Safety, we return'd to the boat, and was
followed by 60, or, as some thought, about 100, of the Natives, who had
advanced in small parties out of the woods; but they suffer'd us to go to
our boats without giving us any trouble. We had now time to view them
attentively; we thought them to be about the size and Colour of the New
Hollanders, with short, Cropt Hair, and quite naked like them. I thought
these of a lighter Colour; but that may be owing to a whitish Pigment
with which we thought their bodies were painted, because some appeared
darker than others.

Their Arms were ordinary darts of about 4 feet long, made of a kind of
reed, and pointed at one end with hard wood; but what appear'd more
extraordinary to us was something they had which caused a flash of fire
or Smoak, very much like the going off of a pistol or small Gun, but
without any report. The deception was so great that the people in the
Ship actually thought that they had fire Arms; indeed, they seem'd to use
these things in imitation of such, for the moment the first man we saw
made his appearance he fir'd off one of these things, and while we lay
looking at them in the boat 4 or 5 would let them off all at once, which
had all the appearance in the world of Volleys of Small Arms; but I am
confident that nothing came from them but smook, but by what means this
was done, or what purpose it answer'd, we were not able to Guess. I
thought the Combustable matter was contain'd in a reed or piece of small
Bamboo, which they gave a Swing round in the hand and caused it to go
off.* (* The natives carry hollow canes with burning tinder for making

This place lies in the Latitude of 6 degrees 15 minutes South, about 65
Leagues to the North-East of Point St. Augustine, or Walsche Caep, and is
near to what is called in the Charts by the long name of Cape de la Colta
de St. Bonaventura.* (* Cook's landing place in New Guinea, on the
western side of this great island, was on a part of the coast scarcely
known to this day. It is in the part of the island claimed by the Dutch.
Cook's insatiable desire to explore is well shown in this digression from
his course to Batavia.) The land is very low, like every other part of
the Coast we have seen here; it is thick and Luxuriously cloathed with
woods and Verdure, all of which appear Green and flourishing. Here were
Cocoa nutt Trees, Bread Fruit Trees, and Plantain Trees, but we saw no
fruit but on the former, and these were small and Green; the other Trees,
Shrubs, Plants, etc., were likewise such as is common in the South Sea
Islands and in New Holland.

Upon my return to the Ship we hoisted in the boat and made sail to the
Westward, with a design to leave the Coast altogether. This, however, was
contrary to the inclination and opinion of some of the Officers, who
would have had me send a Party of Men ashore to cut down the Cocoa Nutt
Trees for the sake of the Nutts; a thing that I think no man living could
have justified, for as the Natives had attacked us for meer landing
without taking away one thing, certainly they would have made a Vigerous
effort to have defended their property; in which case many of them must
have been kill'd, and perhaps some of our own people too, and all this
for 2 or 300 Green Cocoa Nutts, which, when we had got them, would have
done us little service; besides nothing but the utmost necessity would
have obliged me to have taken this method to come at refreshments.

It's true I might have gone farther along the Coast to the Northward and
Westward until we had found a place where the Ship could lay so near the
Shore as to cover the people with her Guns when landed; but it is very
probable that before we had found such a place we should have been
carried so far to the West as to have been obliged to have gone to
Batavia by the way of the Moluccas, and on the North side of Java, where
we were all utter Strangers. This I did not think was so safe a Passage
as to go to the South of Java and thro' the Straits of Sunda, the way I
propose to myself to go. Besides, as the Ship is leakey, we are not yet
sure wether or no we shall not be obliged to heave her down at Batavia;
in this case it becomes the more necessary that we should make the best
of our way to that place, especially as no new discovery can be Expected
to be made in these Seas, which the Dutch have, I believe, long ago
narrowly examin'd, as appears from 3 Maps bound up with the French
History of Voyages to the Terra Australis, published in 1756,* (* De
Brye's Voyages.) which Maps, I do suppose, by some means have been got
from the Dutch, as we found the Names of many of the places are in that

It should likewise seem from the same Maps that the Spaniards and Dutch
have at one time or another circumnavigated the whole of the Island of
New Guinea, as the most of the Names are in these 2 Languages; and such
part of the Coast as we were upon I found the Chart tolerable good, which
obliges me to give some Credit to all the rest, notwithstanding we
neither know by whom or when they were taken, and I always understood,
before I had a sight of these Maps, that it was unknown whether or no New
Holland and New Guinea was not one continued land, and so it is said in
the very History of Voyages these Maps are bound up in. However, we have
now put this wholy out of dispute; but, as I believe, it was known
before, tho' not publicly, I claim no other Merit than the Clearing up of
a doubtful point. Another doubtfull point I should have liked to have
clear'd up, altho' it is of very little, if of any Consequence, which is,
whether the Natives of New Holland and those of New Guinea are, or were,
Original, one People, which one might well suppose, as these 2 Countrys
lay so near to each other, and the intermediate space fill'd up with
Islands. On the other hand, if these 2 people have or ever had any
friendly communication with Each other it seems strange, as I have before
observed, that they should not have transplanted from New Guinea over to
New Holland Cocoa Nutts, Bread fruit, Plantains, etc., etc., all very
useful Articles for the support of Man, that We never saw grow in the
latter, and which we have now seen in the former. La Maire hath given us
a Vocabulary of Words spoken by the People of New Britain (which before
Dampier's time was taken to be a part of New Guinea), by which it appears
that the people of New Britain speak a very different Language from those
of New Holland. Now should it be found that the Natives of New Britain
and those of New Guinea have had One Origin, and speak the same Language,
it will follow, of Course, that the New Hollanders are a different People
from both.* (* In the north of Australia the natives are distinctly
allied to the Papuans, but on the east of the continent they are of a
type of their own, and speak many different languages.)

[Off South-west Coast of New Guinea.]

Tuesday, 4th. Stood to the Westward all this day, having at first a
moderate breeze Southerly, which afterwards freshned and Veered to
South-East and East-South-East. We keept on sounding all the time, having
from 14 to 30 fathoms not regular, but sometimes more and sometimes less.
At noon we were in 14 fathoms; by observation in the Latitude of 6
degrees 44 minutes South, Longitude 223 degrees 51 minutes West. Course
and distance sail'd since Yesteday Noon South 76 minutes West, 120 Miles.

Wednesday, 5th. Winds at East by South and South-East by East, a fresh
gale and Clear weather, with which were run 118 Miles upon a South 69
degrees 15 minutes West Course, which at Noon brought us into the
Latitude of 7 degrees 25 minutes South, Longitude 225 degrees 41 minutes
West; depth of Water 28 fathoms, having been in soundings the whole of
this day's run, generally between 10 and 20 fathoms. At half an hour past
one in the Morning we past by a small low Island, which bore from us at
that time North-North-West, distant 3 or 4 Miles; depth of Water 14
fathoms, and at daylight we discover'd another low Island extending from
North-North-West and North-North-East, distant 2 or 3 Leagues. I believe
I should have landed upon this Island to have known its produce, as it
did not appear to be very small, had not the wind blown too fresh for
such an undertaking, and at the time we passed the Island we had only 10
fathoms Water, a rocky bottom; I was therefore afraid of running down to
leeward for fear of meeting with Shoal Water and foul ground. These
Islands have no place on the Charts, unless they are the Arrow Isles,
which, if they are, they are laid down much too far from New Guinea. I
found the South part of these to lay in the Latitude 7 degrees 6 minutes
South, Longitude 225 degrees 0 minutes West.* (* These were probably
Karang and Ennu Islands, two outliers of the Arru Islands.)

Thursday, 6th. A steady fresh gale at East by South and clear weather,
with which we steer'd West-South-West. At 7 in the Evening we took in the
small Sails, reefd the Topsails, and sounded, having 50 fathoms; we still
keept West-South-West all night, going at the rate of 4 1/2 Miles an
hour. At 10 had 42 fathoms; at 11, 37; and at 12 o'Clock 45; 1 o'Clock
49; and at 3, 120; after which we could get no ground. In the evening we
caught 2 Boobies, which settled upon the rigging, and these were the
first of the kind we have caught in this manner the voyage, altho' I have
heard of them being caught this way in great numbers. At daylight, in the
Morning, we made all the sail we could, and at 10 o'Clock saw land
extending from North-North-West to West by North, distant 5 or 6 League.
At Noon it bore from North to West about the same distance; our Latitude
by observation was 8 degrees 15 minutes South, Longitude 227 degrees 47
minutes West. This land is of an even and moderate height, and by our run
from New Guinea ought to be a part of the Arrow Isles;* (* This was the
southern part of the Tenimber Islands.) but it lays a degree farther to
the South than any of these Islands are laid down in the Charts. We
sounded, but had no ground, with 50 fathoms of Line.

[Remarks on Charts.]

Friday, 7th. As I was not able to satisfy myself from any Chart what land
it was we saw to Leeward of us, and fearing it might trend away more
Southerly, and the weather being hazey so that we could not see far, we
steer'd South-West, which Course by 4 o'Clock run us out of sight of the
land; by this I was assured that no part of it lay to the Southward of 8
degrees 15 minutes South. We continued standing to the South-West all
night under an Easey sail, having the advantage of a fresh gale at
South-East by East and East-South-East, and clear moon light; we sounded
every hour, but had no bottom with 100 and 120 fathoms of line. At
daylight in the Morning we steer'd West-South-West, and afterwards West
by South, which by Noon brought us into the Latitude of 9 degrees 30
minutes South, and Longitude 229 degrees 34 minutes West, and by our run
from New Guinea ought to be in sight of Wessels Isle, which, according to
the Chart is laid down about 20 or 25 Leagues from the coast of New
Holland; but we saw nothing, by which I conclude that it is wrong laid
down; and this is not to be wonder'd at when we consider that not only
these Islands, but the lands which bound this Sea have been discover'd
and explored by different people and at different times, and compiled and
put together by others, perhaps some Ages after the first discoveries
were made. Navigation formerly wanted many of these helps towards keeping
an Accurate Journal which the present Age is possessed of; it is not they
that are wholy to blame for the faultiness of the Charts, but the
Compilers and Publishers, who publish to the world the rude Sketches of
the Navigator as Accurate surveys, without telling what authority they
have for so doing; for were they to do this we should then be as good or
better judge than they, and know where to depend upon the Charts, and
where not. Neither can I clear Seamen of this fault; among the few I have
known who are Capable of drawing a Chart or Sketch of a Sea Coast I have
generally, nay, almost always, observed them run into this error. I have
known them lay down the line of a Coast they have never seen, and put
down Soundings where they never have sounded; and, after all, are so fond
of their performances as to pass the whole off as Sterling under the
Title of a Survey Plan, etc. These things must in time be attended with
bad Consequences, and cannot fail of bringing the whole of their works in
disrepute.* (* Cook had good reason for writing thus, and being himself
scrupulously honest and careful, he felt this scamped work to be a
disgrace to seamen.) If he is so modest as to say, Such and such parts,
or the whole of his plan is defective, the Publishers or Vendures will
have it left out, because they say it hurts the sale of the work; so that
between the one and the other we can hardly tell when we are possessed of
a good Sea Chart until we ourselves have proved it.

Saturday, 8th. Winds Easterly, with a high Sea from the same Quarter. Our
Course and distance sail'd this 24 Hours is South 86 degrees 30 minutes
West, 102 Miles; Latitude in 9 degrees 36 minutes South, Longitude 231
degrees 17 minutes West.

Sunday, 9th. Light Airs and Clear weather the most part of this 24 Hours.
In the evening found the Variation by several Azimuths to be 0 degrees 12
minutes West, and by the Amplitude 0 degrees 5 minutes West. At Noon we
were by observation in the Latitude of 9 degrees 46 minutes South,
Longitude 232 degrees 7 minutes West. Course and distance sail'd since
yesterday at Noon South 78 degrees 45 minutes West, 52 Miles. For these 2
days past we have steer'd due West, and yet we have by observation made
16 Miles Southing--6 Miles Yesterday and 10 to-day; from which it should
seem that there is a Current setting to the Southward and Westward
withall, as I should suppose.

Monday, 10th. Light Airs Easterly, except in the morning, when we had it
at North; at sunset found the Variation to be 0 degrees 2 minutes West,
at the same time saw, or thought we saw, very high land bearing
North-West, and in the Morning saw the same appearances of land in the
same Quarter, which left us no room to doubt but what it was land, and
must be either the Island of Timor land or Timor, but which of the 2 I
cannot as yet determine.* (* This was Timor. What Cook calls Timor land
is probably Timor Laut, another name for the principal island of the
Tenimber Group.) At Noon we were by Observation in the Latitude of 10
degrees 1 minute South, which was 15 Miles to the Southward of that given
by the Log. Longitude in per Observation 233 degrees 27 minutes West.

Tuesday, 11th. Variable light Airs and Clear weather. Steer'd North-West,
in order to discover the Land plainer until 4 in the morning, at which
time the wind came to North-West and West, with which we stood to the
Southward until 9 o'Clock, when we Tack'd and stood North-West, having
the wind at West-South-West. At sun rise in the morning we could see the
land extend from West-North-West to North-East; at noon we could see it
extend to the Westward as far as West by South 1/2 South, but no farther
to the Eastward than North by East. We were now well assured that this
was part of the Island of Timor, in consequence of which the last Island
we saw must have been Timor land, the South part of which lies in the
Latitude of 8 degrees 15 minutes South, Longitude 228 degrees 10 minutes,
whereas in the Charts the South Point is laid down in Latitude 9 degrees
30 minutes. It is possible that the Land we saw might be some other
Island; but then I cannot see how we could have miss'd seeing Timor land,
soposing it to be right laid down in Latitude, as we were never to the
Southward of 9 degrees 30 minutes; for my design was to have made that
Island, and to have landed upon it to have seen what it produced, as it
is (according to the Charts) a large Island, and not settled by the Dutch
that I ever heard off. We were now in the Latitude of 9 degrees 37
minutes, Longitude 233 degrees 54 minutes West by observation of the Sun
and Moon, and Yesterday we were by Observation in 233 degrees 27 minutes
West. The difference is 27 minutes, which is exactly the same as what the
Log gave; this, however, is a degree of accuracy in observation that is
seldom to be expected.

[Off South Coast of Timor.]

Wednesday, 12th. Winds between the South and West, a light breeze and
Clear weather in the P.M.; stood in shore until 8 o'Clock, then Tack'd
and stood off, being about 6 Leagues from the Land, which at dark extend
from South-West 1/2 West to North-East; at this time we sounded and had
no ground with 140 fathoms of line, being not above 4 Leagues from the
Land. At 12 o'Clock we Tack'd and stood in, having but little wind, and
continued so until noon, at which time we were by Observation in Latitude
9 degrees 36 minutes South; the Log this 24 Hours gave 18 Miles Westing,
but it did not appear by the land that we had made so much. We saw
several Smoaks upon the Land by day, and fires in the Night.

Thursday, 13th. Stood in shore, with a light breeze at South by West
until 1/2 past 5 o'Clock in the P.M., when, being a Mile and a 1/2 from
the Shore, and in 16 fathoms, we tack'd and stood off. At this time the
Extreams of the Land extended from North-East by East to West by South
1/2 South; this last was a low point, distant from us about 3 Leagues. We
were right before a small Creek or Inlet into the low land, which lies in
the Latitude of 9 degrees 34 minutes South. Probably it might be the same
as Dampier went into in his Boat, for it did not seem to have depth of
Water sufficient for anything else. In standing in shore we sounded
several times, but found no soundings until we got within 2 1/2 Miles of
the Shore, where we had 25 fathoms, soft bottom. We stood off Shore until

Book of the day: