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Voyages in the Southern Hemisphere, Vols. II - IIIVoyaging Accounts
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On this day ...
26 March - 4 April 1769

Endeavour Voyage Maps
James Cook
Joseph Banks

From cape Horn to the South Seas


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From cape Horn to the South Seas (continued)

On Tuesday the 4th of April, about ten o’clock in the morning, Mr. Banks’s servant, Peter Briscoe, discovered land, bearing south, at the distance of about three or four leagues. I immediately hauled up for it, and found it to be an island of an oval form, with a lagoon in the middle, which occupied much the larger part of it; the border of land which circumscribes the lagoon is in many places very low and narrow, particularly on the south side, where it consists principally of a beach or reef of rocks: it has the same appearance also in three places on the north side; so that, the firm land being disjoined, the whole looks like many islands covered with wood. On the west end of the island is a large tree, or clump of trees, that in appearance resembles a tower; and about the middle are two cocoa-nut trees, which rise above all the rest, and, as we came near to the island, appeared like a flag. We approached it on the north side, and though we came within a mile, we found no bottom with 130 fathom of line, nor did there appear to be any anchorage about it. The whole is covered with trees of different verdure, but we could distinguish none, even with our glasses, except cocoa-nuts and palm-nuts. We saw several of the natives upon the shore, and counted four and twenty. They appeared to be tall, and to have heads remarkably large; perhaps they had something wound round them which we could not distinguish; they were of a copper colour, and had long black hair. Eleven of them walked along the beach abreast of the ship, with poles or pikes in their hands which reached twice as high as themselves: while they walked on the beach they seemed to be naked; but soon after they retired, which they did as soon as the ship had passed the island, they covered themselves with something that made them appear of a light colour. Their habitations were under some clumps of palm-nut trees, which at a distance appeared like high ground; and to us, who for a long time had seen nothing but water and, sky, except the dreary hills of Terra del Fuego, these groves seemed a terrestrial paradise. To this spot, which lies in latitude 18° 47" S. and longitude 139° 28’ W. we gave the name of LAGOON ISLAND. The variation of the needle here is 2° 54’ E.

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© Derived from Vols. II-III of the London 1773 edition: National Library of Australia call no. FERG 7243, pages 72 - 73, 2004
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