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Voyages in the Southern Hemisphere, Vols. II - IIIVoyaging Accounts
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On this day ...
6 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 the next day, Thursday the 6th, about noon, we saw land again to the westward, and came up with it about three. It appeared to be two islands, or rather groups of islands, extending from N.W. by N. to S.E. by S. about nine leagues. Of these, the two largest were separated from each other by a channel of about half a mile broad, and were severally surrounded by smaller islands, to which they were joined by reefs that lay under water.

These islands were long narrow strips of land, ranging in all directions, some of them ten miles or upwards in length, but none more than a quarter of a mile broad, and upon all of them there were trees of various kinds, particularly the cocoa-nut. The south-eastermost of them lies in the latitude of 18° 12’ S. and longitude 142° 42’ W. and at the distance of twenty-five leagues, in the direction of W. ½ N. from the west end of Bow Island. We ranged along the S.W. side of this island, and hauled into a bay which lies to the N.W. of the southermost point of the Group, where there was a smooth sea, and the appearance of anchorage, without much surf on the shore. We sounded, but we found no bottom with one hundred fathom, at the distance of no more than three quarters of a mile from the beach, and I did not think it prudent to go nearer.

While this was doing, several of the inhabitants assembled upon the shore, and some came out in their canoes as far as the reefs, but would not pass them: when we saw this, we ranged, with an easy sail, along the shore; but just as we were passing the end of the island, six men, who had for some time kept abreast of the ship, suddenly launched two canoes with great quickness and dexterity, and three of them getting into each, they put off, as we imagined with a design to come on board us; the ship was therefore brought to, but they, like their fellows, stopped at the reef; we did not however immediately make sail, as we observed two messengers dispatched to them from the other canoes, which were of a much larger size: we perceived that these messengers made great expedition, wading and swimming along the reef; at length they met, and the men on board the canoes making no dispositions to pass the reef, after having received the message, we judged that they had resolved to come no farther: after waiting, therefore, some little time longer, we stood off; but when we were got about two or three miles from the shore, we perceived some of the natives following us in a canoe with a sail; we did not, however, think it worth while to wait for her, and though she had passed the reef, she soon after gave over the chace.

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© Derived from Vols. II-III of the London 1773 edition: National Library of Australia call no. FERG 7243, pages 75 - 76, 2004
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