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Voyages in the Southern Hemisphere, Vols. II - IIIVoyaging Accounts
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On this day ...
6 - 10 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)

The people, who kept abreast of the ship on the beach, made many signals; but whether they were intended to frighten us away, or invite us on shore, it is not easy to determine: we returned them by waving our hats and shouting, and they replied by shouting again. We did not put their disposition to the test, by attempting to land; because, as the island was inconsiderable, and as we wanted nothing that it could afford, we thought it imprudent as well as cruel to risk a contest, in which the natives must have suffered by our superiority, merely to gratify an idle curiosity; especially as we expected soon to fall in with the island where we had been directed to make our astronomical observation, the inhabitants of which would probably admit us without opposition, as they were already acquainted with our strength and might also procure us a ready and peaceable reception among the neighbouring people, if we should desire it.

To these islands we gave the name of THE GROUPS.

On the 7th, about half an hour after six in the morning, being just at day-break, we discovered another island to the northward, which we judged to be about four miles in circumference. The land lay very low, and there was a piece of water in the middle of it; there seemed to be some wood upon it, and it looked green and pleasant; but we saw neither cocoa trees nor inhabitants: it abounded however with birds, and we therefore gave it the name of BIRD-ISLAND.

It lies in latitude 17° 48’ S. and longitude 143° 35’ W. at the distance of ten leagues, in the direction W. ½ N. from the west end of the Groups. The variation here was 6° 32’ E.

On the 8th, about two o’clock in the afternoon, we saw land to the northward, and about sunset came abreast of it, at about the distance of two leagues. It appeared to be a double range of low woody islands joined together by reefs, so as to form one island, in the form of an ellipsis or oval, with a lake in the middle of it. The small islands and reefs that circumscribe the lake have the appearance of a chain, and we therefore gave it the name of CHAIN ISLAND. Its length seemed to be about five leagues, in the direction of N.W. and S.E. and its breadth about five miles. The trees upon it appeared to be large, and we saw smoke rising in different parts of it from among them, a certain sign that it was inhabited. The middle of it lies in latitude 17° 23’ S. and longitude 145° 54’ W. and is distant from Bird Island forty-five leagues in the direction of W. by N. The variation here was, by several azimuths, found to be 4° 54’ E.

On the 10th, having had a tempestuous night with thunder and rain, the weather was hazy till about nine o’clock in the morning, when it cleared up, and we saw the island to which Captain Wallis, who first discovered it, gave the name of Osnaburgh Island, called by the natives Maitea, bearing N.W. by W. distant about five leagues. It is a high round island, not above a league in circuit; in some parts it is covered with trees, and in others a naked rock. In this direction it looked like a high crown’d hat; but when it bears North, the top of it has more the appearance of the roof of a house. We made its latitude to be 17° 48’ S. its longitude 148° 10’ W. and its distance from Chain Island 44 leagues, in the direction of W. by S.

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© Derived from Vols. II-III of the London 1773 edition: National Library of Australia call no. FERG 7243, pages 77 - 78, 2004
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