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Voyages in the Southern Hemisphere, Vols. II - IIIVoyaging Accounts
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On this day ...
12 - 15 November 1769

Endeavour Voyage Maps
James Cook
Joseph Banks

The Range from Tolaga to Mercury Bay


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The Range from Tolaga to Mercury Bay (continued)

After taking a slight view of the country, and loading both the boats with celery, which we found in great plenty near the beach, we returned from our excursion, and about five o’clock in the evening got on board the ship.

On the 15th, I sailed out of the bay, and at the same time had several canoes on board, in one of which was our friend Toiava, who said, that as soon as we were gone he must repair to his Heppah or fort, because the friends of the man who had been shot by Mr. Gore on the 9th, had threatened to revenge his death upon him, whom they had reproached as being our friend. Off the north point of the bay, I saw a great number of islands, of various extent, which lay scattered to the north west, in a direction parallel with the main as far as I could see. I steered north east for the north eastermost of these islands; but the wind coming to the north west, I was obliged to stand out to sea.

To the bay which we had now left I gave the name of MERCURY BAY, on account of the observation which we had made there of the transit of that planet over the sun. It lies in latitude 36° 47’ S.; and in the longitude of 184° 4’ W.: there are several islands lying both to the southward and northward of it, and a small island or rock in the middle of the entrance: within this island the depth of water no where exceeds nine fathom: the best anchoring is in a sandy bay, which lies just within the south head, in five and four fathom, bringing a high tower or rock, which lies without the head, in one with the head, or just shut in behind it. This place is very convenient both for wooding and watering, and in the river there is an immense quantity of oysters and other shell-fish: I have for this reason given it the name of OYSTER RIVER. But for a ship that wants to stay here any time, the best and safest place is in the river at the head of the bay; which, from the number of mangrove trees about it, I have called MANGROVE RIVER. To sail into this river, the south shore must be kept all the way on board. The country on the east side of the river and bay is very barren, its only produce being fern, and a few other plants that will grow in a poor soil. The land on the north west side is covered with wood, and the soil being much more fertile, would doubtless produce all the necessaries of life with proper cultivation: it is not however so fertile as the lands that we have seen to the southward; nor do the inhabitants, though numerous, make so good an appearance: they have no plantations; their canoes are mean, and without ornament; they sleep in the open air; and say, that Teratu, whose sovereignty they do not acknowledge, if he was to come among them, would kill them. This favoured our opinion of their being outlaws; yet they told us, that they had Heppahs or strong holds, to which they retired in time of imminent danger.

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© Derived from Vols. II-III of the London 1773 edition: National Library of Australia call no. FERG 7243, pages 346 - 347, 2004
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