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Voyages in the Southern Hemisphere, Vols. II - IIIVoyaging Accounts
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On this day ...
5 - 6 December 1769

Endeavour Voyage Maps
James Cook
Joseph Banks

Mercury Bay to the Bay of Islands


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Mercury Bay to the Bay of Islands (continued)

This rock lies half a mile W.N.W. of the northermost or outermost island on the south east side of the bay. We had light airs from the land, with calms, till nine o’clock the next morning, when we got out of the bay, and a breeze springing up at N.N.W. we stood out to sea.

This bay, as I have before observed, lies on the west side of Cape Bret, and I named it the BAY OF ISLANDS, from the great number of islands which line its shores, and form several harbours equally safe and commodious, where there is room and depth for any number of shipping. That in which we lay is on the south west side of the south westermost island, called MATUARO, on the south east side of the bay. I have made no accurate survey of this bay, being discouraged by the time it would cost me; I thought also that it was sufficient to be able to affirm that it afforded us good anchorage, and refreshment of every kind. It was not the season for roots, but we had plenty of fish, most of which, however, we purchased of the natives, for we could catch very little ourselves either with net or line. When we shewed the natives our seine, which is such as the King’s ships are generally furnished with, they laughed at it, and in triumph produced their own, which was indeed of an enormous size, and made of a kind of grass, which is very strong: it was five fathom deep, and by the room it took up, it could not be less than three or four hundred fathom long. Fishing seems indeed to be the chief business of life in this part of the country; we saw about all their towns a great number of nets, laid in heaps like hay-cocks, and covered with a thatch to keep them from the weather, and we scarcely entered a house where some of the people were not employed in making them. The fish we procured here were sharks, sting-rays, sea-bream, mullet, mackrel, and some others.

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© Derived from Vols. II-III of the London 1773 edition: National Library of Australia call no. FERG 7243, pages 369 - 370, 2004
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