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Voyages in the Southern Hemisphere, Vols. II - IIIVoyaging Accounts
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15 March 1771

Endeavour Voyage Maps
James Cook
Joseph Banks

Cape of Good Hope, Saint Helena and Return to England


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CHAP. XVI. Our Arrival at the Cape of Good Hope; some Remarks on the Run from Java Head to that Place; a Description of the Cape, and of Saint Helena: With some Account of the Hottentots, and the Return of the Ship to England.

ON Friday the 15th of March, about, ten o’clock in the morning, we anchored off the Cape of Good Hope, in seven fathom with an ouzey bottom. The west point of the bay, called the Lion’s Tail, bore W.N.W. and the castle S.W. distant about a mile and a half. I immediately waited upon the Governor, who told me that I should have every thing the country afforded. My first care was to provide a proper place ashore for the sick, which were not a few; and a house was soon found, where it was agreed they should be lodged and boarded at the rate of two shillings a head per day.

Our run from Java head, to this place, afforded very few subjects of remark that can be of use to future navigators; such as occurred, however, I shall set down. We had left Java Head eleven days before we got the general south east trade-wind, during which time, we did not advance above 5° to the southward, and 3° to the west, having variable light airs, interrupted by calms, with sultry weather, and an unwholesome air, occasioned probably by the lead of vapours which the eastern trade-wind, and westerly monsoons, bring into these latitudes, both which blow in there seas at the time of year when we happened to be. The easterly wind prevails as far as 10° or 12° S. and the westerly as far as 6 or 8°; in the intermediate space the winds are variable, and the air, I believe, always unwholesome; it certainly aggravated the diseases which we brought with us from Batavia, and particularly the flux, which was not in the least degree checked by any medicine, so that whoever was seized with it, considered himself as a dead man; but we had no sooner got into the trade-wind, than we began to feel its salutary effects: we buried indeed several of our people afterwards, but they were such as had been taken on board in a state so low and feeble that there was scarcely a possibility of their recovery. At first we suspected that this dreadful disorder might have been brought upon us by the water that we took on board at Prince’s Island, or even by the turtle that we bought there; but there is not the least reason to believe that this suspicion was well grounded, for all the ships that came from Batavia at the same season, suffered in the same degree, and some of them even more severely, though none of them touched at Prince’s Island in their way.

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© Derived from Vols. II-III of the London 1773 edition: National Library of Australia call no. FERG 7243, pages 781 - 782, 2004
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