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Parkinson's JournalVoyaging Accounts
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29 June - 5 July 1769

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James Cook
Joseph Banks



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Otaheite (continued)

Provisions of all kinds were, at this time, very scarce; and some of the inhabitants almost famished. This scarcity was principally occasioned by supplying us too liberally with bread-fruit, which obliged the inhabitants to eat ehee, roasted, in its stead, which tastes much like our chesnut: but, as the bread-tree was full of young fruit, we were in hopes that they would soon have another crop to relieve them.

On the first of July, in the evening, the captain and Mr. Banks returned from surveying the island, which they found to be larger than they expected, and brought with them several hogs, and could have obtained more with more hatchets. In their tour round the island, they discovered that it consists of two peninsulas, con-nected by a low marshy isthmus, through which Mr. Banks supposed canoes might be drawn. From Port-Royal, which is situate at the west end, the coast extends E. by S. about nineteen miles to a reef of three small islands, forming a bay, called Society-Bay. From this the land inclines into a deep bay, at the isthmus or juncture of the two divisions, of which the smallest is nearly oval, and surrounded by a reef, which runs parallel to the shore at about two miles distance: This has several apertures, or passages, which afford safe anchorage within. The north side of the island is likewise defended by a similar reef; but the ground within is foul, and unsafe for vessels of burthen. The whole length of the island is about fifteen leagues; and its circumference forty leagues. Besides the above-mentioned, they saw several other bays; some of them very good, and one, in particular, in which a large fleet might have rode with ease and safety: the name the natives give it is Papara.

They also learned, that the island is divided into two principalities, one of which, comprehending the largest peninsula, is called Otaheite Nooa, or Great Otaheite; the other, comprehending the smallest peninsula, is termed Otaheite Eetee, or Little Otaheite. The former of these divisions is also called Oboreano, in honour of of queen Oboreah, who is regent of it. The other division is also governed by a woman named Teideede; she is younger than Oboreah. The people of the two divisions do not seem to be upon good terms, having but little communication with each other.

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© Derived from the London 1773 edition printed for Stanfield Parkinson, page 34, 2004
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