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On this day ...
3 - 11 June 1770

Endeavour Voyage Maps
James Cook
Joseph Banks

New Holland


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New Holland (continued)

On the 3d, in the morning, we had land on every quarter, excepting at south-east, and stood to north-west; where there appeared to be an opening, which carried us into a strait, in which we found deep water. This strait lies almost north and south; is about seven leagues long, and one and a half broad. On the west of it lies the main, and, on the east, a row of islands which extend a considerable way to the south. The land on both sides looked much better than that which we had seen before; being high, abounding in trees, and not sandy. We discovered three persons through our glasses, and a canoe with out-riggers, like those of Otaheite. In the evening, we had almost got out of the straits, the islands sailing, and the main tending more to the west. Latitude 20° 27.

On the 4th, we cleared the straits and islands, and got into an open sea. The land upon the coast was full of very high hills, whose bowels are probably rich in ore; but their surface is poor indeed, being more barren, and fuller of stones, than any land we had seen. We had clear and pleasant weather, and the land still tended away to the west. Latitude 19° 48.

On the 7th, we were between a parcel of islands and the main. The main-land looked very barren and dreary: the hills upon it looked like a heap of rubbish, on which nothing was to be seen, excepting a few low bushes: but the islands made a better appearance. We saw a few people in canoes, striking fish, some smoke on the main, and some palm-trees. Latitude 18° 48.

On the 8th, the main land appeared still higher, and very barren. We discovered several islands that looked like so many heaps of rubbish, which had lain long enough to have a few weeds and bushes grow on them. On one of them, which is not more than two miles in circumference, we saw a company of the natives, entirely naked, and of a dark complexion, standing quite still, and beholding the ship with astonishment. At night we saw a fire, which yielded a very grateful odour, not unlike that produced by burning the wood of gum benjamin.

On the 10th, we continued our course to the north-west; and, about nine oclock in the morning, we sailed down a reef of coral-rocks. Our water shoaled very soon, from twenty-one to eight fathoms; which alarmed us very much: every countenance expressed surprize, and every heart felt some trepidation. About eleven, the ship struck upon the rocks, and remained immoveable. We were, at this period, many thousand leagues from our native land, (which we had left upwards of two years,) and on a barbarous coast, where, if the ship had been wrecked, and we had escaped the perils of the sea, we should have fallen into the rapacious hands of savages. Agitated and surprised as we were, we attempted every apparent eligible method to escape, if possible, from the brink of destruction. The sails were immediately handed, the boats launched, the yards and topmasts struck, and an anchor was carried to the southward: the ship striking hard, an-other anchor was dispatched to the south-west. Night came on, which providentially was moon-light, and we weathered it out as patiently as possible, considering the dreadful suspense we were in.

On the 11th, early in the morning, we lightened the ship, by throwing over-board our ballast, firewood, some of our stores, our water-casks, all our water, and six of our great guns; and set the pumps at work, at which every man on board assisted, the Captain, Mr. Banks, and all the officers, not excepted; relieving one another every quarter of an hour. About noon, the ship heaved much on one side; upon which five anchors were carried out, and dropt at different parts; while all the hands on board plied the pumps incessantly, hoping to have heaved her off the rock, but hoping in vain. At four oclock in the afternoon it was low water, and the ship, in several places, grounded on the rock. Between nine and ten, the tide rose four feet, and the ship righted again; and, about ten, after some farther attempts to clear her, she providentially got off. This desirable event gave us spirits; which, however, proved but the transient gleam of sunshine, in a tempestuous day; for they were soon depressed again, by observing that the water increased in the hold, faster than we could throw it out; and we expected, every minute, that the ship would sink, or that we should be obliged to run her again upon the rocks.

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© Derived from the London 1773 edition printed for Stanfield Parkinson, pages 141 - 142, 2004
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