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History / 10 June post from Lieutenant James Cook’s Journal

History / 10 June post from Lieutenant James Cook’s Journal 250 years ago

CAPTAIN JAMES COOK

Our appreciation to Pam Willis Burden, Gail Cockburn and Douglas Shire Historical Society for sharing this content with us daily.


“Sunday, 10th. After hauling round Cape Grafton we found the land trend away North-West by West; 3 Miles to the Westward of the Cape is a Bay, wherein we Anchor’d, about 2 Miles from the Shore, in 4 fathoms, owsey bottom”

The East point of the Bay bore South 74 degrees East, the West point South 83 degrees West, and a Low green woody Island laying in the Offing bore North 35 degrees East.

The Island lies North by East 1/2 East, distance 3 or 4 Leagues from Cape Grafton, and is known in the Chart by the Name of Green Island.

As soon as the Ship was brought to an Anchor I went ashore, accompanied by Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander; the first thing I did was to look for fresh Water, and with that View rowed out towards the Cape, because in the bottom of the bay was low Mangrove land, and little probability of meeting with any there.

But the way I went I found 2 Small streams, which were difficult to get at on account of the Surf and rocks upon the Shore.

As we came round the Cape we saw, in a sandy Cove, a small stream of Water run over the beach; but here I did not go in the boat because I found that it would not be Easey to land.

We hardly advanced anything into the Country, it being here hilly, which were steep and rocky, and we had not time to Visit the Low lands, and therefore met with nothing remarkable.

My intention was to have stay’d here at least one day, to have looked into the Country had we met with fresh water convenient, or any other Refreshment; but as we did not, I thought it would be only spending of time, and loosing as much of a light Moon to little purpose, and therefore at 12 o’Clock at night we weighed and stood away to the North-West, having at this time but little wind, attended with Showers of rain. [In the next bay west of where Cook anchored is Cairns, a small but rising town in the centre of a sugar-growing district]

At 4 the breeze freshned at South by East, with fair weather; we continued steering North-North-West 1/2 West as the Land lay, having 10, 12, and 14 fathoms, at a distance of 3 Leagues from the Land. 

At 11 we hauld off North, in order to get without a Small Low Island [Low Isles. There is now a lighthouse on them] which lay about 2 Leagues from the Main; it being about high Water, about the time we passed it, great part of it lay under water.

About 3 Leagues to the North Westward of this Island, close under the Main land, is another Island, [Snapper Island] Tolerable high, which bore from us at Noon North 55 degrees West, distant 7 or 8 Miles; we being at this time in the Latitude of 16 degrees 20 minutes South, Cape Grafton bore South 29 degrees East, distant 40 Miles, and the Northermost point of Land in Sight North 20 degrees West, and in this Situation had 15 fathoms Water. 

The Shore between Cape Grafton and the above Northern point forms a large but not very deep Bay, which I named Trinity Bay, after the day on which it was discover’d; the North point Cape Tribulation, because here began all our Troubles.

Latitude 16 degrees 6 minutes South, Longitude 214 degrees 39 minutes West

Cook always used Ship’s Time for his journal, beginning and ending his day at noon. This is why his afternoon comes before his morning reports.

From Peter Aughton’s “Endeavour”

The ship was fitted with twelve swivel guns and ten carriage guns with all the necessary powder and shot.

The hold was loaded with eight tons of ballast and with several tons of coal for heating and cooking. There were spare timbers for spars and planking, barrels of tar and pitch, tools for carpenters, canvas for the sailmakers, hemp for the ropes and rigging, a ships’s forge. Tools and materials for all other shipboard crafts. 20 tons of ships biscuits and flour were loaded, 1200 gallons of beer,1600 gallons of spirits, 4000 pieces of salted beef and 6000 pieces of salted pork, 1500 pounds of sugar, suet, raisons, oatmeal, wheat, oil, vinegar, malt 160 pounds of mustard seed, 107 bushels of pease stored in butts, and a staggering 7860 pounds of a high-smelling fermented cabbage which the Germans called Sauerkraut. This was a ration of 80 pounds per man and it was thought to keep the dreaded scurvy away.

The ship also carried iron nails, fishhooks, hatchets, scissors, red and blue beads, small mirrors and even a few dolls to charm the natives of the south sea islands and to barter with them for food and provisions. All these supplies with the possible exception of the 2 and a half tons of sauerkraut, were part of the standard rations for a naval vessel.

The ship carried 30 tonnes of water which would be supplemented at ports and rivers or collected during storms at sea by a system of sails and funnels. Also aboard were 3 cats, 17 sheep, 24 chickens, 4 pigs, Banks’s 2 dogs who slept on cushions in his cabin and a goat to supply milk for the officers’ coffee. She had earlier circumnavigated the globe with Capt Wallis.

 The instruments were well above the standard supplies. Dr Knight’s newly patented azimuth compass of improved construction to find magnetic North was supplemented by a vertical compass to measure the angle of dip. An astronomical brass quadrant of 1 foot radius was supplied with a high quality sextant. Along with two astronomical telescopes provided by the Royal Society. There was a portable observatory made of wood and canvas. There were recording devices, an astronomical clock for accurate timekeeping supplied by the Royal Greenwich Observatory and two thermometers to help with the calibration of the clocks in the heat of the tropics. A complete Theodolite, a plane table, and a 2 foot brass scale, a double concave glass and a glass for tracing light rays.


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