January 26, 2021

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History / 15 June post from Lieutenant James Cook’s Journal 250 years ago

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History / 15 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.


“Friday 15th. A fresh Gale at South-East and Cloudy weather, attended with Showers of Rain. In the Night, as it blow’d too fresh to break the Ship loose to run into the Harbour, we got down the Topgallant yards, unbent the Mainsail, and some of the Small sails; got down the Foretopgallant mast, and the Jibb Boom and Spritsailyard in, intending to lighten the Ship Forward as much as possible, in order to lay her ashore to come at the Leak”


Joseph Banks Journal

14. Very fresh Sea breeze. A boat was sent ahead to shew us the way into the harbour, but by some mistake of signals we were obligd to come to an anchor again of the mouth of it without going in, where it soon blew too fresh for us to Weigh.

We now began to consider our good fortune; had it blown as fresh the day before yesterday or before that we could never have got off but must inevitably have been dashd to peices on the rocks.

The Captn and myself went ashore to view the Harbour and found it indeed beyond our most sanguine wishes: it was the mouth of a river the entrance of which was to be sure narrow enough and shallow, but when once in the ship might be moord afloat so near the shore that by a stage from her to it all her Cargo might be got out and in again in a very short time; in this same place she might be hove down with all ease, but the beach gave signs of the tides rising in the springs 6 or 7 feet which was more than enough to do our business without that trouble.

The meeting with so many natural advantages in a harbour so near us at the very time of our misfortune appeard almost providential; we had not in the voyage before seen a place so well suited for our purpose as this was, and certainly had no right to expect the tides to rise so high here that did not rise half so much at the place where we struck, only 8 Leagues from this place; we therefore returnd on board in high spirits and raisd the spirits of our freinds on board as much as our own by bringing them the welcome news of aproaching security. It blew however too fresh to night for us to attempt to weigh the anchor, I even think as fresh as it has ever done since we have been upon the Coast.

15. Blew all day as fresh as it did yesterday. We thought much of our good fortune in having fair weather upon the rocks when upon the Brink of such a gale.

Our people were now however pretty well recoverd from their fatigues having had plenty of rest, as the ship since she was Fotherd has not made more water than one pump half workd will keep clear.

At night we observd a fire ashore near where we were to lay, which made us hope that the necessary length of our stay would give us an oportunity of being acquainted with the Indians who made it.