Captain James Cook

On the 13th July 1772, the two vessels quitted Plymouth, and after touching at Madeira for wine, and at the Cape de Verds for water, crossed the line with a brisk south-west wind, and anchored in Table Bay, Cape of Good Hope, on the 30th October. Here Captain Cook ascertained that the French were prosecuting discoveries in the South Seas, and that, eight months before, two French ships had sailed about forty miles along land in the latitude of 48 degrees, but had been driven off by a gale of wind. He also learned that two others had recently left the Mauritius for a similar purpose. On the 22d November Captain Cook took leave of Table Bay, and pursued his voyage for Cape Circumcision, but encounter very severe gales, which destroyed much of the live stock, and the people experienced great inconvenience from the intensity of the cold. The judicious management of the commander, however, prevented any fatal result. Warm clothing was given to the men; the decks below were kept well dried and ventilated, as well as warmed; and an addition was made to the issue of grog. On the 10th December they fell in with immense icebergs, some two miles in circuit at the edge of the water, and about sixty feet in height, over which the sea was breaking with tremendous violence. On the 14th the ships were stopped by a field of low ice, to which no end could be seen, either, east, west, or south. On the 18th they got clear of this obstruction, but continued amongst the fields and bergs, with heavy gales of wind, till the 1st January 1773, when it was clear enough to see the moon, which they had only done once before since quitting the Cape. The fogs had been so impenetrable as to obscure the heavens. Various indications had induced a belief that land was not far distant, and Captain Cook had as near as possible pursued a course for the supposed Cape Circumcision. By the 7th January they had reached the latitude of 67 degrees 15 minutes south, where they found the ice closely packed from east to west-south-west, and further progress debarred, unless by running the hazard of getting blocked up as the summer in this part of the world was rapidly passing away. The captain therefore desisted from penetrating further to the south, and returned northerly, to look for the asserted recently-discovered land of the French. On the 1st February they were in latitude 48 degrees 30 minutes south, and longitude 58 degrees 7 minutes east, where it was stated to have been seen; but nothing of the kind presented itself to view. He traversed this part of the ocean with similar results; and during a dense fog, parted company with the Adventure. On the 23d they were in latitude 61 degrees 52 minutes south, and longitude 95 degrees 2 minutes east; the weather thick and stormy, and the ship surrounded by drifting ice. Captain Cook therefore stood to the north in a hard gale with a heavy sea, which broke up the mountains of ice, and rendered them, by their numbers, still more dangerous, especially in the long dark nights. On the 13th and 14th March the astronomers got observations which showed the latitude to be 58 degrees 22 minutes south, and the longitude 136 degrees 22 minutes east, whilst the watches showed the latter to be 134 degrees 42 minutes east. Captain Cook had become convinced he had left no continent south of him, and consequently shaped a course for New Zealand, to refresh his men, refit his ship, and look for the Adventurer. He made the land, and anchored in Dusky Bay on the 26th March, after having been 117 days at sea, and traversed 3660 leagues without seeing any land whilst during the whole time, through the arrangements and supplies of Captain Cook, scarcely a single case of scurvy occurred. From Dusky Bay they removed to another anchorage, where fish were plentifully caught, and the woods abounded with wild fowl timber and fire-wood were close at hand, and a fine stream of fresh water within a hundred yards of the ship's stern. This place was named Pickersgill harbor, in honor of the lieutenant who discovered it. The workmen erected tents for the forge, the carpenters, the sail-makers, coopers, and others, and a spot was selected for an observatory. Some tolerably good beer was manufactured from the branches and leaves of a tree resembling the American black spruce, mixed with the inspissated juice of wort and molasses.

On the 28th some of the natives visited them, and though at first shy, a friendly intercourse was subsequently established. Captain Cook surveyed Dusky Bay, where in retired spots, he planted seeds, and left several geese. They also caught a number of seals, from which they procured a supply of oil. On the 11th May they quitted this place for Queen Charlotte's Sound, and on the 17th it fell perfectly calm, and they had an opportunity of seeing no less than six waterspouts, one of which passed within fifty yards of the Resolution. The next day they made the Sound, where the Adventure had already arrived, and great was the joy of meeting. On the 4th June they celebrated the birthday of George III, and a chief and his family, consisting of ninety persons, were shown the gardens which had been made, which they promised to continue in cultivation. A male and female goat were put on shore on the east side of the Sound, and a boar and two sows near Cannibal Cove, which it was hoped would not be molested.