New Zealand war canoe
New Zealand war canoe.
(Fac-simile of early engraving.)

On the 8th of February, the captain found to his dismay that the Adventure was no longer sailing with him. He waited in vain for two days, firing at close intervals and keeping great fires upon the deck all night. The Resolution had to continue her voyage alone.

On the morning of the 17th of February, between twelve and three o'clock, the crew witnessed a magnificent spectacle, then first seen by European eyes. It was an aurora borealis. "The officer of the watch," says the narrative, "noticed that from time to time rays left it in spiral and circular forms, and that then its brilliancy increased, which gave it an extremely beautiful appearance. It appeared to have no particular bearing, but remained motionless in the heavens, which it filled entirely from time to time, by throwing its light to all parts."

After another attempt to pass the arctic circle, an attempt, which the fogs, the rain, the snow, and the ice-blocks forced him to relinquish, Cook resumed his course to the north, convinced that he left no large land behind him, and regained New Zealand, which he had agreed upon with the Adventure as a rendezvous in the event of separation.

On the 25th of March he cast anchor in Dusky Bay, after one hundred and seventy consecutive days of sea, in which he had not made less than three thousand six hundred and sixty leagues, without one sight of land.

As soon as he could find suitable anchorage, the captain hastened to avail himself of the resources for feeding his crew, which the country furnished in fowls, fish, and vegetables, whilst he himself, generally with the plumb-line in his hand, traversed the environs of the bay. He met only a few natives, with whom he had little intercourse. But one family becoming somewhat familiarized, established itself a hundred yards from the landing-place. Cook gave a concert for them, in which the fife and cornet were lavished on them in vain, the New Zealanders awarded the palm to the drum!

On the 18th of April, a chief came on board with his daughter. But before entering the ship he rapped her sides with a green wand he held in his hand, and addressed an harangue or invocation in modulated accents, to the strangers, a very general custom with the islanders of the southern sea. Scarcely was his foot on deck, when he offered the captain a bit of cloth, and a green talc hatchet, an unprecedented act of generosity for a New Zealander.

The chief visited every part of the ship. In order to testify his gratitude to the captain he plunged his fingers into a bag at his waist, and offered to anoint his hair with the tainted oil it contained. Cook had much difficulty in escaping from this proof of affection, which had not been very pleasing to Byron in the Strait of Magellan, but the painter Hodges was forced to submit to the operation, to the amusement of the entire crew. The chief then departed, to return no more, taking with him nine hatchets, and thirty pairs of carpenter's scissors, which the officers had given him. Richer than all the New Zealanders put together, he no doubt hastened to stow away his treasures, in the fear that some one would deprive him of them.

Before leaving Cook landed five geese, the last of those he had brought from the Cape, thinking that they would multiply in this little inhabited spot, and he had a plot of land cleared in which he planted kitchen garden seeds. Thus he worked at the same time for the natives and for the future navigators who should find precious resources here.

When Cook had completed the hydrographical survey of Dusky Bay, he started for Queen Charlotte's Sound, the rendezvous assigned to Captain Furneaux.

On the 17th of May the crew witnessed a magnificent spectacle. Six water-spouts, one of them sixty feet wide at its base, were visible a hundred feet from the ship in succession, drawing the clouds and sea into communication by their powerful suction. This phenomenon lasted three quarters of an hour, and the first feeling of fear which it awakened in the breasts of the crew was soon merged in one of admiration, the greater as at this time such marvels were little known.

Next day, just as the Resolution entered Queen Charlotte's Sound, the Adventure was seen, and proved to have been waiting for six weeks. Furneaux, after reaching Van Diemen's Land on the 1st of March, had coasted it for seventeen days, but he was forced to desist before ascertaining whether it was, as he supposed, a part of New Holland. The refutation of this error was reserved for the surgeon, Bass. On the 9th of April after reaching Queen's Charlotte's Sound, the captain of theAdventure had profited by his leisure to lay out a garden and to open relations with the natives, who had furnished him with irresistible proofs of their cannibalism.