CHAPTER 13. 1772 TO 1774. SECOND VOYAGE.
On 29th July, Cook sent a boat to the Adventure, as he had heard her crew were very sickly, and found that about twenty of her men were down with scurvy, and the cook had died of the disease. Orders were given that the utmost precautions were to be taken, and wort, carrot marmalade, and rob of lemon were to be freely served out. On the Resolution, at the same time, three men were on the sick list, only one of whom had scurvy, but some of the others were showing symptoms, so similar precautions were taken, with good results.
Cook was so anxious about the Adventure's crew that he would not look for Pitcairn Island, discovered by Carteret, although he believed he was in its neighbourhood on 1st August (he was about fifteen leagues to the west), but a day or so after was able to have Furneaux on board to dinner, who reported a great improvement. He had some cider on board, which he had served out with gratifying results. Two islands were sighted on the 11th, which Cook named Resolution and Doubtful Islands; he believed them to have been discovered by De Bougainville. The following morning at daylight they found themselves almost on the top of what Cook calls "a half drowned island, or rather large coral shoal of about 20 leagues in circuit." In the lagoon which it surrounded they saw a large canoe under sail. The island was named after Furneaux. As they were now in such a dangerous neighbourhood, Cook ordered that at night the cutter with an officer and seven men should keep in advance of the ships until they arrived in sight of Maitea (Osnaburg Island) on 15th July, when, being in waters he knew, its services were discontinued. He steered for the south side of Otaheite in order to get fresh vegetables as soon as possible, and on the 16th at daybreak they found themselves about two miles from the reef. The wind dropped, and the set of the current was taking them on to the reef, so the boats were ordered out to tow, but getting near an opening through which the tide was rushing with great force, they were unable to keep the ships off. The anchors were let go, and the Adventure, finding holding ground, was brought up; but the Resolution was not so fortunate, and was carried on to the reef and struck two or three times, fortunately without doing any serious damage. A land breeze springing up and the tide slackening enabled them to get in safely, with the loss of three anchors, a cable, and a couple of hawsers; the bower anchor was recovered by Mr. Gilbert the next day. Cook says that though he thought they had a remarkably narrow escape, the natives who saw them did not seem to appreciate that they had been in any danger.
They remained at this anchorage for a week, and obtained plenty of coconuts and bananas; but though they saw hogs, they were unable to purchase any, as the people declared they all belonged to their chief; so, hearing he was in the neighbourhood, Cook landed to call on him, and at once recognised him as Tearee, whom he had seen in 1769. The chief also remembered him, and enquired after several of the Endeavour people. He tried to get Cook to make a longer stay, promising supplies of fresh meat as an inducement, but as such promises had so often been broken before, Cook replied he should leave the next day. Whilst here one of the marines, who had been ailing more or less all the voyage, and had become dropsical, died, and the one man who was suffering from scurvy still remained on the sick list. On the other hand, the Adventure's crew had greatly improved in health with the change to fresh vegetables. One of the natives was found to have picked up coconuts from which the sailors had drunk the milk, and having carefully sealed up the holes, resold them, and did not seem disconcerted when his trick was found out.
Before the ships reached their anchorage at Matavai Bay they were crowded with natives, many of whom Cook recognised, and almost all of whom knew him. Otoo, the king, at once recognised Cook, and enquired after Banks, Solander, and others of the Endeavour; yet Forster gravely asserts that he never saw them at the former visit. The old fort on Point Venus was reoccupied, tents pitched, and the observatory set up, and the camp was placed under the command of Lieutenant Edgecombe of the Marines.
The king gave a theatrical entertainment in honour of their arrival, at which his sister was the only female performer. It had some reference to the coming of the ships, but they were not able to follow the thread of the story. Cook could see that Otoo was nervous and uncomfortable, and felt dissatisfied with his reception, so determined to cut short his stay. No one could understand the reason of the unsatisfactory feeling, but Forster suggests that it was owing to the advice of a Spanish deserter, who had left his ship about March 1773. This vessel was commanded by Don Juan de Langara y Huarto, and was from Callao; her voyage has not been published, but the natives gave Forster to understand that four of her sailors had been hanged on her arrival. Cook refers to the presence of a white man, who, when he thought he had been observed, disappeared and was not seen again. Young Forster made an attempt to explore the interior, but finding the climbing more difficult than he expected, soon returned. In the gardens which had been planted at the Endeavour's visit, pumpkins seemed to be the only things which had done well, and for these the natives did not care, "which is not to be wondered at," says Cook. Further enquiries as to the religious ceremonies were made, but nothing very definite was ascertained; it appeared that on very rare occasions special criminals, selected by the high priest, were sacrificed at the Moris. Cook also formed the opinion that the standard of morality amongst the women was much higher than had previously been admitted.