CHAPTER 16. 1776 TO 1777. THIRD VOYAGE.
On 12th December the islands discovered by Marion du Fresne and Crozet in 1772 were sighted, and as they were unnamed in the map, dated 1775, given by Crozet to Cook, he called them Prince Edward's Islands, and a small group further to the east was named Marion and Crozet Islands. Then sailing south through fog so dense that, Burney says, they were often for hours together unable to see twice the length of the ship, and, though it was the height of summer, the cold was so intense that the warm clothing had to be resorted to, they sighted Kerguelen's Land on 24th December. The Chevalier de Borda had given Cook 48 degrees 26 minutes South, 64 degrees 57 minutes East of Paris as the position of Rendezvous Island; this Cook took to be an isolated rock they only just weathered in the fog, to which he gave the name of Bligh's Cap, for he said: "I know nothing that can Rendezvous at it but fowls of the air, for it is certainly inaccessible to every other animal." Cook, unaware that Kerguelen had paid two visits to the place, found some difficulty in recognising the places described. The country was very desolate, the coarse grass hardly worth cutting for the animals; no wood, but a good supply of water was obtained; and here the Christmas Day was spent on the 27th, as the 25th and 26th had been full of hard work. A bottle was found by one of the crew containing a parchment record of the visit of the French in 1772; on the back Cook noted the names of his ships and the year of their visit, and adding a silver twopenny piece of 1772, replaced it in the bottle which was sealed with lead and hidden in a pile of stones in such a position that it could not escape the notice of any one visiting the spot. Running along the coast to the south-east they encountered very blowy weather, and finding the land even more desolate than that at Christmas Harbour, they left on the 31st for New Zealand. Anderson, the surgeon, on whom Cook relied for his notes on Natural History, says:
"Perhaps no place hitherto discovered in either hemisphere under the same parallel of latitude affords so scanty a field for the naturalist as this barren spot."
The whole catalogue of plants, including lichens, did not exceed sixteen or eighteen.
A SOUTHERLY BUSTER.
The first part of January 1777 was foggy, and Cook says they "ran above 300 leagues in the dark." On the 19th a squall carried away the fore topmast and main topgallant mast, and it took the whole day to replace the first, but they had nothing suitable for the top gallant mast. On 26th January they put into Adventure Bay, Van Diemen's Land, and obtained a spar; Cook spoke of the timber as being good but too heavy. A few natives were seen, but did not create a favourable impression, still Cook landed a couple of pigs in hopes to establish the breed, a hope doomed to be unsatisfied. The Marquis de Beauvoir relates that in 1866 he saw in Adventure Bay a tree on which was cut with a knife: Cook, 26th Jan. 1777, and he was informed it had been cut by the man himself. They seem to have seen nothing to raise a doubt about Furneaux's conclusion that Van Diemen's Land formed a part of Australia, so no attempt was made to settle the question, and they sailed for New Zealand on the 30th, meeting with a "perfect storm" from the south; the thermometer rose:
"almost in an instant from about 70 degrees to near 90 degrees, but fell again when the wind commenced, in fact the change was so rapid that there were some on board who did not notice it."
These storms are of frequent occurrence, and are locally known as Southerly Busters.
On 10th February Rocks Point, near Cape Farewell, was sighted, and on the 12th they anchored near their old berth in Queen Charlotte's Sound, and a camp was immediately established. Here they were visited by a few of the natives, some of whom remembered Cook and were recognised by him. At first they thought he had come to avenge the Adventure's losses, but after a time were persuaded to put aside their distrust, and they flocked down to the shore, every available piece of ground being quickly occupied by their huts. Cook describes how one party worked. The ground was selected, the men tearing up the grass and plants, and erected the huts, whilst the women looked after the canoes, properties, and provisions, and collected firewood; and he kept the children and some of the oldest of the party out of mischief by scrambling the contents of his pockets amongst them. At the same time he noticed that however busy the men might be, they took care to be within easy reach of their weapons; and he on his side had a strong party of marines on duty, and any party working at a distance from the ship was always armed and under the command of an officer experienced in dealing with the natives. Cook was pleased to notice his men were not inclined to associate with the Maoris, and he always tried to discourage familiarity between his crew and the natives of the islands he visited. It is worthy of remark that two of the Resolution were on the sick list, whilst the Discovery had a clean bill of health.
One of their constant visitors was a man Cook calls Kahoura, who was pointed out as having been the leader at the massacre of the Adventure's men, and it was a matter of surprise to the natives that having him in his power Cook did not kill him; but after the fullest possible enquiry Cook believed it was best to let matters rest, as the attack had evidently arisen out of a sudden quarrel, and was totally unpremeditated. Burney thinks the Maoris felt a certain contempt for the English, either because they were too generous in their dealings, or else because the murders were unavenged.