After the death of Captain Cook, and the events immediately succeeding it, Captain Clerke, upon whom the command of the expedition had devolved, proceeded from Owhyhee, and coasted several of the other islands of the group. The ships anchored at Atooi to procure water; in doing this our voyagers experienced some interruption from the natives, and a slight conflict took place, in which one of the islanders was wounded by a musket-shot. They were here told, that, at their preceding visit, they had left a disorder amongst the women, of which several persons of both sexes had died; and as there was not the slightest appearance of the disorder amongst the natives, at the first arrival of the vessels, there is too much reason to believe that some of the crew were the authors of that irreparable mischief. Atooi was in a state of internal warfare; the quarrel had arisen about the goats Captain Cook had left at Oneeheow the year before, the property of which was contested by two different chiefs. The goats, which had increased to the number of six, and would probably in a few years have stocked all these islands, were destroyed in the contest.
Our voyagers left the Sandwich Islands finally on the 15th of March: and stood to the south-west, in hopes of falling in with the island of Modoopapappa, which they were told by the natives lay in that direction, about five hours' sail from Taohora; but though the two vessels stretched asunder several miles, they did not discover it. It is possible it might have been passed in the night, as the islanders described it to be small, sandy, and almost even with the surface of the sea.
The harbour of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, in Awatska Bay, was appointed for the next rendezvous of the two vessels, in case of separation. In the course of their navigation towards Kamtschatka, they traversed that part of the Northern Pacific, in which some islands and lands were laid down in the charts, such as the island of Reia de Plata in De l'Isle's chart, and the land said to have been seen by John de Gama, in a voyage from China to New Spain, first delineated in a chart published by Texeira, a Portuguese geographer, in 1649; but though at sundry times they had various indications of land, they discovered none, and those islands and lands must therefore either be of trifling extent, or wholly imaginary.
A leak, under the larboard bow of the Resolution, which had kept the people almost constantly at the pumps, ever since their leaving the Sandwich Islands, occasioned a great alarm on the 13th of April. The water, which had lodged in the coal-hole, not finding a sufficient vent into the well, had forced up the platforms over it, and in a moment deluged the whole space between decks. The coals would very soon choke up a pump, and the number of bulky materials that were washed out of the gunner's store room, and which, by the ship's motion, were tossed violently from side to side, rendered it impracticable to bale the water out. No other method was therefore left, than to cut a hole through the bulk-head, that separated the coal-hole from the fore-hold. As soon as the passage was made, the greatest part of the water was emptied into the well: but the leak was now so much increased, that it was necessary to keep one half of the people constantly pumping and baling, till the noon of the 15th.
On the 23rd, at six in the morning, on the fog clearing away, the land of Kamtschatka appeared, in mountains covered with snow. The weather was most severe: the ship appeared to be a complete mass of ice, and the shrouds were so incrusted with it, as to measure in circumference more than double their usual size. The crews suffered very severely from the cold, particularly from having lately left the tropical climates; and, but for the foresight and care of their officers, would indeed have been in a deplorable state. It was natural to expect, that their experience, during their voyage to the north the year before, would have made them sensible of the necessity of paying some attention to their clothing; as it was generally known in both ships, that they were to make another voyage towards the pole; but, with the thoughtlessness of infants, upon their return to a warm climate, their fur jackets and the rest of their cold-country clothes, were kicked about the decks, as things of no value. They were of course picked up by the officers, and being put into casks, were, in due season, restored to their owners.
On the 25th, when off the entrance of Awatska Bay, the Resolution lost sight of the Discovery, and on the 28th entered the Bay. The officers of the Resolution examined every corner of it, with their glasses, in search of the town of St. Peter and St. Paul, which they had conceived to be a place of some strength and consideration. At length they discovered, on a narrow point of land a few miserable loghouses, and some conical huts raised on poles, amounting in all to about thirty, which, from the situation, they were under the necessity of concluding to be Petropaulowska. 'However,' says Captain King, 'in justice to the generous and hospitable treatment we found here, I shall beg leave to anticipate the reader's curiosity, by assuring him that our disappointment proved to be more of a laughable than a serious nature; for, in this wretched extremity of the earth, situated beyond every thing that we conceived to be most barbarous and inhospitable, and, as it were, out of the very reach of civilization, barricadoed with ice, and covered with summer snow, in a poor miserable port, far inferior to the meanest of our fishing-towns, we met with feelings of humanity, joined to a greatness of mind, an elevation of sentiment, which would have done honour to any nation or climate.'