CHAPTER IV. Narrative of Captain Cook's second Voyage round the World.
The weather having been clear on the 13th and 14th, Mr. Wales had an opportunity of getting some observations of the sun and moon; the results of which, reduced to noon, when the latitude was 58 22' south, gave 136 22' east longitude. Mr. Kendal's and Mr. Arnold's watches gave each of them 134 42'; and this was the first and only time in which they had pointed out the same longitude, since the ships had departed from England. The greatest difference, however, between them, since our voyagers had left the Cape, had not much exceeded two degrees.
From the moderate, and what might almost be called pleasant weather, which had occurred for two or three days, Captain Cook began to wish that he had been a few degrees of latitude farther south; and he was even tempted to incline his course that way. But he soon met with weather which convinced him that he had proceeded full far enough; and that the time was approaching when these seas could not be navigated without enduring intense cold. As he advanced in his course, he became perfectly assured, from repeated proofs, that he had left no land behind him in the direction of west-south-west; and that no land lay to the south on this side sixty degrees of latitude. He came, therefore, to a resolution, on the 17th, to quit the high southern latitudes, and to proceed to New Zealand, with a view of looking for the Adventure, and of refreshing his people. He had, also, some thoughts, and even a desire, of visiting the east coast of Van Dieman's Land, in order to satisfy himself whether it joined the coast of New South Wales. The wind however, not permitting him to execute this part of his design, he shaped his course for New Zealand, in sight of which he arrived on the 25th, and where he came to anchor on the day following, in Dusky Bay. He had now been a hundred and seventeen days at sea, during which time he had sailed three thousand six hundred and sixty-leagues without having once come within sight of land.
After so long a voyage, in a high southern latitude, it might reasonably have been expected, that many of Captain Cook's people would be ill of the scurvy. This, however, was not the case. So salutary were the effects of the sweet wort, and several articles of provision, and especially of the frequent airing and sweetening of the ship, that there was only one man on board who could be said to be much afflicted with the disease; and even in that man, it was chiefly occasioned by a bad habit of body, and a complication of other disorders.
As our commander did not like the place in which he had anchored, he sent Lieutenant Pickersgill over to the south-east side of the bay, in search of a better; and the lieutenant succeeded in finding a harbour that was in every respect desirable. In the meanwhile, the fishing-boat was very successful; returning with fish sufficient for the whole crew's supper and in the morning of the next day, as many were caught as served for dinner. Hence were derived certain hopes of being plentifully supplied with this article. Nor did the shores and woods appear more destitute of wild fowl; so that our people had the prospect of enjoying, with ease, what, in their situation, might be called the luxuries of life. These agreeable circumstances determined Captain Cook to stay some time in the bay, in order to examine it thoroughly; as no one had ever landed before on any of the southern parts of New Zealand.
On the 27th, the ship entered Pickersgill Harbour; for so it was called, from the name of the gentleman by whom it had first been discovered. Here wood, for fuel and other purposes, was immediately at hand; and a fine stream of fresh water was not above a hundred yards from the stern of the vessel. Our voyagers, being thus advantageously situated, began vigorously to prepare for their necessary occupations by clearing places in the woods, in order to set up the astronomer's observatory, and the forge for the iron work, and to erect tents for the sailmakers and coopers. They applied themselves, also, to the brewing of beer from the branches or leaves of a tree, which greatly resembled the American black spruce. Captain Cook was persuaded, from the knowledge which he had of this tree, and from the similarity it bore to the spruce, that, with the addition of inspissated juice of wort and molasses, it would make a very wholesome liquor, and supply the want of vegetables, of which the country was destitute. It appeared, by the event, that he was not mistaken in his judgment.
Several of the natives were seen on the 28th, who took little notice of the English, and were very shy of access; and the captain did not choose to force an intercourse with them, as he had been instructed, by former experience, that the best method of obtaining was to leave time and place to themselves. While our commander continued in his present situation, he took every opportunity of examining the bay. As he was prosecuting his survey of it, on the 6th of April, his attention was directed to the north side, where he discovered a fine capacious cove, in the bottom of which is a fresh-water river. On the west side are several beautiful cascades; and the shores are so steep that water might directly be conveyed from them into the ship. Fourteen ducks, besides, other birds, having been shot in this place, he gave it the name of Duck Cove. When he was returning in the evening, he met with three of the natives, one man and two women, whose fears he soon dissipated, and whom he engaged in a conversation, that was little understood on either side. The youngest of the women had a volubility of tongue that could not be exceeded; and she entertained Captain Cook, and the gentlemen who accompanied him with a dance.