CHAPTER IV. Narrative of Captain Cook's second Voyage round the World.
The various anchoring places are delineated on our commander's chart, and the most convenient of them he has particularly described. Not only about Dusky Bay, but through all the southern part of the western coast of Tavai-poenammo, the country is exceedingly mountainous. A prospect more rude and craggy is rarely to be met with; for, inland, there are only to be seen the summits of mountains of a tremendous height, and consisting of rocks that are totally barren and naked, excepting where they are covered with snow. But the land which borders on the sea-coast is thickly clothed with wood almost down to the water's edge; and this is the case with regard to all the adjoining islands. The trees are of various kinds, and are fit for almost every possible use. Excepting in the river Thames, Captain Cook had not found finer timber in all New Zealand; the most considerable species of which is the spruce tree; for that name he had given it, from the similarity of its foliage to the American spruce, though the wood is more ponderous, and bears a greater resemblance to the pitch pine. Many of these trees are so large, that they would be able to furnish mainmasts for fifty-gun ships. Amidst the variety of aromatic trees and shrubs which this part of New Zealand produced, there was none which bore fruit fit to be eaten. The country was not found so destitute of quadrupeds as was formerly imagined.
As Dusky Bay presented many advantages to our navigators, so it was attended with some disagreeable circumstances. There were great numbers of small black sandflies, which were troublesome to a degree that our commander had never experienced before. Another evil arose from the continual quantity of rain that occurred in the bay. This might, indeed, in part proceed from the season of the year: but it is probable that the country must at all times be subject to much wet weather, in consequence of the vast height and vicinity of the mountains. It was remarkable that the rain, though our people were perpetually exposed to it, was not productive of any evil consequences. On the contrary, such of the men as were sick and complaining when they entered the bay, recovered daily, and the whole crew soon became strong and vigorous. So happy a circumstance could only be attributed to the healthiness of the place, and the fresh provisions it afforded; among which the beer was a very material article.
The inhabitants of Dusky Bay are of the same race with the other natives of New Zealand, speak the same language, and adhere nearly to the same customs. Their mode of life appears to be a wandering one; and though they are few in number, no traces were remarked of their families being connected together In any close bonds of union or friendship.
While the Resolution lay in the bay, Mr. Wales made a variety of scientific observations relative to latitude and longitude, the variation of the compass, and the diversity of the tides.
When Captain Cook left Dusky Bay, he directed his course for Queen Charlotte's Sound, where he expected to find the Adventure. This was on the 11th of May, and nothing remarkable occurred till the 17th, when the wind at once flattened to a calm, the sky became suddenly obscured by dark dense clouds, and there was every prognostication of a tempest. Soon after, six waterspouts were seen, four of which rose and spent themselves between the ship and the land; the fifth was at a considerable distance, on the other side of the vessel; and the sixth, the progressive motion of which was not in a straight, but in a crooked line, passed within fifty yards of the stern of the Resolution, without producing any evil effect. As the captain had been informed that the firing of a gun would dissipate waterspouts, he was sorry that he had not tried the experiment. But, though he was near enough, and had a gun ready for the purpose, his mind was so deeply engaged in viewing these extraordinary meteors, that he forgot to give the necessary directions.
On the next day, the Resolution came within sight of Queen Charlotte's Sound, where Captain Cook had the satisfaction of discovering the Adventure; and both ships felt uncommon joy at thus meeting again after an absence of fourteen weeks. As the events which happened to Captain Furneaux, during the separation of the two vessels, do not fall within the immediate design of the present narrative, it may be sufficient to observe, that he had an opportunity of examining, with somewhat more accuracy than had hitherto been done, Van Dieman's Land, and his opinion was, that there are no straits between this land and New Holland, but a very deep bay. He met, likewise, with farther proofs, that the natives of New Zealand are eaters of human flesh.
The morning after Captain Cook's arrival in Queen Charlotte's Sound, he went himself, at daybreak, to look for scurvy-grass, celery, and other vegetables; and he had the good fortune to return with a boatload, in a very short space of time. Having found, that a sufficient quantity of these articles might be obtained for the crews of both the ships, he gave orders that they should be boiled with wheat and portable broth, every day for breakfast; and with pease and broth for dinner. Experience had taught him, that the vegetables now mentioned, when thus dressed, are extremely beneficial to seamen, in removing the various scorbutic complaints to which they are subject.