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Captain Cook's Voyages of Discovery

Young Navigators

December, 1769

The crew finds water, cellery and fish and learn a lesson from the Indians.

The following day [Dec. 1] we landed on an island at the west side of the bay, where we found good water and cellery in great plenty; and also a town where we drew our nets, but with very bad success, though the Indians at the same time caught large quantities. Their success was occasioned by watching the approach of the fish who came in large shoals; together with a difference in the form of their seines, which were two or three fathoms in depth, and of proportionable length.

Monday the 4th of December we sailed from the Bay of Islands, and, it being low water, on crossing the bar we sounded in two fathom three quarters, the wind being from the south.

The Endeavour nearly founders again, much to the delight of the Indians

On Wednesday the 6th, coasting by the land, at ten o'clock in the evening it fell calm and a strong tide flowing at that time, it carried us, not withstanding all our endeavours, within twenty yards of the shore, which was crowded by the natives, flourishing their weapons, exulting at our dangers, and expecting us for their prey: but at the instant when our preservation appeared hopeless, a gentle breeze began from the shore, and the current of an eddy at the same time turning the head of our ship from the land, we happily escaped from the dangers with which we had been threatened. The wind having freshened about eleven o'clock the same night, we struck violently against a sunken rock, but happily fell off without any considerable damage. In the day time we had observed several breakings in the water near this place, but concluded them to have been occasioned by the respiration of a grampus which we had seen a little before.

The Island of Three Kings in bad weather

From the 7th we continued sailing along the coast north-westerly until the 25th, when we discovered the Island of Three Kings: in this interval we had experienced a constant succession of violent gales which greatly damaged our sails and rigging, and at a time when our canvas and even twine were nearly expended.

Sunday the 31st of December at noon, we saw Tasman's North Cape, bearing N.N.E. and distant four leagues and a half: having passed this cape which is the most northern extremity of New Zealand, we altered our course to the southward, sailing along the opposite, or east-side, towards Murderers Bay, where we proposed to supply ourselves with wood and water.