The Endeavour Journal of Sir Joseph Banks/March 1770

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1770 March 1.

Wind variable and weather sufficiently troublesome.

1770 March 2.

More moderate but a heavy swell from SW made the ship very troublesome.

1770 March 3.

More moderate but SW swell almost as high as ever which gave great spirits to the no Continent party.

1770 March 4.

Pleasant weather and fair wind so that we ran in towards the land. In the morn 1 or 2 Penguins were about us that swam as fast as the ship saild making a noise something like the shreiking of a goose; the[y] seemd to be like Diomedaea demersa but whether they were or not I cannot be certain. In the evening ran along shore but kept so far of that little could be seen; a large smoak was however, which at night shewd itself in an immence fire on the side of a hill which we supposd to be set on fire by the natives; for tho this is the only sign of people we have seen yet I think it must be an indisputable proof that there are inhabitants, tho probably very thinly scatterd over the face of this very large countrey.

1770 March 5.

Thick misty weather, the smoak of last nights fire still in sight. A point of land seen this morn which inclind much to the Westward was supposd by the no Continents the end of the land; towards even however it cleard up and we Continents had the pleasure to see more land to the Southward.

1770 March 6.

Very moderate and exceedingly clear. Land seen as far as South so our unbeleivers are almost inclind to think that Continental measures will at last prevail.

1770 March 7.

Almost calm so we remaind in the same place nearly all day, to[o] far from the land to see any thing of it at least to depend upon our observations.

1770 March 8.

Little wind and fair, which carried us to the Southward far enough to ascertain that the appearance seen to the Southward in the eve of the 6th was nothing but clouds, tho from its fixd and steady appearance nobody at that time doubted in the least its being land.

1770 March 9.

At the first dawn of day a ledge of rocks were discoverd right to leward and very near us, so we had much reason to be thankfull that the wind in the night had been very gentle otherwise we must in all human probability have ran right among them, at least we could have had no chance of escaping them but by hearing them as there was no moon. The land appeard barren and seemd to end in a point to which the hills gradualy declind--much to the regret of us Continent mongers who could not help thinking this, a great swell from SW and the broken ground without it a pretty sure mark of some remarkable Cape being here. By noon we were pretty near the land which was uncommonly barren; the few flat places we saw seemingly produc'd little or nothing and the rest was all bare rocks, which were amazingly full of Large Veins and patches of some mineral that shone as if it had been polishd or rather lookd as if they were realy pavd with glass; what it was I could not at all guess but it certainly was some mineral and seemd to argue by its immense abundance a countrey abounding in minerals, where if one may judge from the corresponding latitudes of South America in all human probability something very valuable might be found.

1770 March 10.

Blew fresh all day but carried us round the Point to the total demolition of our aerial fabrick calld continent.

1770 March 11.

Fresh gales still and wind that will not let us get to the northward. We stood in with the shore which provd very high and had a most romantick appearance from the immence steepness of the hills, many of which were conical and most had their heads coverd with snow, on their sides and bottoms was however a good deal of wood, so much we could see and no more and the wind baulking us would not let us stand nearer the shore than two leagues.

1770 March 12.

Blew hard all day: immense quantities of Albatrosses and other sea birds were seen which we had been without for some time.

1770 March 13.

Wind fair but still blew fresh with very unsetled weather. In the evening we saw a harbour, stood in towards it and found it to have all the appearances of a good one but it was too late to stand near. The countrey about it was high inland tho not so much so as that seen on the 11th as there was no snow on any part of it. Here were veins in the rocks, very large, filld with a whiteish appearance different from what we saw on the 9th. The sides of the hills appeard to be well wooded and the countrey in general as fertile as in so hilly a countrey could be expected, but not the least signs of inhabitants.

1770 March 14.

Stood along shore with a fair breeze and passed 3 or 4 places that had much the appearance of harbours, much to my regret who wishd to examine the mineral appearances from which I had formd great hopes. The countrey rose immediately from the sea side in steep hills which however were tolerably coverd with wood; behind these were another ridge of hills coverd in many places with snow, which from its pure whiteness and smoothness in the morn and the many cracks and intervals that appeard among it at night we conjecturd to be newly falln.

1770 March 15.

Little wind in the morn, towards Even a brisk breeze. The countrey today appeard coverd with steep hills, whose sides were but ill wooded but on their tops was large quantities of snow especialy on the sides that lookd towards the South. We imagind that about noon we passd by some considerable river as the sea was almost coverd with leaves, small twigs and blades of Grass. Many Albatrosses about the ship today, we have not been absolutely without them since we came on this side the land.

1770 March 16.

Much snow on the ridges of the high hills, two were however seen on which was little or none: whatever the cause of it might be I could not guess, they were quite bare of trees or any kind of Vegetables and seemd to consist of a mouldering soft stone of the colour of Brick or light red ocre. About noon the countrey near the sea changd much for the better, appearing in broad Valleys clothd with prodigious fine woods out of which came many fine streams of water, but notwithstanding the fineness of the countrey there was not the smallest signs of inhabitants, nor indeed have we seen any since we made this land except the fire on the 4th.

1770 March 17.

Passd today by several large flatts which seemd low. The day in general was foggy so that little could be seen.

1770 March 18.

Immense quantities of snow on the hills new falln which by noon was plainly seen to begin to melt. The countrey near the shore was to appearance fertile and pleasant enough.

1770 March 19.

Hazey weather and foul wind put us all out of spirits.

1770 March 20.

Blew fresh all day with much rain and hazey weather; at night however wind came fair.

1770 March 21.

Hazey: the land was wrap'd in a cloak of fog all day Above which the tops of some hills appeard. At night saw a Phaenomenon which I have but seldom seen, at sun set the flying clouds were of almost all colours among which was green very conspicuous tho rather faint colourd.

1770 March 22.

Cloudey mistey and calm all day. Once we were very near the shore on which we saw that there was a most dreadfull surf, occasiond by the S and SW swell which has reignd without intermission ever since we have been upon this side of the land.

1770 March 23.

Fine weather and light breezes.

1770 March 24.

Just turnd the Westernmost point and stood into the mouth of the streights intending to anchor in the first harbour we could find when an Easterly wind met us right in the teeth, to our no small dissatisfaction as I beleive there has been no other part of the time since we have left Cape Turnagain the first time when such a wind would have been disagreable.

1770 March 25.

Light breezes but wind still at East. The sea is certainly an excellent school for patience.

1770 March 26.

Light breezes and wind fair to our no small comfort. Afternoon we saw a ripple near an Island which had something the appearance of Breakers, but differd from them in the small waves breaking only without any swell or large ones. Our boat sounded upon it but could get no ground; we suppos'd it to be the effect of a strong tide such as we felt in the streights a[s] we passd them. At night came to an anchor in a Bay in some part of which it is probable that Tasman anchord.

1770 March 27.

Went ashore this morn: the countrey hilly but not very high, little or no flats were however to be seen. In the place where we waterd were the remains of two or three Indian houses which clearly had not been inhabited this year at least, but no signs that people had been here since that time. While Dr Solander and self botanizd Tupia and his boy caught almost a boat load of fish by angling in 2 or 3 fathom water.

1770 March 28.

Raind and blew so hard all today that going ashore was scarce practicable, at least when we had so little hopes of success as our yesterdays search had given us in which we found not one new plant.

1770 March 29.

Raind and blew as hard as yesterday. Myself ill with sickness at stomack and most violent headach, a complaint which in some of our people has been succeeded by a fever. During the day many fish were taken in the ship 90 out of the Cabbin windows alone.

1770 March 30.

Myself quite recoverd except a little soreness at my stomack occasiond I suppose by reaching yesterday. The weather being fair I resolvd to climb some hill in hopes of meeting some plants in the upper regions as none had been found in the lower. I did with great dificulty, walking for more than a mile in fern higher than my head; success however answerd my wishes and I got 3 plants which we had not before seen.

After coming down I examind the stones which lay on the beach. They shewd evident signs of mineral tendency being full of Veins but I had not the fortune to discover any ore of metal (at least that I knew to be so) in them. As the place we lay in had no bare rocks in its neighbourhood this was the only method I had of even Conjecturing.

1770 March 31.

Our rout being settled in the manner above mentiond we this morn weighd and saild with a fair breeze of wind inclind to fall in with Van Diemens Land as near as possible to the place where Tasman left it.