19th April 1770
In the P.M. had fresh Gales at South-South-West and Cloudy Squally weather, with a large Southerly Sea; at 6 took in the Topsails, and at 1 A.M. brought too and Sounded, but had no ground with 130 fathoms of line. At 5, set the Topsails close reef'd, and 6, saw land extending from North-East to West, distance 5 or 6 Leagues, having 80 fathoms, fine sandy bottom. We continued standing to the Westward with the Wind at South-South-West until 8, at which time we got Topgallant Yards a Cross, made all sail, and bore away along shore North-East for the Eastermost land we had in sight, being at this time in the Latitude of 37 degrees 58 minutes South, and Longitude of 210 degrees 39 minutes West. The Southermost point of land we had in sight, which bore from us West 1/4 South, I judged to lay in the Latitude of 38 degrees 0 minutes South and in the Longitude of 211 degrees 7 minutes West from the Meridian of Greenwich. I have named it Point Hicks, because Lieutenant Hicks was the first who discover'd this Land. To the Southward of this point we could see no land, and yet it was clear in that Quarter, and by our Longitude compared with that of Tasman's, the body of Van Diemen's land ought to have bore due South from us, and from the soon falling of the Sea after the wind abated I had reason to think it did; but as we did not see it, and finding the Coast to trend North-East and South-West, or rather more to the Westward, makes me Doubtfull whether they are one land or no.* (* Had not the gale on the day before forced Cook to run to the northward, he would have made the north end of the Furneaux Group, and probably have discovered Bass Strait, which would have cleared up the doubt, which he evidently felt, as to whether Tasmania was an island or not. The fact was not positively known until Dr. Bass sailed through the Strait in a whale-boat in 1797. Point Hicks was merely a rise in the coast-line, where it dipped below the horizon to the westward, and the name of Point Hicks Hill is now borne by an elevation that seems to agree with the position.)
However, every one who compares this Journal with that of Tasman's will be as good a judge as I am; but it is necessary to observe that I do not take the Situation of Vandiemen's from the Printed Charts, but from the extract of Tasman's Journal, published by Dirk Rembrantse. At Noon we were in the Latitude of 37 degrees 50 minutes and Longitude of 210 degrees 29 minutes West. The extreams of the Land extending from North-West to East-North-East, a remarkable point, bore North 20 degrees East, distant 4 Leagues. This point rises to a round hillock very much like the Ramhead going into Plymouth sound, on which account I called it by the same name; Latitude 37 degrees 39 minutes, Longitude 210 degrees 22 minutes West. The Variation by an Azimuth taken this morning was 8 degrees 7 minutes East. What we have as yet seen of this land appears rather low, and not very hilly, the face of the Country green and Woody, but the Sea shore is all a white Sand.
Joseph Banks Journal
With the first day light this morn the Land was seen, at 10 it was pretty plainly to be observd; it made in sloping hills, coverd in Part with trees or bushes, but interspersd with large tracts of sand. At Noon the land much the same. We were now sailing along shore 5 or 6 Leagues from it, with a brisk breeze of wind and cloudy unsettled weather, when we were calld upon deck to see three water spouts, which at the same time made their appearance in different places but all between us and the land. Two which were very distant soon disapeard but the third which was about a League from us lasted full a quarter of an hour. It was a column which appeard to be of about the thickness of a mast or a midling tree, and reachd down from a smoak colourd cloud about two thirds of the way to the surface of the sea; under it the sea appeard to be much troubled for a considerable space and from the whole of that space arose a dark colourd thick mist which reachd to the bottom of the pipe. When it was at its greatest distance from the water the pipe itself was perfectly transparent and much resembled a tube of glass or a Column of water, if such a thing could be supposd to be suspended in the air; it very frequently contracted and dilated, lenghned and shortned itself and that by very quick motions; it very seldom remaind in a perpendicular direction but Generaly inclind either one way or the other in a curve as a light body acted upon by wind is observd to do. During the whole time that it lasted smaler ones seemd to attempt to form in its neighbourhood; at last one did about as thick as a rope close by it and became longer than the old one which at that time was in its shortest state; upon this they Joind together in an instant and gradualy contracting into the Cloud disapeard.
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