5th April 1769

Cape Horn to Tahiti
A fresh steady gale and fine weather. At 1 p.m. made Sail to the Westward, and at 1/2 past 3 saw land to the North-West, which we got up with at Sun sett and proved to be a low woody Island of a Circular form, and not much above a Mile in Compass. This Island I called Thrum Cap* (* Akiaki. It is inhabited.); it lies in the Latitude of 18 degrees 35 minutes South and in the Longitude of 139 degrees 48 minutes West from Greenwich, and North 62 degrees West, 7 Leagues from Lagoon Island. We saw no inhabitants, nor the appearance of any, and yet we were within 1/2 a Mile of the Shore. I observed by the Shore that it was near low Water, and at Lagoon Island I observed that it was either high Water or else there was no Ebbing and flowing of the Sea. From these Circumstances I infer that a South by East or South Moon makes high Water. Here we caught a King Fish, being the first fish we have got in these Seas. Wind East; course North 77 degrees 30 minutes West; distance 79 miles; latitude 18 degrees 25 minutes South, longitude 140 degrees 51 minutes West.

Joseph Banks Journal
Less wind this morn than yesterday with some showers of rain. While we were at dinner word was brought down that there was land in sight from the mast head, and found it a low Island but of much greater extent than either of those seen yesterday being from 10 to 15 leagues in circumference. Myself remaind at the mast head the whole evening admiring its extrordinary structure: in shape it appeard to be like a bow the wood and string of which was land and the parts within occupied by a large lake of water, which bore about the same proportion to the land as the void space within the bow does to the string and wood. The string of the bow was a flat beach without any signs of vegetation on it but heaps of sea weed laying in ridges as higher or lower tides had left them; this was 3 or 4 Leagues long and appeard not more than 200 yards wide in any part tho doubtless as flat objects foreshorten themselves so much it might be much more. The Horns or angles of the bow were two large tufts of Cocoa nut trees and much the largest part of its arch was filld up likewise with trees of different hights and appearances, a small part of it however was in my opinion low and like the string. Here some thought there was an opening into the Pool in the center and myself cannot say there was not, indeed it was at so great a distance that all must be conjecture. Along the low beach or bowstring we saild within less than a league of the shore till sunsett when we judg'd ourselves about half way between the two horns, we then brought too and sounded, 130 fathom of line out and no ground; night which came on here almost instantly after sunset made us lose sight of the land before the line was well hauld in. We then steerd by the sound of the breakers which were very distinctly heard in the ship till we were clear of all. That this land was inhabited appeard clearly by three smoaks in different parts of the Island which we saw repeated several different times, probably as signals from one to the other of our aproach. 

Our 2nd Lieutenant affirmed that he saw from the deck many inhabitants in the first clump of Trees, that they were walking to and fro as if on their ordinary business without taking the least notice of the ship, he saw also many houses and Canoes hauld up under the trees. To this I only say that I did not see them or know that any one else had till the ship had passd the place ½ an hour.

Sydney Parkinson’s Journal
The next morning we saw another in latitude 18° 23', which, on account of a great salt lagoon in the middle of it, we called Lagoon-Isle: Before noon we made another low island, which we called Thumb-cap Island. It stretched a long way, and is made up of several parcels of land joined together by reefs: it has also a lagoon inclosed with a reef, upon which we discovered many canoes; some having ten people in them, and others a lesser number.

As we sailed along, the natives followed us, some on the reef, others in canoes, and seemed desirous to have an intercourse with us; but though we beckoned to them, they would not come off. They appeared to be very stout men; their complexion almost black, with short hair, and quite naked, having long lances, or poles, in their hands. Some of them waded up to the neck in water to look at us, but they did not discover any hostile intentions. Their canoes had out-riggers, with mat-fails: and when we put away from the land one of them followed us.

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