2nd September 1769

Society Islands to New Zealand
Very strong Gales, with heavy squalls of Wind, hail, and rain. At 4 p.m., being in the Latitude of 40 degrees 22 minutes South, and having not the least Visible signs of land, we wore, and brought too under the Foresail, and reef'd the Mainsail, and handed it. I did intend to have stood to the Southward if the winds had been Moderate, so long as they continued Westerly, notwithstanding we had no prospect of meeting with land, Rather than stand back to the Northward, on the same Track as we came, but as the weather was so very Tempestious I laid aside this design, and thought it more adviseable to stand to the Northward into better weather, least we should receive such Damage in our Sails and Rigging as might hinder the further Prosecutions of the Voyage.*

(* This long excursion to the south is a fine instance of Cook's thoroughness and determination in exploration. The belief in a southern continent was strong amongst most geographers; but it rested on nothing more than the false idea that dry lands in the two hemispheres should balance one another. Cook himself did not share the general belief; and few others in his position would have struggled for 1500 miles out of his direct course into bad weather, simply to disprove an idea, when so much unexplored ocean lay before him to the westward, with a fair wind and fine weather.)

Some Albetrosses, Pintado birds, and Doves about the Ship, and a Bird larger than a Duck, his plumage of a Dark Brown, with a Yellow beak. We saw of these Birds in our Passage to the Northward, after doubling Cape Horn. At Noon the weather was more moderate; set the Reefd Mainsail. A great Sea from the West-South-West. Wind West; Course North 54 degrees 30 minutes East; distance 46 miles; latitude 39 degrees 45 minutes South, longitude 145 degrees 39 minutes West.

Joseph Banks Journal
Wind still fresher, ship lays too. Bird[s] of all the sorts before mentiond in great numbers round her. In the evening the weather moderates and the sea falls fast. At night the comet was seen brighter than when last observd but the tail was something shorter, which when last seen measurd 42 degrees in lengh. Great sea from WSW. At 4 lat. 40¡.

Sydney Parkinson’s Journal
On the 2d, we had hard gales, and squally weather. About noon we set the mainsail, and bore away N. N. W. the captain having, pursuant to his orders, gone in search of the continent as far as 40° south latitude, and determined to stand to the southward, to see what discoveries he could make in that quarter, apprehending that, if we continued much longer in these high latitudes, we should not have sails enough, to carry us home: besides, the weather was so tempestuous, that, had we made land, it would not have been safe to have approached near it.—The course which we have steered to the southward, has been mostly between 147 and 150 degrees, west longitude.

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