17th October 1769

[Returning North from Cape Turnagain]
P.M. winds at West, a fresh breeze; in the night, Variable light Airs and Calm; a.m. a Gentle breeze between the North-West and North-East. Seeing no likelyhood of meeting with a Harbour, and the face of the Country Visibly altering for the worse, I thought that the standing farther to the South would not be attended with any Valuable discovery, but would be loosing of Time, which might be better employ'd and with a greater Probability of success in examining the Coast to the Northward. With this View, at 1 p.m. Tack'd and stood to the Northward, having the Wind at West, a fresh breeze.*

(* If Cook had known the exact shape of New Zealand, he could scarcely have taken a better resolve, in view of saving time, than to turn northward again when he did.)

At this time we could see the land extending South-West by South, at least 10 or 12 Leagues. The Bluff head or high point of land we were abreast off at Noon I have called Cape Turnagain because here we returned. It lies in the Latitude of 40 degrees 34 minutes South, Longitude 182 degrees 55 West, and 18 Leagues South-South-West and South-South-West 1/2 West from Cape Kidnapper. The land between them is of a very unequal height; in some places it is high, with White Cliffs next the Sea--in others low, with sandy beaches. The face of the Country is not nearly so well Cloathed with wood as it is about Hawkes Bay, but for the most part looks like our high Downs in England, and to all appearance well inhabited, for we saw several Villages as we run along shore, not only in the Vallies, but on the Tops and sides of the Hills, and Smokes in other places. The ridge of Mountains before mentioned extends to the Southward farther than we could see, and are every where Checquer'd with Snow. This night saw 2 Large fires up in the inland Country, a sure sign that it must be inhabited. At Noon Cape Kidnapper bore North 56 degrees West, distant 7 Leagues; latitude observed 39 degrees 52 minutes South.

Joseph Banks Journal
Foul wind, ship turning to windward off Hawks bay. A seal was seen floating on the water asleep. At night calm.

Sydney Parkinson’s Journal
On the 17th, we sailed along the coast, near as far as forty-one degree, but, not meeting with any convenient harbour to anchor in, the land lying N. and S. when we came abreast of a round bluff cape, we turned back, being apprehensive that we should want water if we proceeded farther to the southward. We saw no canoes, but several villages, and, in the night, some fires burning upon the land. The coast appeared more barren than any we had seen before. There was clear ground, and good anchorage upon the coast, two or three miles from the shore; and from eight to twenty fathoms water. This cape we named Cape Turn Again.

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