10th November 1769

[At Mercury Bay, North Island, New Zealand]
PM., Gentle breezes and Variable; the remainder, a Strong breeze at East-North-East, and hazey weather. A.M., I went with 2 Boats, accompanied by Mr. Banks and the other Gentlemen into the River which Emptys itself into the head of the Bay, in order to Examine it; none of the Natives came off to the Ship this morning, which we think is owing to bad weather.

Joseph Banks Journal
This day was employd in an excursion to view the large river at the bottom of the bay which lay at some distance from it. The mouth of it provd to be a good harbour with water sufficient for our ship but scarce for a larger, the stream in many places very wide with large flats of mangroves which at low water are coverd. We went up about a league where it was still wider than at the mouth and divided itself into innumerable channels seperated by mangrove flatts, the whole several miles in breadth, the water shoal, so we agreed to stop our disquisition here and go ashore to dine. A tree in the neighbourhood on which were many shaggs nests and old shaggs setting by them confirmd our resolution; an attack was consequently made on the Shaggs and about 20 soon killd and as soon broild and eat, every one declaring that they were excellent food as indeed I think they were. Hunger is certainly most excellent sauce, but since our fowls and ducks have been gone we find ourselves able to eat any kind of Birds (for indeed we throw away none) without even that kind of seasoning. Fresh provision to a seaman must always be most acceptable if he can get over the small prejudices which once affected several in this ship, most or all of whoom are now by vertue of good example compleatly curd.

Our repast ended we proceeded down the river again. At the mouth of it was a small Indian village where we landed and were most civily receivd by the inhabitants who treated us with hot cockles, at least a small flat shell fish, most delicious food, Tellina . Near the village was the ruins of an old Indian Eppah or Fort which we went to see. It was situate on the point of a peninsula inaccessible on three sides from the steepness of the cliffs; the fourth was guarded by a ditch the bank of which nearest the fort could not be less than 20 feet high, there has also been pallisades both on the Inside and outside of he ditch but of these nothing was left but thick posts almost rotten. Was any ship to winter or stay any time here this would be a most excellent place to set up tents as it is sufficiently spatious.

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