20th November 1769

[At Firth of Thames, North Island, New Zealand]
Moderate breezes at South-South-East and fair weather. At 2 p.m. the boats return'd from sounding, not having found above 3 feet more water than were we now lay; upon this I resolved to go no farther with the Ship but to examine the head of the Bay in the Boat, for as it appeard to run a good way inland, I thought this a good opportunity to see a little of the interior part of the Country and its produce. Accordingly at daylight in the morning I set out with the Pinnace and Long boat accompanied by Mr. Banks, Dr. Solander, and Tupia. We found the inlet end in a River, about 9 miles above the Ship, into which we Enter'd with the first of the flood, and before we had gone 3 Miles up it found the Water quite fresh. We saw a number of Natives and landed at one of their Villages, the inhabitants of which received us with open Arms. We made but a Short stay with them but proceeded up the river until near Noon, when finding the face of the country to continue pretty much the same, and no alteration in the Course or stream of the River or the least probability of seeing the end of it, we landed on the West side in order to take a View of the lofty Trees which Adorn its banks, being at this time 12 or 14 Miles within the Entrance, and here the Tide of Flood runs as strong as it does in the River Thames below bridge.

Joseph Banks Journal
Weather still thick and hazey. We had yesterday resolvd to employ this day in examining the bay so at day break we set out in the boats. A fresh breeze of wind soon carried us to the bottom of the bay, where we found a very fine river broad as the Thames at Greenwich tho not quite so deep, there was however water enough for vessels of more than a midling size and a bottom of mud so soft that nothing could possibly take damage by running ashore. About a mile up this was an Indian town built upon a small bank of Dry sand but totaly surrounded by Deep mud, so much so that I beleive they meant it a defence. The people came out in flocks upon the banks inviting us in, they had heard of us from our good freind Torava; we landed and while we stayd they were most perfectly civil, as indeed they have always been where we were known but never where we were not. After this visit we proceeded and soon met with another town with but few inhabitants. Above this the banks of the river were compleatly cloathd with the finest timber my Eyes ever beheld, of a tree we had before seen but only at a distance in Poverty bay and Hawks bay; thick woods of it were every where upon the Banks, every tree as streight as a pine and of immense size: still the higher we came the more numerous they were.

About 2 leagues from the mouth we stopd and went ashore. Our first business was to measure one of these trees: the woods were swampy so we could not range far, we found one however by no means the largest we had seen which was feet in circumference and in hight without a branch; but what was most remarkable was that it, as well as many more that we saw, carried its thickness so truely up to the very top that I dare venture to affirm that the top where the lowest branch took its rise was not a foot less in diameter than where we measurd, which was about 8 feet from the ground. We cut down a young one of these trees; the wood provd heavy and solid, too much so for mast but would make the finest Plank in the world, and might possibly by some art be made light enough for mast as the pitch pine in America (to which our Carpenter likened this timber) is said to be lightned by tapping.

As far as this the river had kept its depth and very little decreasd even in breadth; the Captn was so much pleasd with it that he resolvd to call it the Thames. It was now time for us to return, the tide turning downwards gave us warning so away we went and got out of it into the bay before it was dark. We rowd for the ship as fast as we could but nigh[t] overtook us before we could get w[i]th[i]n some miles of it. It blew fresh with showers of rain, in this situation we rowd till near 12 and then gave over and running under the land came to a grapling and all went to sleep as well as we could.

Sydney Parkinson Journal
Early in the morning, the Captain, Mr. Banks, and Dr. Solander, set out, in the long-boat and pinnace, for the bottom of this gulph, to see in what manner it terminated: and, as it blew very fresh, and a great swell rolled into the bay all day, they did not attempt to return till the next morning.

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