24th November 1769

[Description of Firth of Thames, New Zealand]
P.M., Fresh Gales and dark, Cloudy, squally weather, with Thunder, Lightning, and rain. Winds from the North-West to the South-West, and this last carried us by 7 o'Clock without the North-West point of the River, but the weather being bad and having land on all sides of us, and a Dark night coming on, I thought it most adviseable to Tack and stretch in under ye Point where we Anchor'd in 19 fathoms. At 5 a.m. weighed and made Sail to the North-West under our Courses and double Reef'd Topsails, the wind being at South-West by West and West-South-West, a strong Gale and Squally blowing right off the land, which would not permit us to come near it, so that from the time of our getting under Sail until' Noon (during which time we ran 12 Leagues) we had but a slight and distant View of the Coast and was not able to distinguish wether the points we saw were parts of the Main or Islands laying before it, for we never once lost sight of the Main Land.* (* The Endeavour was now in Hauraki Gulf and had passed the harbour where Auckland now stands, which is hidden behind a number of islands)

At noon our Latitude by observation was 36 degrees 15 minutes 20 seconds South, being at this time not above 2 Miles from a Point of Land on the Main and 3 1/2 Leagues from a very high Island* (* Little Barrier Island, now (1892) about to be made a reserve to protect native fauna) which bore North-East by East of us; in this Situation had 26 fathoms Water. The farthest point we could see on the Main bore from us North-West, but we could see several small Islands laying to the Northward of that direction. The point of land we are now abreast off, I take to be the North-West Extremity of the River Thames, for I shall comprehend under that Name the Deep Bay we have been in for this week past, the North-East point of which is the Promontory we past on Saturday morning last, and which I have named Cape Colvill in honour of the Right hon'ble the Lord Colvill;* (* Cook had served under Rear Admiral Lord Colville in Newfoundland) Latitude 36 degrees 26 minutes South; Longitude 184 degrees 27 minutes West. It rises directly from the Sea to a Considerable height, but what makes it most remarkable is a high Rock standing close to the pitch of the point, and from some points of view may be distinguished at a very great distance. From the South-West point of this Cape the river Extends itself in a direct line South by East, and is no where less than 3 Leagues broad until' you are 14 Leagues above the Cape, there it is at once Contracted to a Narrow stream. From this place it still continues the same South by East Course thro' a low flat Country or broad Valley that lies Parrallel with the Sea Coast, the End of which we could not see. The land on the East side of the Broadest part of this river is Tollerable high and hilly, that on the West side is rather low, but the whole is cover'd with woods and Verdure and looks to be pretty fertile, but we saw but a few small places that were Cultivated.

About the Entrance of the narrow part of the River the land is mostly Cover'd with Mangroves and other Shrubs, but farther in are immense woods of as stout lofty timber as is to be found perhaps in any other part of the world. In many places the woods grow close upon the very banks of the River, but where it does not the land is Marshey such as we find about the Thames in England. We saw poles stuck up in many places in the River to set nets for Catching of fish; from this we immagin'd that there must be plenty of fish, but of what sort we know not for we saw none. The Greatest Depth of Water we found was 26 fathoms and decreaseth pretty gradually as you run up to 1 1/2 and 1 fathom. In the mouth of the fresh-water Stream or narrow part is 3 and 4 fathoms, but before this are sand banks and large flatts; Yet, I believe, a Ship of a Moderate draught of Water may go a long way up this River with a flowing Tide, for I reckon that the Tides rise upon a perpendicular near 10 feet, and is high water at the full and Change of the Moon about 9 o'Clock. Six Leagues within Cape Colvill, under the Eastern Shore, are several small Islands, these Islands together with the Main seem'd to form some good Harbours.* (* Coromandel Harbour) Opposite to these Islands under the Western Shore lies some other Islands, and it appear'd very probable that these form'd some good Harbours likewise.* (* Auckland Harbour is one of them) But even supposing there were no Harbours about this River, it is good anchoring in every part of it where the depth of Water is Sufficient, being defended from the Sea by a Chain of Large and Small Islands which I have named Barrier Isles, lying across the Mouth of it extending themselves North-West and South-East 10 Leagues. The South end of these Islands lies North-East 4 1/2 Leagues from the North-West point of the River, which I have named point Rodney; it lies West-North-West 9 leagues from Cape Colvill, Latitude 36 degrees 15 minutes; Longitude 184 degrees 58 minutes West.

The Natives residing about this River do not appear to be very numerous considering the great Extent of Country; at least not many came off to the Ship at one Time, and as we were but little ashore ourselves we could not so well judge of their numbers. They are a Strong, well made, active People as any we have seen yet, and all of them Paint their Bodys with Red Oker and Oil from Head to foot, a thing that we have not seen before. Their Canoes are large, well built and Ornamented with Carved work in general as well as most we have seen. 

Joseph Banks Journal
Strong breeze off the land so we soon got clear of the bay. Land in the morn appeard unfruitfull, few or no houses were seen; in the Evening large sands which extended some way into the countrey in little hills as I have seen in England. At night we came to an anchor in a small open bay; our fishing lines were tried and we soon caught a large number of fish which were calld by the seamen Sea bream, as many as I beleive the ships company could eat in 2 days.

Sydney Parkinson Journal
We had a smart breeze from the S. W. and, failing along shore, passed between the main and a number of islands of several sizes. The appearance of the coast was very different at different places; well cloathed and verdant in some parts, and barren in others; but we saw no signs of inhabitants in any. We anchored in an open buy, and caught a great number of large fishes of the scienna or bream kind; we therefore named this Bream Bay; and the two extreme points which formed it, Bream Head and Bream Tail. Off this bay lies a parcel of recks, to which we gave the appellation of the Hen and Chickens.

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