4th January 1770

[Off Kaipara Harbour, North Island, New Zealand]
Winds at South-West and South-West by South; mostly a fresh Gale accompanied with a rowling sea from the same Quarter. Being desirous of taking as near a View of the coast as we could with safety we keept Edging in for it until 7 o'Clock p.m., being at this time 6 Leagues from the Land. We then hauld our wind to South-East and keept on that Course close upon the wind all night, sounding several times but had no ground with 100 and 110 fathoms. At 8 o'Clock a.m. was about 5 Leagues from the Land and a place which lies in the Latitude of 36 degrees 25 minutes that had the Appearance of a Bay or inlet bore East.* (* This was Kaipara Harbour, although, on a closer inspection, Cook thought he had been deceived. It is the largest harbour on this part of the coast. The town of Helensville stands on one of its arms.)

In order to see more of this place we kept on our Course until 11 o'Clock when we were not above 3 Leagues from it, and then found that it was neither a Bay nor inlet, but low land bounded on each side by higher lands which caused the deception. At this time we Tack'd and stood to the North-West. At Noon we were between 3 and 4 Leagues from the Land and in the Latitude of 36 degrees 31 minutes and Longitude 185 degrees 50 minutes West. Cape Maria Van Diemen bore North 25 West, distant 44 1/2 Leagues. From this I form my judgment of the direction of this Coast, which is nearly South-South-East 3/4 East and North-North-West 3/4 West, and must be nearly a Strait Shore. In about the Latitude 35 degrees 45 minutes is some high land adjoining to the Sea; to the Southward of that the land is of a moderate heigth, and wears a most desolate and inhospitable aspect. Nothing is to be seen but long sand Hills, with hardly any Green thing upon them, and the great Sea which the prevailing Westerly winds impell upon the Shore must render this a very Dangerous Coast. This I am so fully sencible of, that was we once clear of it I am determined not to come so near Again, if I can possible avoid it, unless we have a very favourable wind indeed.* (* The mingled audacity and caution of Cook's navigation off this coast must awake the admiration of every seaman.)

Joseph Banks Journal
Stood rather nearer the land than yesterday but not near enough to see whether or not it was inhabited: indeed we were obligd to hawl off rather in a hurry for the wind freshning a little we found ourselves in a bay which it was a moot point whether or not we could get out of: indeed I beleive most people thought that we should not till a lucky change in the wind at once allowd us to weather every thing, to our no small Joy who had so lately been in so severe and long a Gale of wind blowing right upon the shore which we had now just weatherd.

Sydney Parkinson Journal
We stood along shore: the coast appeared very low, sandy, and barren. About noon, the wind began to frisk and blow from the S. W. and fearing if it should blow fresher, that we might get soul on a lee-shore, we tacked about, and proceeded to the N. W. Before we tacked, we observed a bending of the land which we thought might be a bay, but it proved otherwise, and we therefore named it False Bay.

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