D I S A S T E R - 14th June 1770

[Image: The entrance to the Endeavour River]

[D I S A S T E R]
[In the entrance to the Endeavour River, Queensland]
Had a Gentle breeze at South-East by East. Sent the Master, with 2 Boats as well, to sound ahead of the Ship, as to look out for a Harbour where we could repair our defects, and put the Ship on a proper Trim, both of which she now very much wanted. At 3 saw an Opening that had the appearance of a Harbour; stood off and on while the Boats were examining it, who found that there was not a sufficient depth of Water for the Ship. By this time it was almost sun set, and seeing many shoals about us we Anchored in 4 fathoms about 2 miles from the Shore, the Main land extending from North 1/2 East to South by East 1/2 East. At 8 o'clock the Pinnace, in which was one of the Mates, return'd on board, and reported that they had found a good Harbour* (* Cook Harbour, Endeavour River.) about 2 Leagues to leeward. In consequence of this information we, at 6 a.m., weigh'd and run down to it, first sending 2 Boats ahead to lay upon the Shoals that lay in our way; and notwithstanding this precaution, we were once in 3 fathoms with the Ship. Having pass'd these Shoals, the Boats were sent to lay in the Channell leading into the Harbour. By this time it begun to blow in so much that the Ship would not work, having missed stays Twice; and being entangled among Shoals, I was afraid of being drove to Leeward before the Boats could place themselves, and therefore Anchoredd in 4 fathoms about a Mile from the Shore, and then made the Signal for the Boats to come on board, after which I went myself and Buoy'd the Channell, which I found very narrow, and the Harbour much smaller than I had been told, but very convenient for our Purpose. At Noon Latitude observed 15 degrees 26 minutes South. [Note. This day I restor'd Mr. Magra to his Duty, as I did not find him guilty of the crimes laid to his charge.]

Joseph Banks Journal
Very fresh Sea breeze. A boat was sent ahead to shew us the way into the harbour, but by some mistake of signals we were obligd to come to an anchor again of the mouth of it without going in, where it soon blew too fresh for us to Weigh. We now began to consider our good fortune; had it blown as fresh the day before yesterday or before that we could never have got off but must inevitably have been dashd to peices on the rocks. The Captn and myself went ashore to view the Harbour and found it indeed beyond our most sanguine wishes: it was the mouth of a river the entrance of which was to be sure narrow enough and shallow, but when once in the ship might be moord afloat so near the shore that by a stage from her to it all her Cargo might be got out and in again in a very short time; in this same place she might be hove down with all ease, but the beach gave signs of the tides rising in the springs 6 or 7 feet which was more than enough to do our business without that trouble. The meeting with so many natural advantages in a harbour so near us at the very time of our misfortune appeard almost providential -- we had not in the voyage before seen a place so well suited for our purpose as this was, and certainly had no right to expect the tides to rise so high here that did not rise half so much at the place where we struck, only 8 Leagues from this place; we therefore returnd on board in high spirits and raisd the spirits of our freinds on board as much as our own by bringing them the welcome news of aproaching security. It blew however too fresh to night for us to attempt to weigh the anchor, I even think as fresh as it has ever done since we have been upon the Coast.

Sydney Parkinson Journal
We dropped anchor in the mouth of the river; but the entrance into it was so narrow, that we were obliged to place buoys all the way, to steer by. While we lay on the rock, it was calm; and, from the time we left it, till this day, it blew gently; but now it began to blow hard.

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