31st August 1770

[Off Cape Walsche, New Guinea]
Between 12 and 1 in the P.M. Steer'd North-North-West, in which time we Shoalded our Water from 8 to 5 1/2, which I thought was little enough, and therefore keept away again West, and soon depen'd it to 7 fathoms, which depth we keept until 6, having the land just in sight from the Deck. At this time the Western Extream bore North, distant about 4 Leagues, and Seem'd to end in a point and turn away to the Northward; we took it to be Point St. Augustine or Walsche Caep, Latitude 8 degrees 24 minutes South, Longitude 222 degrees 55 minutes West.* (* This position is correct. Mr. Green had been assiduously observing lunars, and it appears strange that the error of the position of the north point of Australia was not discovered; but doubtless the discrepancy was put down to current.)

We now shortned sail and hauld off South-South-West and South by West, having the wind at South-East and South-East by East, a Gentle breeze; we stood off 16 Miles, having from 7 to 27 fathoms, deepning gradually as we run off. At midnight we Tacked and stood in until daylight, at which time we could see no land, and yet we had only 5 1/2 fathoms. We now Steer'd North-West, having the same deepth of Water until near 9 o'Clock, when we began to Depen our Water to 6 1/2 and 7 fathoms. By this I thought that we were far Enough to the Westward of the Cape, and might haul to the Northward with Safety, which we now did, having the Wind at North-East by East, a light breeze. By Noon we had increased our Water to 9 fathoms, and were by Observation in the Latitude of 8 degrees 10 minutes South, which was 10 Miles to the Northward of that given by the Log; by which I conjectur'd that we had meet with a strong Current setting round the Cape, not only to the Northward, but to the Westward also, otherwise we ought to have seen the Land, which we did not.

Joseph Banks Journal
5½ fathm and the Land not seen even from the mast head: the regularity of the bank which was soft mud made us very little regard the shoalness of the water which was still as muddy as the Thames at Gravesend. At night we anchord in 4½ fathm the Land being then but just seen from the deck.

Sydney Parkinson Journal
On the 31st, in the night, a current carried us away so far to westward, that it was evening, the next day, before we made land again. We were now pretty certain that we had got round Cape Valsch by the smoothness of the water, and thought the sand-bank would have broken off here, but it rather increased, for we had only four fathoms water, and, at the same time, could not see the land.

30th August 1770

[Off South Coast of New Guinea]
Fresh breezes at South-East, East-South-East, and East by South. After steering South-West by West, 6 miles, we discover'd on our Starboard bow and ahead a Strong appearance of Shoal Water, and by this time we had Shoald our water from 10 to 5 fathoms; upon which I made the Pinnace Signal to Edge down to it, but she not going far enough, we sent the Yawl to sound in it, and at the same time hauld off close upon a Wind, with the Ship until 4, at which time we had run 6 Miles, but did not depen our water anything. We then Edged away South-West, 4 Miles more, but finding still Shoal Water we brought too, and call'd the Boats on board by Signal, hoisted them in, and then hauld off close upon a wind, being at this time about 3 or 4 Miles from the Land. The Yawl found only 3 fathoms water in the place where I sent her to sound, which place I weather'd about 1/2 a mile. Between 1 and 2 we passed a Bay or Inlet, before which lies a small Island that seems to Shelter it from the Southerly winds; but I very much doubt their being Water behind it for Shipping. I could not attempt it because the South-East Trade wind blows right in, and we have not as yet had any land breezes. We stretched off to Sea until 12 o'Clock, at which time we were 10 and 11 Leagues from the Land, and had depen'd our Water to 29 fathoms; we now tack'd and stood in until 4 o'Clock, when, being in 6 1/2 fathoms, we tack'd and lay her head off until day light, at which time we saw the land bearing North-West by West, distant about 4 Leagues. We now made sail and steer'd West-South-West, and then West by South, but coming into 54 fathoms we hauld off South-West until we depen'd our Water to 8 fathoms; we then keept away West by South and West, having 9 fathoms and the Land just in sight from the Deck, which we judged not above 3 or 4 Leagues off, as it is everywhere exceeding low. At Noon we were by Observation in the Latitude of 8 degrees 38 minutes South, Longitude 222 degrees 34 minutes West. St. Bartholomew Isle bore North 69 degrees East, distant 74 Miles.

Joseph Banks Journal
In the morn tho the ship was in less than 7 fathom water the land was but just seen from the Deck; we saild along shore however in and about that depth, the Bank as regular as usual. In the Even a large Fire was seen ashore. At Night of a sudden went away to the Northward; we now judgd ourselves to be about the place calld in the Draughts Valche Caep and supposd this to be it. Both yesterday and today vast quantities of the sea Sawdust was seen; some of our people observd that on passing through a bed of it much larger than common they smelt an uncommon stink which they supposd to proceed from it.

Sydney Parkinson Journal
On the 30th, we coasted along about three or four leagues from the land, which was very flat. Our soundings were much the same as the day before. This sand-bank extends about a league farther out to sea, as we judged from the dark-coloured water which we saw from the ship. In the evening, the land seemed to end in a point, and tend away to the north. The sea was very full of some stuff like chaff, and we saw some smoke upon land. Latitude 8° 39’.

29th August 1770

[Off South Coast of New Guinea]
Continued standing to the Northward, with a fresh gale at East by South and South-East until 6 o'clock, having very irregular and uncertain soundings from 24 to 7 fathoms. At 4 we made the Land from the Mast head, bearing North-West by North, and which appear'd to be very low. At 6 it extended from West-North-West to North-North-East, distant 4 or 5 Leagues. At this time hauld close upon a wind to the Eastward until 7 o'clock, then Tack'd and stood to the Southward until 12, at which time we wore and stood to the Northward until 4, then lay her Head off until daylight, when we again saw the Land, and stood North-North-West directly for it, having a fresh gale at East by South. Our Soundings in the night were from 17 to 5 fathoms, very irregular, without any sort of Rule with respect to our distance from the Land. At 1/2 past 6 a small low island, laying about a League from the Main, bore North by West, distant 5 miles; this island lays in the Latitude of 8 degrees 13 minutes South, Longitude 221 degrees 25 minutes West. I find it laid down in the Charts by the Name of St. Bartholomew or Whermoysen. We now steer'd North-West by West, West-North-West, West by North, West by South, and South-West by West, as we found the land to lay, having a Boat ahead of the Ship sounding; depth of water from 5 to 9 fathoms.

When in 7, 8 or 9 fathoms we could but just see the Land from the Deck; but I did not think we were at above 4 Leagues off, because the land is exceeding low and level, and appeared to be well cover'd with wood; one sort appeared to us to be Cocoa Nutt Trees. By the Smookes we saw in different parts as we run along shore we were assured that the Country is inhabited. At Noon we were about 3 Leagues from the land, the Westermost part of which that we could see bore South 79 degrees West; our Latitude by Observation was 8 degrees 19 minutes South, Longitude 221 degrees 44 minutes West. The Island, St. Bartholomew, bore North 74 degrees East, distant 20.* (* The ship was now off the south coast of New Guinea, and near what is known as Princess Marianne Strait, which separates Frederick Henry Island from the main island. All this coast is very shallow, but very imperfectly charted to the present day.)

Joseph Banks Journal
During the whole night our soundings were as irregular as they had been in the even, but never less than 7 and never so shoal for any time. In the morn the land was seen from the Deck which was uncommonly low but coverd very thick with wood. At 8 it was not more than two Lgs from us but the water had gradualy [shoald] since morn to 5 fathm and was at this time as muddy as the River Thames, so it was thought not Prudent to go any nearer at present and accordingly we stood along shore, seeing fires and here and there large Groves of Cocoa nut trees in the neighbourhood of which we supposd the Indian villages to be situated. In the Eve tho we kept the same distance from the Land we got into less than 4 fathm and we got upon a wind, we were very long before we could deepen it; the Bank however which was soft mud provd inimitably regular.

Sydney Parkinson Journal
On the 29th, we stood in for the land of New Guinea, which looked very flat, and was covered with trees, among which we saw a great many palms that over-topped the rest; but whether there were cocoa-nuts we could not get near enough, for the shoals, to determine. We saw an opening which had the appearance of a river’s mouth; and many smokes on the land. In the afternoon we were abreast of a point of land, which we supposed was that distinguished in the maps by the name of Cape Valsch, or False Cape: From this cape the land continued low, but did not tend to the S. E. as we expected. We could not keep near the shore, the soundings being only from five to ten fathoms, at three or four leagues distance from. land. The water was very white and muddy, like that of a river, and had a sandy bottom. Latitude 8° 19’.

28th August 1770

[Off South Coast of New Guinea]
Fresh breezes at East and East by South and fair weather. Continued a North-West Course until sun set, at which time we shortned sail, and haul'd close upon a Wind to the Northward; depth of Water 21 fathoms. At 8 Tack'd and stood to the Southward until 12, then stood to the Northward under little Sail until daylight, sounding from 25 to 17 fathoms; Shoalding as we stood to the Northward. At this time we made sail and steer'd North in order to make the land of New Guinea; from the time of our making sail until noon the depth of Water gradually decreased from 17 to 12 fathoms, a stony and shelly bottom. We were now by Observation in the Latitude of 8 degrees 52 minutes South, which is in the same Parrallel as the Southern parts of New Guinea as it is laid down in the Charts; but there are only 2 points so far to the South, and I reckon we are a degree to the Westward of both, and for that reason do not see the Land which trends more to the Northward. Our Course and distance sail'd since Yesterday is North-North-West, 69 Miles; Longitude in 221 degrees 27 minutes West. The Sea in many places is here cover'd with a kind of a brown scum, such as Sailors generally call spawn; upon our first seeing it it alarm'd us, thinking we were among Shoals, but we found the same depth of Water were it was as in other places; neither Mr. Banks nor Dr. Solander could tell what it was, altho' they had of it to Examine.

Joseph Banks Journal
Still Standing to the Northward the water shoaling regularly. Vast quantities of the little substances mentiond yesterday floating upon the water in large lines a mile or more long and 50 or 100 yards wide, all swimming either immediately upon the surface of the water or not many inches under it. The seamen who are now convinc'd that it was not as they had thought the spawn of fish began to call it Sea sawdust, a name certainly not ill adapted to its appearance. One of them, a Portugese who came on board the ship at Rio de Janerio, told me that at St Salvador on the Coast of Brasil where the Portugese have a whale fishery he had often seen vast quantities of it taken out of the stomachs of whales or Grampus's there taken. In the afternoon the Soundings became most irregular starting sometimes at once from 18 to 7 fathoms. At 4 the Land was seen from the Mast head but at Sun set was not seen from the deck. During the night we stood off and on far from satisfied with our soundings.

Sydney Parkinson Journal
On the 28th, about noon, we got into very broken ground, the soundings being, on a sudden, from three fathoms to ten, and continued very irregular all the afternoon, with hard ground. This, however, did not prevent us from making all the sail we could, and without a boat ahead. About four o’clock in the afternoon, we saw low land. Toward the evening it blew very hard from the S. E. and we stood E. N. E. and were in great danger of striking. As the water was so shoal, we stood backwards and forwards all night; and, through the good providence of God, met with no accident. Latitude 8° 54’.

27th August 1770

[Off South Coast of New Guinea]
Fresh breezes between the East by North and East-South-East, with which we steer'd West until sun set; depth of Water from 27 to 23 fathoms. We now Reef'd the Topsails, shortened Sail, and hoisted in the pinnace and Long boat up alongside, and afterwards kept upon a Wind all night under our Topsails, 4 hours on one Tack and four hours on the other; depth of Water 25 fathoms, very even soundings. At daylight made all the Sail we could, and steer'd West-North-West until 8 o'clock, then North-West; at Noon we were by Observation in the Latitude of 9 degrees 56 minutes South, Longitude 221 degrees 00 minutes West; Variation 2 degrees 30 minutes East. Course and distance sail'd since yesterday at Noon North 73 degrees 33 minutes West, 49 miles.

Joseph Banks Journal
Lay too all last night. In the morn fresh trade and fine clear weather made us hope that our dificulties were drawing to a period: it was now resolvd to hawl up to the Northward in order to make the coast of New Guinea in order to assure ourselves that we had realy got clear of the South Sea which was accordingly done. At dinner time we were alarmd afresh by the usual report of a shoal just ahead: it provd however to be no more than a bank or regular layer of a Brownish colour extending itself upon the sea, which indeed had very much the appearance of a shoal while at a distance. It was formd by innumerable small atoms each scarce ½ a line in lengh yet when lookd at in a microscope consisting of 30 or 40 tubes, each hollow and divided throughout the whole lengh into many cells by small partitions like the tubes of Confervas; to which of the three kingdoms of Nature they belong I am totaly Ignorant, I only guess that they are of a vegetable nature because on burning them I could perceive no animal smell. We have before this during this voyage seen them several times on the coast of Brazil and that of New Holland but never that I recollect at any considerable distance from the Land. In the Evening a small bird of the Noddy (sterna) kind hoverd much about the ship and at night settled on the rigging where he was taken, and provd exactly the same bird as Dampier has describd and given a rude figure of under the Name of a Noddy From New Holland.

Sydney Parkinson Journal
On the 27th, steering northward for the coast of New Guinea, we were surprized again by the appearance of a shoal all round us; on examination, however, we found it was only a sort of spawn swimming upon the water, such as we had often seen before, that gave it that appearance. We had, on this day, twenty-nine fathoms water and under. Latitude 9° 56’’.

26th August 1770

[Torres Strait]
Fresh breezes at East in standing to the North-West. We began to Shoalden our water from 9 to 7 fathoms, and at 1/2 past one, having run 11 Miles since Noon, the boat which was a head made the signal for Shoal Water, immediately upon which we let go an Anchor, and brought the Ship up with the sails standing as the boats was but a little way ahead, having but just relieved the Crew, and at same time we saw from the Ship Shoal Water* (* Cook Shoal.) in a manner all round us, and both wind and Tide setting upon it. We lay in 6 fathoms with the Ship, but upon sounding about her found hardly 2 fathoms, a very rocky bottom, not much above 1/2 a cable's length from us from the east round by the North and West as far as South-West, so that there was no way to get clear but the way we came. This was one of the many Fortunate Escapes we have had from Shipwreck, for it was near high water, and there run a short cockling sea that would soon have bulged the Ship had she struck. These Shoals that lay a fathom or 2 under Water are the most dangerous of any, for they do not shew themselves until you are close upon them, and then the water upon them looks brown like the reflection of dark clouds. Between 3 and 4 the Ebb began to make, when I sent the Master to sound to the Southward and South Westward, and in the meantime, as the Ship tended,* (* Swung to the tide.) hove up the Anchor, and with a little Sail stood to the Southward and afterwards edged away to the Westward, and got once more out of danger, where at sun set we Anchor'd in 10 fathoms Sandy bottom. Having a fresh of wind at East-South-East, at 6 o'clock in the morning we weighed and stood West, with a fresh of wind at East, having first sent a boat ahead to sound. I did intend to have steer'd North-West until we had made the Coast of New Guinea, designing if Possible to touch upon that Coast, but the meeting with these Shoals last night made me Alter the Course to West, in hopes of meeting with fewer dangers and deeper Water; and this we found, for by Noon we had deepned our water gradually to 17 fathoms, and this time we were by observation in the Latitude of 10 degrees 10 minutes South, Longitude 220 degrees 12 minutes West. Course and distance sail'd since yesterday at noon North 76 degrees West, 11 Leagues, no land in sight.

Joseph Banks Journal
Fine weather and clear fresh trade. Stood to the W and deepned our water from 13 to 27. At night many Egg birds coming from the W.

Sydney Parkinson Journal
On the 26th, we steered west all day, with a fine breeze from the east, and deepened our water to twenty-five fathoms, in latitude 10° 10’.

25th August 1770

[Torres Strait]
Winds at North-East and East-North-East, a gentle breeze. Being resolv'd not to leave the Anchor behind while there remain'd the least probability of getting of it, after dinner I sent the Boats again to sweep for it first with a small line, which succeeded, and now we know'd where it lay we found it no very hard matter to sweep it with a Hawser.  This done, we hove the Ship up to it by the same Hawser, but just as it was almost up and down the Hawser slip'd, and left us all to do over again. By this time it was dark, and obliged us to leave off until daylight in the morning, when we sweep'd it again, and hove it up to the bows, and by 8 o'Clock weigh'd the other anchor, got under sail, and stood away North-West, having a fresh breeze at East-North-East.  At Noon we were by observation in the Latitude of 10 degrees 18 minutes South, Longitude 219 degrees 39 minutes West, having no land in sight, but about 2 miles to the Southward of us lay a Shoal,* (* Cook Reef.) on which the Sea broke, and I believe a part of it dry. At low Water it extended North-West and South-East, and might be about 4 or 5 Leagues in Circuit; depth of Water at this time and since we weigh'd 9 fathoms.

Joseph Banks Journal
This morn by the first sweep the anchor was recoverd and we soon got under sail and lost sight of land with only 9 fathm water. At dinner met shoals which made us anchor again; in the eve however found a passage out and saild clear enough of them.

24th August 1770

In the P.M. had light Airs from the South-South-West, with which, after leaving Booby Island, as before mentioned, we steer'd West-North-West until 5 o'clock, when it fell Calm, and the Tide of Ebb which sets to the North-East soon after making, we Anchor'd in 8 fathoms soft sandy bottom, Booby Island bearing South 50 degrees East, distant 5 miles; Prince of Wales Isles extending from North-East by North to South 55 degrees East. There appear'd to be an open clear passage between these Islands extending from North 64 degrees East to East by North. At 1/2 past 5 in the morning in purchasing* (* Weighing the anchor.) the Anchor, the Cable parted about 8 or 10 fathoms from the Anchor; I immediately order'd another Anchor to be let go, which brought the ship up before she had drove a cable's length from the Buoy; after this we carried out a Kedge, and warped the ship nearer to it, and then endeavour'd to sweep the Anchor with a Hawser, but miss'd it, and broke away the Buoy rope.* (* The kedge is a small anchor. Sweeping is dragging the middle of a rope, or hawser, held at the two ends from two boats some distance apart, along the bottom, with the object of catching the fluke of the anchor as it lies on the bottom, and so recovering it. It is a long and wearisome operation if the bottom is uneven. Cook, however, having already lost one of his large anchors, could not afford to leave this without an effort.) We made several Attempts afterwards, but did not succeed. While the Boats were thus employed we hove up the Kedge Anchor, it being of no more use. At Noon Latitude observed 10 degrees 30 minutes South. Winds at North-East, a fresh breeze; the Flood Tide here comes from the same Quarter.

Joseph Banks Journal
Swell continued and in the morn the Best bower cable was broke in weighing by it. The whole day was spent in fruitless attempts to recover the anchor tho there was no more than 8 fathm water.

Sydney Parkinson Journal
On the 24th, in the morning, the cable broke in weighing up the anchor, which obliged us to drop another, and detained us all day sweeping for it with much trouble; but, the next morning, we got it up, and soon after were under way, and stood on to the N. W. with a fine breeze from the east. About two o’clock, in the afternoon, we were much alarmed by finding ourselves amongst a parcel of small shoals. These shoals were discovered by the water’s appearing a little brownish. They consisted of rocks upon which there were only two and three fathoms water; and, though there was a pretty large swell, they did not break. There was one not half a cable’s length from the ship. We had not more than from six to eleven fathoms water in this sea when we were out of sight of land. After examining around for the safest way to get clear of these shoals, we weighed anchor and stood out, first southerly, and then to the west, till we deepened our water to eleven fathoms; and then supposed that we passed near some part of that great shoal, stretching round part of the island of Hogeland, on the north of Carpentaria.

23rd August 1770

[In Endeavour Strait, Torres Strait]
In the P.M. had little wind and Variable, with which and the Tide of Flood we keept advancing to the West-North-West; depth of Water 8, 7, and 5 fathoms. At 1/2 past 1 the pinnace, which was ahead, made the Signal for Shoal Water, upon which we Tackt and sent away the Yawl to sound also, and then Tack'd again, and stood after them with the Ship; 2 hours after this they both at once made the Signal for having Shoal water. I was afraid to stand on for fear of running aground at that time of the Tide, and therefore came to an Anchor in 1/4 less 7 fathoms, sandy ground. Wallice's Islands bore South by West 1/2 West, distant 5 or 6 Miles, the Islands to the Northward extending from North 73 degrees East to North 10 degrees East, and a small island* (* Booby Island.) just in sight bearing North-West 1/2 West. Here we found the flood Tide set to the Westward and Ebb to the Contrary. After we had come to Anchor I sent away the Master with the Long boat to sound, who, upon his return in the evening, reported that there was a bank stretching North and South, upon which were 3 fathoms Water, and behind it 7 fathoms. We had it Calm all Night and until 9 in the morning, at which time we weigh'd, with a light breeze at South-South-East, and steer'd North-West by West for the Small Island above mentioned, having first sent the Boats ahead to sound; depth of Water 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, and 3 fathoms when upon the Bank,* (* The Endeavour Strait is now little used, on account of this great bank, which nearly bars its western part. There is, however, deeper water than Cook found, a few miles to the southward; but it is just the difficulty of finding this narrow pass, so far from land, and the fact that there is a deep though narrow channel north of Prince of Wales Island, that has caused it to be abandoned. The passage of Torres Strait is, however, still an anxious bit of navigation.) it being now the last Quarter Ebb. At this time the most Northermost Islands we had in sight bore North 9 degrees East; the South-West point of the largest Islands on the North-West side of the Passage, which I named Cape Cornwall, bore East; distant 3 Leagues. This bank, at least so much as we sounded, extends nearly North and South, how far I cannot say; its breadth, however, is not more than 1/4 or at most 1/2 a Mile. Being over the Bank, we deepned our water to a 1/4 less 7 fathoms, which depth we carried all the way to the small Island ahead, which we reached by Noon, at which time it bore South, distant near 1/2 a Mile; depth of Water 5 fathoms.

The most northermost land we had in sight (being part of the same Chain of Islands we have had to the Northward of us since we entered the Passage) bore North 71 degrees East; Latitude in, by Observation, 10 degrees 33 minutes South, Longitude 219 degrees 22 minutes West. In this situation we had no part of the Main land in sight. Being now near the island, and having but little wind, Mr. Banks and I landed upon it, and found it to be mostly a barren rock frequented by Birds, such as Boobies, a few of which we shott, and occasioned my giving it the name of Booby Island.* (* Booby Island is now the great landmark for ships making Torres Strait from the westward. There is a light upon it.) I made but very short stay at this Island before I return'd to the Ship; in the meantime the wind had got to the South-West, and although it blow'd but very faint, yet it was accompanied with a Swell from the same quarter. This, together with other concuring Circumstances, left me no room to doubt but we had got to the Westward of Carpentaria, or the Northern extremity of New Holland, and had now an open Sea to the Westward; which gave me no small satisfaction, not only because the danger and fatigues of the Voyage was drawing near to an end, but by being able to prove that New Holland and New Guinea are 2 separate Lands or Islands, which until this day hath been a doubtful point with Geographers.*

(* Luis Vaez de Torres, commanding a Spanish ship in company with Quiros in 1605, separated from his companion in the New Hebrides. He afterwards passed through the Strait separating New Guinea from Australia, which now bears his name. This fact, however, was little known, as the Spaniards suppressed all account of the voyage; and though it leaked out later, the report was so vague that it was very much doubted whether he had really passed this way. On most charts and maps of the period, New Guinea was shown joined to Australia, and to Cook the establishment of the Strait may fairly be given. Only the year before Bougainville, the French navigator, who preceded Cook across the Pacific, and who was steering across the Coral Sea on a course which would have led him to Lizard Island, abandoned his search in that direction, after falling in with two reefs to the eastward of the Barrier, because he feared falling amongst other shoals, and had no faith whatever in the reports of the existence of Torres Strait. Had he persevered, he would have snatched from Cook the honour of the complete exploration of Eastern Australia, and of the verification of the passage between it and New Guinea. Bougainville paid dearly for his caution, as he found that retracing his steps against the trade wind, in order to pass eastward and northward of New Guinea, occupied such a weary time, that he and his people were nearly starved before they reached a place of refreshment.)

Joseph Banks Journal
In the morn calm: at nine however a small breeze sprang up on which we weighd and saild through a channel which had been found during the calm. At noon we were abreast of an Island which was white with the Dung of Birds; as we had little wind the ship was brought too we went ashore upon it and shot bobies till our ammunition was quite expended. I myself Botanizd and found some plants which I had not before seen. After we came on board the winds were variable and soon after calm and very hot. Water still continued very Shoal but the swell, which ran larger than any we had met with within the reef, gave us great hope.

Sydney Parkinson Journal
On the 23d, we had light breezes from the N. and S.W. with some calms, and were certain of being in a strait, which seemed to be not very remote from the river Van Speult in Carpentaria; the land to the north being made up of a cluster of islands. We found shallow water all through this strait, which we named Endeavour Straits; and went over a bar that had only three fathoms and a half water. About noon, we saw a small island covered with birds-dung of a white colour, and some of our people went off in a boat, and shot a score of birds called Boobies.

22nd August 1770

[Land upon Possession Island]
Gentle breezes at East by South and clear weather. We had not steer'd above 3 or 4 Miles along shore to the westward before we discover'd the land ahead to be Islands detached by several Channels from the main land; upon this we brought too to Wait for the Yawl, and called the other Boats on board, and after giving them proper instructions, sent them away again to lead us thro' the Channell next the Main, and as soon as the Yawl was on board made sail after them with the Ship. Soon after we discover'd rocks and Shoals in this Channell, upon which I made the Signal for the boats to lead thro' the next Channel to the Northward* (* This led to Endeavour Strait, but the recognised track is the channel farther north.) laying between the Islands, which they accordingly did, we following with the Ship, and had not less than 5 fathoms; and this in the narrowest part of the Channel, which was about a Mile and a 1/2 broad from Island to Island. At 4 o'Clock we Anchor'd about a Mile and a 1/2 or 2 Miles within the Entrance in 6 1/2 fathoms, clear ground, distance from the Islands on each side of us one Mile, the Main land extending away to the South-West; the farthest point of which we could see bore from us South 48 degrees West, and the Southermost point of the Islands, on the North-West side of the Passage, bore South 76 degrees West. Between these 2 points we could see no land, so that we were in great hopes that we had at last found out a Passage into the Indian seas; but in order to be better informed I landed with a party of men, accompanied by Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander, upon the Islands which lies at the South-East point of the Passage.

Before and after we Anchor'd we saw a Number of People upon this Island, Arm'd in the same manner as all the others we have seen, Except one man, who had a bow and a bundle of Arrows, the first we have seen upon this Coast. From the appearance of the people we expected they would have opposed our landing; but as we approached the shore they all made off, and left us in peaceable possession of as much of the Island as served our purpose. After landing I went upon the highest hill, which, however, was of no great height, yet no less than twice or thrice the height of the Ship's Mastheads; but I could see from it no land between South-West and West-South-West, so that I did not doubt but there was a passage. I could see plainly that the lands laying to the North-West of this passage were compos'd of a number of Islands of Various extent, both for height and Circuit, ranged one behind another as far to the Northward and Westward as I could see, which could not be less than 12 or 14 Leagues. Having satisfied myself of the great Probability of a passage, thro' which I intend going with the Ship, and therefore may land no more upon this Eastern coast of New Holland, and on the Western side I can make no new discovery, the honour of which belongs to the Dutch Navigators, but the Eastern Coast from the Latitude of 38 degrees South down to this place, I am confident, was never seen or Visited by any European before us; and notwithstanding I had in the Name of his Majesty taken possession of several places upon this Coast, I now once More hoisted English Colours, and in the Name of His Majesty King George the Third took possession of the whole Eastern coast from the above Latitude down to this place by the Name of New Wales,* (* The Admiralty copy, as well as that belonging to Her Majesty, calls it New South Wales. The island where the ceremony was performed was named on Cook's chart Possession Island, and is still so called.) together with all the Bays, Harbours, Rivers, and Islands, situated upon the said Coast; after which we fired 3 Volleys of small Arms, which were answer'd by the like number from the Ship.

This done, we set out for the Ship, but were some time in getting on board on account of a very Rapid Ebb Tide, which set North-East out of the Passage. Ever since we came in amongst the Shoals this last time we have found a Moderate Tide; the flood setting to the North-West and Ebb to the South-East; at this place is high water at full and change of the moon, about 1 or 2 o'Clock, and riseth and falleth upon a perpendicular about 10 or 12 feet. We saw upon all the Adjacent Lands and Islands a great number of smokes--a certain sign that they are inhabited--and we have daily seen smokes on every part of the Coast we have lately been upon. Between 7 and 8 o'Clock a.m. we saw several naked people, all or most of them Women, down upon the beach picking up Shells, etc.; they had not a single rag of any kind of Cloathing upon them, and both these and those we saw yesterday were in every respect the same sort of People we have seen everywhere upon the Coast. 2 or 3 of the Men we saw Yesterday had on pretty large breast plates, which we supposed were made of pearl Oyster Shells; this was a thing, as well as the Bow and Arrows, we had not seen before. At low water, which hapned about 10 o'Clock, we got under sail, and stood to the South-West, with a light breeze at East, which afterwards veer'd to North by East, having the Pinnace ahead; depth of Water from 6 to 10 fathoms, except in one place, were we passed over a Bank of 5 fathoms. At Noon Possession Island, at the South-East entrance of the Passage, bore North 53 degrees East, distant 4 Leagues; the Western extream of the Main land in sight South 43 degrees West, distant 4 or 5 Leagues, being all exceeding low. The South-West point of the largest Island* (* Prince of Wales Island.) on the North-West side of the passage bore North 71 degrees West, distant 8 Miles; this point I named Cape Cornwall (Latitude 10 degrees 43 minutes South, Longitude 218 degrees 59 minutes West),* (* This longitude is 70 minutes too far west, and one of the worst given in the Journal. There were no observations, and the dead reckoning among the shoals was difficult to keep.) and some low Islands lying about the Middle of the Passage, which I called Wallace's Isles, bore West by South 1/2 South, distance about 2 Leagues. Our Latitude by Observation was 10 degrees 46 minutes South.

In 1922, the Kaurareg People were removed from the seven islands (Muralag, Bedanug (Possession), Zuna (Entrance), Mipa (Turtle), Yeta (Port Lihou), Dumaralag and Horn (Ngurupai) of the Kaurareg Archipelago in the Torres Strait to Moa Island but returned in 1946 to Ngurupai (Horn).  In 1969, they re-established governance with the formation of the Horn Island Village Council.  The descendants of original occupiers of the islands at the time of Cook’s visit to Possession Island (Bedanug) in 1770 were granted native title to the islands in 1993, 223 years later.

Joseph Banks Journal
In the morn 3 or 4 women appeard upon the beach gathering shellfish: we lookd with our glasses and to us they appeard as they always did more naked than our mother Eve. The Ebb ran out so strong that we could not weigh till near noon. We had the Wind variable from N to W, the first time since we got the trade. Before we had proceeded far we met with a shoal which made us come to an anchor.

21st August 1770

[Cape York, Queensland]
Winds at EBS and ESE a fresh breeze. By one oClock we had run nearly the length of the southermost of the two Islands before mentioned and finding that we could not well go to windward of them without carrying us too far from the Main land we bore up and run to Leeward of them where we found a fair open passage this done we steer'd NBW in a Parallel direction with the Main land leaving a small Island between us and it and some low sandy Isles and shoals without us all of which we lost sight of by 4 oClock, neither did we see any more before the sun went down at which time the farthest part of the Main in sight bore NNW^1/2W soon after this we Anchord in 13 fathom soft ground about 5 Leagues from the land where we lay untill day light when we got again under sail, having first sent the Yawl ahead to sound, we steerd NNW by Compass from the northermost land in sight Variation 3°..6' East: Seeing no danger in our way we took the Yawl in tow and made all the Sail we could untill 8 oClock at which time we discoverd Shoals ahead and on our Larboard bow and saw that the Land northermost land which we had taken to be a part of the Main was an Island or Islands between which and the Main their appeared to be a good passage thro' which we might pass by runing to Leeward of the Shoals on our Larboard bow which was now pretty near us. whereupon we wore and brought too and sent away the Pinnace and yawl to direct us clear of the shoals and then stood after them. after having got round the SE point of the Shoal we steerd NW along the SW or inside of it keeping a good look out at the Mast head having another shoal on our Larboard side, but we found a good channell of a Mile broad between them wherein were from 10 to 14 fathoms water At 11 oClock being nearly the Length of the Islands above mentioned and designing to pass between them and the Main, the Yawl being thrown a Stern by falling in upon a ^part of the shoal she could not get over we brought the Ship too and sent away the Long-boat / which we had a stern and rigg'd / to keep in shore upon our larboard bow and the Pinnace on the Starboard for all tho there appear'd ^to be nothing in the Passage yet I thought it necessary to take this method be cause we had a strong flood which carried us an end very fast, and it did not want much of high-water As soon as the boats were ahead we stood after them and got through by noon at which time we were by observation in the Latitude of 10°..36'..30" St the nearest part of the Main, and which we soon after found to be the Northermost bore due west ^a little 2° southerly distand 3 or 4 Miles, the Islands which form'd the Passage before mentioned extending from North to N. 75° East distant 2 or 3 Miles - At the same time we saw Islands at a good distance off extending from NBW to WNW and behind them another chain of high land which we like wise Judge'd to be Islands, the Main land we thought extended as far as N 71° west but this we found to be Islands. The point of the Main which forms one side of the M Passage before mentioned and which we found is the Northern Promontary of this ^Country I have named York Cape in honour of His late Royal Highness the Duke of York. It lies in the Longitude of 218°..24' Wt the North point in ye Latde of 10°.37' S. & the Et point in 10°..41' S. The land over and to the ^Southward of this last point is rather low and very flat ^as far in land as the eye could rach and looks barren to the southward of the Cape the Shore forms a large open Bay ^which I called New Castle Bay wherein are some small low Islands and shoals and all the land about it is very low flat and sandy. The Land ^of the northern ^part of the Cape the land is rather more hilly and the shore forms some small Bays wherein there appear'd to be good anchorage, and the Vallies appear'd to be tolerably well Clo^athed with wood; close to the ^East point of the Cape are Three small Islands and a small ledge of rocks spiting off from one of them ^there is also an Island lay close to the north Pt the other Islands before spoke off ^forming the passage lay about 4 Miles without these, only Tow of them are of any extent, the Southermost is the largist and much higher than any part of the Main land, on the NW side of this Island seem'd to be good anchorage and Vallies that to all appearence would afford both wood and fresh water These Isles are known in the Chart by the name of York Isles — to the Southward and SE of them and even to the Eastward and northward are several low Islands Rocks and shoals - our depth of water in sailing between them and the Main was 12 . 13 & 14 fathoms — 

Joseph Banks Journal
Running along shore with charming moderate weather, as indeed we have had ever since our second entering the reef. We observd both last night and this morn that the main lookd very narrow, so we began to look out for the Passage we expected to find between new Holland and New Guinea. At noon one was seen very narrow but appearing to widen: we resolv'd to try it so stood in. In passing through, for it was not more than a mile in lengh before it widned very much, we saw 10 Indians standing on a hill; 9 were armed with lances as we had been usd to see them, the tenth had a bow and arrows; 2 had also large ornaments of mother of Pearl shell hung round their necks. After the ship had passd by 3 followd her, one of whoom was the bow man. We soon came abreast, from whence we concluded we might have a much better view than from our mast head, so the anchor was dropd and we prepard ourselves to go ashore to examine whether the place we stood into was a bay or a passage; for as we saild right before the trade wind we might find dificulty in getting out should it prove to be the former. The 3 Indians plac'd themselves upon the beach opposite to us as if resolvd either to oppose or assist our landing; when however we came about Musquet shot from them they all walkd leisurely away. The hill we were upon was by much the most barren we had been upon; it however gave us the satisfaction of seeing a streight, at least as far as we could see, without any obstruction. In the Even a strong tide made us almost certain.

Sydney Parkinson Journal
We kept along shore till the 21st, and, at noon, in latitude 10° 36’, we came to a great number of islands near the main land, which tended away to the S. W. We stood through between two of these islands, to the west, and found a very strong tide, which carried us along briskly, and gave us hopes that this was a passage between New Holland and New Guinea. At length we came to, and the pinnace was sent on shore to a spot where we saw some of the natives stand gazing at us, but when the boat’s company landed, they immediately fled. fled. The captain, and some others, went up to the top of a hill, and, seeing a clear passage, they hoisted a jack, and fired a volley, which was answered by the marines below, and the marines by three vollies from the ship, and three cheers from the main shrouds. The natives were armed with lances, and one of them had a bow in his hand. In other respects they were much like the people we saw last, being quite naked, and of a dark colour. This land was more rocky, and less sandy than we had lately seen, but still very barren; though the flats, indeed, were covered with many verdant trees. We also discovered very high land at a great distance to the N. E. which we took for the land of New Guinea.

20th August 1770

[Nearing Cape York, Queensland]
Fresh breezes at East-South-East. About one P.M. the pinnace having got ahead, and the Yawl we took in Tow, we fill'd and Steer'd North by West, for some small Islands we had in that direction. After approaching them a little nearer we found them join'd or connected together by a large Reef; upon this we Edged away North-West, and left them on our Starboard hand, steering between them and the Island laying off the Main, having a fair and Clear Passage; Depth of Water from 15 to 23 fathoms. At 4 we discover'd some low Islands and Rocks bearing West-North-West, which we stood directly for. At half Past 6 we Anchor'd on the North-East side of the Northermost, in 16 fathoms, distant from the Island one Mile. This Isle lay North-West 4 Leagues from Cape Grenville. On the Isles we saw a good many Birds, which occasioned my calling them Bird Isles. Before and at Sunset we could see the Main land, which appear'd all very low and sandy, Extends as far to the Northward as North-West by North, and some Shoals, Keys, and low sandy Isles away to the North-East of us.

At 6 A.M. we got again under sail, with a fresh breeze at East, and stood away North-North-West for some low Islands* (* Boydong Keys.) we saw in that direction; but we had not stood long upon this Course before we were obliged to haul close upon a wind in Order to weather a Shoal which we discover'd on our Larboard bow, having at the same time others to the Eastward of us. By such time as we had weathered the Shoal to Leeward we had brought the Islands well upon our Leebow; but seeing some Shoals spit off from them, and some rocks on our Starboard bow, which we did not discover until we were very near them, made me afraid to go to windward of the Islands; wherefore we brought too, and made the signal for the pinnace, which was a head, to come on board, which done, I sent her to Leeward of the Islands, with Orders to keep along the Edge off the Shoal, which spitted off from the South side of the Southermost Island. The Yawl I sent to run over the Shoals to look for Turtle, and appointed them a Signal to make in case they saw many; if not, she was to meet us on the other side of the Island. As soon as the pinnace had got a proper distance from us we wore, and stood After her, and run to Leeward of the Islands, where we took the Yawl in Tow, she having seen only one small Turtle, and therefore made no Stay upon the Shoal. Upon this Island, which is only a Small Spott of Land, with some Trees upon it, we saw many Hutts and habitations of the Natives, which we supposed come over from the Main to these Islands (from which they are distant about 5 Leagues) to Catch Turtle at the time these Animals come ashore to lay their Eggs. Having got the Yawl in Tow, we stood away after the pinnace North-North-East and North by East to 2 other low Islands, having 2 Shoals, which we could see without and one between us and the Main.

At Noon we were about 4 Leagues from the Main land, which we could see Extending to the Northward as far as North-West by North, all low, flat, and Sandy. Our Latitude by observation was 11 degrees 23 minutes South, Longitude in 217 degrees 46 minutes West, and Course and distance sail'd since Yesterday at Noon North 22 degrees West, 40 Miles; soundings from 14 to 23 fathoms. But these are best seen upon the Chart, as likewise the Islands, Shoals, etc., which are too Numerous to be Mentioned singly.* (* It is very difficult to follow Cook's track after entering Providential Channel to this place. The shoals and islands were so confusing that their positions are very vaguely laid down on Cook's chart. It is easy to imagine how slow was his progress and tortuous his course, with a boat ahead all the time constantly signalling shallow water. Nothing is more trying to officers and men.)

Joseph Banks Journal
Steering along shore as usual among many shoals, Luffing up for some and bearing away for others. We are now pretty well experiencd in their appearances so as seldom to be deceivd and easily to know asunder a bottom colourd by white sand from a coral rock, the former of which, tho generaly in 12 or 14 fathom water, some time ago gave us much trouble. The reef was still supposd to be without us from the smoothness of our water. The mainland appeard very low and sandy and had many fires upon it, more than we had usualy observd. We passd during the day many low sandy Islands every one of which stood upon a large shoal; we have constantly found the best passage to lie near the main, and the farther from that you go near the reef the more numerous are the shoals. In the evening we observd the shoals to decrease in number but we still were in smooth water.

19th August 2013

[Amongst Shoals off Cape Grenville]
Gentle breezes at South-East by East and Clear wether. At 2 P.M., as we were steering North-West by North, saw a large shoal right ahead, extending 3 or 4 points on each bow, upon which we hauld up North-North-East and North-East by North, in order to get round to North Point of it, which we reached by 4 o'clock, and then Edged away to the westward, and run between the North end of this Shoal and another, which lays 2 miles to the Northward of it, having a Boat all the time ahead sounding. Our depth of Water was very irregular, from 22 to 8 fathoms. At 1/2 past 6 we Anchor'd in 13 fathoms; the Northermost of the Small Islands mentioned at Noon bore West 1/2 South, distant 3 Miles. These Islands, which are known in the Chart by the name of Forbes's Isles,* (* Admiral John Forbes was a Commissioner of Longitude in 1768, and had been a Lord of the Admiralty from 1756 to 1763.) lay about 5 Leagues from the Main, which here forms a moderate high point, which we called Bolt head, from which the Land trends more westerly, and is all low, sandy Land, but to the Southward it is high and hilly, even near the Sea. At 6 A.M. we got under sail, and directed our Course for an Island which lay but a little way from the Main, and bore from us at this time North 40 degrees West, distant 5 Leagues; but we were soon interrupted in our Course by meeting with Shoals, but by the help of 2 Boats ahead and a good lookout at the Mast head we got at last into a fair Channel, which lead us down to the Island, having a very large Shoal on our Starboard side and several smaller ones betwixt us and the Main land. In this Channel we had from 20 to 30 fathoms. Between 11 and 12 o'Clock we hauld round the North-East side of the Island, leaving it between us and the Main from which it is distant 7 or 8 Miles. This Island is about a League in Circuit and of a moderate height, and is inhabited; to the North-West of it are several small, low Islands and Keys, which lay not far from the Main, and to the Northward and Eastward lay several other Islands and Shoals, so that we were now incompassed on every side by one or the other, but so much does a great danger Swallow up lesser ones, that these once so much dreaded spots were now looked at with less concern. The Boats being out of their Stations, we brought too to wait for them.

At Noon our Latitude by observation was 12 degrees 0 minutes South, Longitude in 217 degrees 25 minutes West; depth of Water 14 fathoms; Course and distance sail'd, reduced to a strait line, since yesterday Noon is North 29 degrees West, 32 Miles. The Main land within the above Islands forms a point, which I call Cape Grenville* (* George Grenville was First Lord of the Admiralty for a few months in 1763, and afterwards Prime Minister for two years.) (Latitude 11 degrees 58 minutes, Longitude 217 degrees 38 minutes); between this Cape and the Bolt head is a Bay, which I Named Temple Bay.* (* Richard Earl Temple, brother of George Grenville, was First Lord of the Admiralty in 1756.) East 1/2 North, 9 Leagues from Cape Grenville, lay some tolerable high Islands, which I called Sir Charles Hardy's Isles;* (* Admiral Sir C. Hardy was second in command in Hawke's great action in Quiberon Bay, 1759.) those which lay off the Cape I named Cockburn Isles.* (* Admiral George Cockburn was a Commissioner of Longitude and Comptroller of the Navy when Cook left England. Off Cape Grenville the Endeavour again got into what is now the recognised channel along the land inside the reefs.)

Joseph Banks Journal
Weighd anchor and steerd as yesterday with a fresh trade wind. All morn were much entangled with Shoals, but so much do great dangers swallow up lesser ones that these once so much dreaded shoals were now look[ed] at with much less concern than formerly. At noon we passd along a large shoal on which the boats which were ahead saw many turtle but it blew too fresh to catch them. We were now tolerably near the main, which appeard low and barren and often interspersd with large patches of the very white sand spoke of before. On a small Island which we passd very near to were 5 natives, 2 of whoom carried their Lances in their hands; they came down upon a point and lookd at the ship for a little while and then retird.

17th & 18th August 1770

[Pass Again Inside Barrier Reef]
17th. While Mr. Hicks was Examining the opening we struggled hard with the flood, sometime gaining a little and at other times loosing. At 2 o'Clock Mr. Hicks returned with a favourable Account of the Opening. It was immediately resolved to Try to secure the Ship in it. Narrow and dangerous as it was, it seemed to be the only means we had of saving her, as well as ourselves. A light breeze soon after sprung up at East-North-East, with which, the help of our Boats, and a Flood Tide, we soon entered the Opening, and was hurried thro' in a short time by a Rappid Tide like a Mill race, which kept us from driving against either side, though the Channel was not more than a 1/4 of a Mile broad, having 2 Boats ahead of us sounding.* (* This picture of the narrow escape from total shipwreck is very graphic. Many a ship has been lost under similar circumstances, without any idea of anchoring, which would often save a vessel, as it is not often that a reef is so absolutely steep; but that Cook had this possibility in his mind is clear. As a proof of the calmness which prevailed on board, it may be mentioned that when in the height of the danger, Mr. Green, Mr. Clerke, and Mr. Forwood the gunner, were engaged in taking a Lunar, to obtain the longitude. The note in Mr. Green's log is: "These observations were very good, the limbs of sun and moon very distinct, and a good horizon. We were about 100 yards from the reef, where we expected the ship to strike every minute, it being calm, no soundings, and the swell heaving us right on.") 

Our depth of water was from 30 to 7 fathoms; very irregular soundings and foul ground until we had got quite within the Reef, where we Anchor'd in 19 fathoms, a Coral and Shelly bottom. The Channel we came in by, which I have named Providential Channell, bore East-North-East, distant 10 or 12 Miles, being about 8 or 9 Leagues from the Main land, which extended from North 66 degrees West to South-West by South. It is but a few days ago that I rejoiced at having got without the Reef; but that joy was nothing when Compared to what I now felt at being safe at an Anchor within it. Such are the Visissitudes attending this kind of Service, and must always attend an unknown Navigation where one steers wholy in the dark without any manner of Guide whatever. Was it not from the pleasure which Naturly results to a man from his being the first discoverer, even was it nothing more than Land or Shoals, this kind of Service would be insupportable, especially in far distant parts like this, Short of Provisions and almost every other necessary. People will hardly admit of an excuse for a Man leaving a Coast unexplored he has once discovered. If dangers are his excuse, he is then charged with Timerousness and want of Perseverance, and at once pronounced to be the most unfit man in the world to be employ'd as a discoverer; if, on the other hand, he boldly encounters all the dangers and Obstacles he meets with, and is unfortunate enough not to succeed, he is then Charged with Temerity, and, perhaps, want of Conduct. The former of these Aspersions, I am confident, can never be laid to my Charge, and if I am fortunate to Surmount all the Dangers we meet with, the latter will never be brought in Question; altho' I must own that I have engaged more among the Islands and Shoals upon this Coast than perhaps in prudence I ought to have done with a single Ship* (* Cook was so impressed with the danger of one ship alone being engaged in these explorations, that in his subsequent voyages he asked for, and obtained, two vessels.) and every other thing considered. But if I had not I should not have been able to give any better account of the one half of it than if I had never seen it; at best, I should not have been able to say wether it was Mainland or Islands; and as to its produce, that we should have been totally ignorant of as being inseparable with the other; and in this case it would have been far more satisfaction to me never to have discover'd it. But it is time I should have done with this Subject, which at best is but disagreeable, and which I was lead into on reflecting on our late Dangers. In the P.M., as the wind would not permit us to sail out by the same Channel as we came in, neither did I care to move until the pinnace was in better repair, I sent the Master with all the other Boats to the Reef to get such refreshments as he could find, and in the meantime the Carpenters were repairing the pinnace. Variations by the Amplitude and Azimuth in the morning 4 degrees 9 minutes Easterly; at noon Latitude observed 12 degrees 38 minutes South, Longitude in 216 degrees 45 minutes West. It being now about low water, I and some other of the officers went to the Masthead to see what we could discover. Great part of the reef without us was dry, and we could see an Opening in it about two Leagues farther to the South-East than the one we came in by; we likewise saw 2 large spots of sand to the Southward within the Reef, but could see nothing to the Northward between it and the Main. On the Mainland within us was a pretty high promontary, which I called Cape Weymouth (Latitude 12 degrees 42 minutes South, Longitude 217 degrees 15 minutes); and on the North-West side of this Cape is a Bay, which I called Weymouth Bay.* (* Viscount Weymouth was one of the Secretaries of State when the Endeavour sailed.)

18th. Gentle breezes at East and East-South-East. At 4 P.M. the Boats return'd from the Reef with about 240 pounds of Shell-fish, being the Meat of large Cockles, exclusive of the Shells. Some of these Cockles are as large as 2 Men can move, and contain about 20 pounds of Meat, very good. At 6 in the morning we got under sail, and stood away to the North-West, as we could not expect a wind to get out to Sea by the same Channel as we came in without waiting perhaps a long time for it, nor was it advisable at this time to go without the Shoals, least we should by them be carried so far off the Coast as not to be able to determine wether or no New Guinea joins to or makes a part of this land. This doubtful point I had from my first coming upon the Coast, determined, if Possible, to clear up; I now came to a fix'd resolution to keep the Main land on board, let the Consequence be what it will, and in this all the Officers concur'd. In standing to the North-West we met with very irregular soundings, from 10 to 27 fathoms, varying 5 or 6 fathoms almost every Cast of the Lead. However, we keept on having a Boat ahead sounding.

A little before noon we passed a low, small, sandy Isle, which we left on our Starboard side at the distance of 2 Miles. At the same time we saw others, being part of large Shoals above water, away to the North-East and between us and the Main land. At Noon we were by observation in the Latitude of 12 degrees 28 minutes South, and 4 or 5 Leagues from the Main, which extended from South by West to North 71 degrees West, and some Small Islands extending from North 40 degrees West to North 54 degrees West, the Main or outer Reef seen from the Masthead away to the North-East.

Joseph Banks Journal
17th. As we were now safe at an anchor it was resolvd to send the boats upon the nearest shoal to search for shell fish, turtle or whatever else they could get. They accordingly went and Dr Solander and myself accompanied them in my small boat. In our way we met with two water snakes, one 5 the other 6 feet long; we took them both; they much resembled Land snakes only their tails were flatted sideways, I suppose for the convenience of swimming, and were not venomous. The shoal we went upon was the very reef we had so near been lost upon yesterday, now no longer terrible to us; it afforded little provision for the ship, no turtle, only 300lb of Great cockles, some were however of an immense size. We had in the way of curiosity much better success, meeting with many curious fish and mollusca besides Corals of many species, all alive, among which was the Tubipora musica. I have often lamented that we had not time to make proper observations upon this curious tribe of animals but we were so intirely taken up with the more conspicuous links of the chain of creation as fish, Plants, Birds etc. etc. that it was impossible.

18th. Weighd and stood along shore with a gentle breeze, the main still 7 or 8 Leagues from us. In the even many shoals were ahead; we were however fortunate enough to find our way through them and at night anchord under an Island. The tide here ran immensely strong which we lookd upon as a good omen: so strong a stream must in all probability have an outlet by which we could get out either on the South or North side of New Guinea. The smoothness of the water however plainly indicated that the reef continued between us and the Ocean.

Sydney Parkinson Journal
On the 17th, in the morning, we sent some men in the boat to the reef for turtles and clams, but they returned without any of the former, and with but few clams, though they were of a large size. The reefs were covered with a numberless variety of beautiful corallines of all colours and figures, having here and there interstices of very white sand. These made a pleasing appearance under water, which was smooth on the inside of the reef, while it broke all along the outside, and may be aptly compared to a grove of shrubs growing under water. Numbers of beautiful coloured fishes make their residence amongst these rocks, and may be caught by hand on the high part of the reef at low water. There are also crabs, molusca of various sorts, and a great variety of curious shell-fish, which adhere to the old dead coral that forms the reef.

On the 18th, we weighed anchor, and stood along shore on the inside of the reef, thinking that would be the safest and best way of finding the passage between New-Guinea and this land: we met with a great many islands, shoals, and reefs, and came to at night.

Disaster averted... Just! 16th August 1770

[Ship in Danger, Outside Barrier Reef]
Moderate breezes at East-South-East and fair weather. A little after Noon saw the Land from the Mast head bearing West-South-West, making high; at 2 saw more land to the North-West of the former, making in hills like Islands; but we took it to be a Continuation of the Main land. An hour after this we saw a reef, between us and the land, extending away to the Southward, and, as we thought, terminated here to the Northward abreast of us; but this was only on op'ning, for soon after we saw it extend away to the Northward as far as we could distinguish anything. Upon this we hauld close upon a Wind, which was now at East-South-East, with all the sail we could set. We had hardly trimm'd our sails before the wind came to East by North, which made our weathering the Reef very doubtful, the Northern point of which in sight at sun set still bore from us North by West, distant about 2 Leagues. However, this being the best Tack to Clear it, we keept standing to the Northward, keeping a good look out until 12 at night, when, fearing to run too far upon one Course, we tack'd and stood to the southward, having run 6 Leagues North or North by East since sun set; we had not stood above 2 Miles to the South-South-East before it fell quite Calm. We both sounded now and several times before, but had not bottom with 140 fathoms of line.* (* The description which follows, of the situation of the ship, and the occurrences until she was safely anchored inside the Barrier Reef, is from the Admiralty copy, as it is much fuller than that in Mr. Corner's.) 

A little after 4 o'clock the roaring of the surf was plainly heard, and at daybreak the Vast foaming breakers were too plainly to be seen not a mile from us, towards which we found the ship was carried by the Waves surprisingly fast. We had at this time not an air of Wind, and the depth of water was unfathomable, so that there was not a possibility of anchoring. In this distressed Situation we had nothing but Providence and the small Assistance the Boats could give us to trust to; the Pinnace was under repair, and could not immediately be hoisted out. The Yawl was put in the Water, and the Longboat hoisted out, and both sent ahead to tow, which, together with the help of our sweeps abaft, got the Ship's head round to the Northward, which seemed to be the best way to keep her off the Reef, or at least to delay time. Before this was effected it was 6 o'clock, and we were not above 80 or 100 yards from the breakers. The same sea that washed the side of the ship rose in a breaker prodidgiously high the very next time it did rise, so that between us and destruction was only a dismal Valley, the breadth of one wave, and even now no ground could be felt with 120 fathom. The Pinnace was by this time patched up, and hoisted out and sent ahead to Tow. Still we had hardly any hopes of saving the ship, and full as little our lives, as we were full 10 Leagues from the nearest Land, and the boats not sufficient to carry the whole of us; yet in this Truly Terrible Situation not one man ceased to do his utmost, and that with as much Calmness as if no danger had been near. All the dangers we had escaped were little in comparison of being thrown upon this reef, where the Ship must be dashed to pieces in a Moment. A reef such as one speaks of here is Scarcely known in Europe. It is a Wall of Coral Rock rising almost perpendicular out of the unfathomable Ocean, always overflown at high Water generally 7 or 8 feet, and dry in places at Low Water. The Large Waves of the Vast Ocean meeting with so sudden a resistance makes a most Terrible Surf, breaking Mountains high, especially as in our case, when the General Trade Wind blows directly upon it. At this Critical juncture, when all our endeavours seemed too little, a Small Air of Wind sprung up, but so small that at any other Time in a Calm we should not have observed it. With this, and the Assistance of our Boats, we could observe the Ship to move off from the Reef in a slanting direction; but in less than 10 Minutes we had as flat a Calm as ever, when our fears were again renewed, for as yet we were not above 200 Yards from the Breakers. Soon after our friendly Breeze visited us again, and lasted about as long as before. A Small Opening was now Seen in the Reef about a 1/4 of a Mile from us, which I sent one of the Mates to Examine. Its breadth was not more than the Length of the Ship, but within was Smooth Water. Into this place it was resolved to Push her if Possible, having no other Probable Views to save her, for we were still in the very Jaws of distruction, and it was a doubt wether or no we could reach this Opening. However, we soon got off it, when to our Surprise we found the Tide of Ebb gushing out like a Mill Stream, so that it was impossible to get in. We however took all the Advantage Possible of it, and it Carried us out about a 1/4 of a Mile from the breakers; but it was too Narrow for us to keep in long. However, what with the help of this Ebb, and our Boats, we by Noon had got an Offing of 1 1/2 or 2 Miles, yet we could hardly flatter ourselves with hopes of getting Clear, even if a breeze should Spring up, as we were by this time embay'd by the Reef, and the Ship, in Spite of our Endeavours, driving before the Sea into the bight. The Ebb had been in our favour, and we had reason to Suppose the flood which was now made would be against us. The only hopes we had was another Opening we saw about a Mile to the Westward of us, which I sent Lieutenant Hicks in the Small Boat to Examine. Latitude observed 12 degrees 37 minutes South, the Main Land in Sight distant about 10 Leagues. 

Joseph Banks Journal
At three O'Clock this morn it dropd calm on a sudden which did not at all better our situation: we judgd ourselves not more than 4 or 5 l'gs from the reef, maybe much less, and the swell of the sea which drove right in upon it carried the ship towards it fast. We tried the lead often in hopes to find ground that we might anchor but in vain; before 5 the roaring of the Surf was plainly heard and as day broke the vast foaming billows were plainly enough to be seen scarce a mile from us and towards which we found the ship carried by the waves surprizingly fast, so that by 6 o'clock we were within a Cables lengh of them, driving on as fast as ever and still no ground with 100 fathm of line. Every method had been taken since we first saw our danger to get the boats out in hopes that they might tow us off but it was not yet acomplishd; the Pinnace had had a Plank strippd off her for repair and the longboat under the Booms was lashd and fastned so well from our supposd security that she was not yet got out. Two large Oars or sweeps were got out at the stern ports to pull the ships head round the other way in hopes that might delay till the boats were out. All this while we were approaching and came I beleive before this could be effected within 40 yards of the breaker; the same sea that washd the side of the ship rose in a breaker enormously high the very next time is did rise, so between us and it was only a dismal valley the breadth of one wave; even now the lead was hove 3 or 4 lines fastned together but no ground could be felt with above 150 fathm. Now was our case truly desperate, no man I beleive but who gave himself intirely over, a speedy death was all we had to hope for and that from the vastness of the Breakers which must quickly dash the ship all to peices was scarce to be doubted. Other hopes we had none: the boats were in the ship and must be dashd in peices with her and the nearest dry land was 8 or 10 Leagues distant. We did not however cease our endeavours to get out the long boat which was by this time almost accomplishd. At this critical juncture, at this I must say terrible moment, when all asistance seemd too little to save even our miserable lives, a small air of wind sprang up, so small that at any other time in a calm we should not have observd it. We however plainly saw that it instantly checkd our progress; every sail was therefore put in a proper direction to catch it and we just obse[r]vd the ship to move in a slaunting direction off from the breakers. This at least gave us time and redoubling our efforts we at last got out the long boat and manning her sent her a head. The ship still movd a little off but in less than 10 minutes our little Breeze died away into as flat a calm as ever. Now was our anziety again renewd: innumerable small peices of paper etc. were thrown over the ships side to find whither the boats realy movd her ahead or not and so little did she move that it remaind almost every other time a matter of dispute. Our little freindly Breeze now visited us again and lasted about as long as before, thrusting us possibly 100 yards farther from the breakers: we were still however in the very jaws of destruction. A small opening had been seen in the reef about a furlong from us, its breadth was scarce the lengh of the ship, into this however it was resolvd to push her if posible. Within was no surf, therefore we might save our lives: the doubt was only whether we could get the ship so far: our little breeze however a third time visited us and pushd us almost there. The fear of Death is Bitter: the prospect we now had before us of saving our lives tho at the expence of every thing we had made my heart set much lighter on its throne, and I suppose there were none but what felt the same sensations. At lengh we arrivd off the mouth of the wishd for opening and found to our surprize what had with the little breeze been the real cause of our Escape, a thing that we had not before dreamt of. The tide of flood it was that had hurried us so unacountably fast towards the reef, in the near neighbourhood of which we arrivd just at high water, consequently its ceasing to drive us any farther gave us the opportunity we had of getting off. Now however the tide of Ebb made strong and gushd out of our little opening like a mill stream, so that it was impossible to get in; of this stream however we took the advantage as much as possible and it Carried us out near a quarter of a mile from the reef. We well knew that we were to take all the advantage possible of the Ebb so continued towing with all our might and with all our boats, the Pinnance being now repaird, till we had gott an offing of 1½ or 2 miles. By this time the tide began to turn and our suspence began again: as we had gaind so little while the ebb was in our favour we had some reason to imagine that the flood would hurry us back upon the reef in spite of our utmost endeavours. It was still as calm as ever so no likely hood of any wind today; indeed had wind sprung up we could only have searchd for another opening, for we were so embayd by the reef that with the general trade wind it was impossible to get out. Another opning was however seen ahead and the 1st Lieutenant went away in the small boat to examine it. In the mean time we strugled hard with the flood, sometimes gaining a little then holding only our own and at others loosing a little, so that our situation was almost as bad as ever, as the flood had not yet come to its strengh. At 2 however the Lieutentant arrivd with news that the opening was very narrow: in it was good anchorage and a passage quite in free from shoals. The ships head was immediately put towards it and with the tide she towd fast so that by three we enterd and were hurried in by a stream almost like a mill race, which kept us from even a fear of the sides tho it was not above ¼ of mile in breadth. By 4 we came to an anchor happy once more to encounter those shoals which but two days before we thought ourselves supreamly happy to have escap'd from. How little do men know what is for their real advantage: two days [ago?] our utmost wishes were crownd by getting without the reef and today we were made again happy by getting within it.

Sydney Parkinson Journal
On the 16th, at the dawn of day, we had a reef under our lee, at about a mile distance, which alarmed us much. When it was quite light, we saw breakers all round us excepting to windward, where we came in. The wind sail-ing us about midnight, we tacked about, being afraid to stand any farther; and the wind’s still sailing was the cause that we drove on the reef, which we now neared apace. In this dilemma, we first hoisted out our small boats (the long boat being stowed, and the pinnace repairing) to tow her off, and got a pair of sweeps rigged out of the gun-room ports, to turn her head about. A slight puff of wind gave us some hopes of effecting it; but that sailing, we approached so near the breakers, that there was but one heave of the swell between them and the ship. However, with our pulling, the alteration of the tide, and another slight puff of wind, we cleared her a little more from the reef, and stood to where we saw a break in the reef to leeward, there we hoped, at least, to find ground to anchor upon; but, when we got to the entrance of it, we were driven off by a ripple of the tide that set out with great force; which, however, proved very providential, as we afterward found there were rocks in the passage, and that it was not a proper break. We then stood to windward, intending either to get out as we came in, or a little farther down to leeward, where the reef seemed detached; but, perceiving, soon after, the tops of some rocks in the passage, we declined attempting it. The wind again dying away, we were at a lots what to do for the best; but, at last, determined on sending some of our people in the boat to examine into the appearance of another break still farther to leeward; and, a light breeze springing up from the east, we resolved to push in there, though the passage was but narrow, which we happily accomplished, being assisted by the tide; and we anchored between the reef and the shore, in fifteen fathoms water; though, at the very edge of these reefs, we had no sounding at one hundred and fifty-five fathoms. At our first entrance into this place we had very unequal soundings; sometimes finding no bottom; and one fathom farther finding it with twenty fathoms of line. This, we apprehended, was occasioned by the coral rocks which rise up almost perpendicular. Latitude 12° 36’.

14th & 15th August 1770

[Pass Outside Barrier Reef, Queensland]
14th. Winds at South-East, a steady gale. By 2 P.M. we got out to the outermost reefs, and just fetched to Windward of one of the openings I had discover'd from the Island; we tacked and Made a short trip to the South-West, while the Master went in the pinnace to examine the Channel, who soon made the signal for the Ship to follow, which we accordingly did, and in a short time got safe out. This Channel* (* Now known as Cook's Passage.) lies North-East 1/2 North, 3 Leagues from Lizard Island; it is about one-third of a Mile broad, and 25 or 30 fathoms deep or more. The moment we were without the breakers we had no ground with 100 fathoms of Line, and found a large Sea rowling in from the South-East. By this I was well assured we were got with out all the Shoals, which gave us no small joy, after having been intangled among Islands and Shoals, more or less, ever since the 26th of May, in which time we have sail'd above 360 Leagues by the Lead without ever having a Leadsman out of the Chains, when the ship was under sail; a Circumstance that perhaps never hapned to any ship before, and yet it was here absolutely necessary. I should have been very happy to have had it in my power to have keept in with the land, in order to have explor'd the Coast to the Northern extremity of the Country, which I think we were not far off, for I firmly believe this land doth not join to New Guinea. But this I hope soon either to prove or disprove, and the reasons I have before assign'd will, I presume, be thought sufficient for my leaving the Coast at this time; not but what I intend to get in with it again as soon as I can do it with safety. The passage or channel we now came out by, which I have named, ----* (* Blank in MS.) lies in the Latitude of 14 degrees 32 minutes South; it may always be found and known by the 3 high Islands within it, which I have called the Islands of Direction, because by their means a safe passage may be found even by strangers in within the Main reef, and quite into the Main. Lizard Island, which is the Northermost and Largest of the 3, Affords snug Anchorage under the North-West side of it, fresh water and wood for fuel; and the low Islands and Reefs which lay between it and the Main, abound with Turtle and other fish, which may be caught at all Seasons of the Year (except in such blowing weather as we have lately had). All these things considered there is, perhaps, not a better place on the whole Coast for a Ship to refresh at than this Island. I had forgot to mention in its proper place, that not only on this Island, but on Eagle Island, and on several places of the Sea beach in and about Endeavour River, we found Bamboos, Cocoa Nutts, the seeds of some few other plants, and Pummice-stones, which were not the produce of the Country. From what we have seen of it, it is reasonable to suppose that they are the produce of some lands or Islands laying in the Neighbourhood, most likely to the Eastward, and are brought hither by the Easterly trade winds. The Islands discover'd by Quiros lies in this parrallel, but how far to the Eastward it's hard to say; for altho' we found in most Charts his discoveries placed as far to the West as this country yet from the account of his Voyage, compared with what we ourselves have seen, we are Morally certain that he never was upon any part of this Coast.* (* The Island of Espiritu Santo, in the New Hebrides, which Quiros discovered, lies 1200 miles to the eastward, and New Caledonia, from which these objects might equally have come, is 1000 miles in the same direction.) As soon as we had got without the Reefs we Shortened sail, and hoisted in the pinnace and Long boat, which last we had hung alongside, and then stretched off East-North-East, close upon a wind, as I did not care to stand to the Northward until we had a whole day before us, for which reason we keept making short boards all night. The large hollow sea we have now got into acquaints us with a Circumstance we did not before know, which is that the Ship hath received more Damage than we were aware of, or could perceive when in smooth Water; for now she makes as much water as one pump will free, kept constantly at work. However this was looked upon as trifling to the Danger we had lately made an Escape from. At day light in the morning Lizard Island bore South by West, distant 10 Leagues. We now made all the sail we could, and stood away North-North-West 1/2 West, but at 9 we steer'd North-West 1/2 North, having the advantage of a Fresh Gale at South-East; at Noon we were by observation in the Latitude of 13 degrees 46 minutes South, the Lizard Island bore South 15 degrees East, distant 58 Miles, but we had no land in sight.

15th. Fresh Trade at South-East and Clear weather. At 6 in the evening shortned sail and brought too, with her head to the North-East. By this time we had run near 12 Leagues upon a North-West 1/2 North Course since Noon. At 4 a.m. wore and lay her head to the South-West, and at 6 made all Sail, and steer'd West, in order to make the land, being fearful of over shooting the passage, supposing there to be one, between this land and New Guinea. By noon we had run 10 Leagues upon this Course, but saw no land. Our Latitude by observation was 13 degrees 2 minutes South, Longitude 216 degrees 00 minutes West, which was 1 degree 23 minutes to the West of Lizard Island.

Joseph Banks Journal
14th. For the first time these three months we were this day out of sight of Land to our no small satisfaction: that very Ocean which had formerly been look'd upon with terror by (maybe) all of us was now the Assylum we had long wishd for and at last found. Satisfaction was clearly painted in every mans face: the day was fine and the trade wind brisk before which we steerd to the Northward; the well grown waves which followd the ship, sure sign of no land being in our neighbourhood, were contemplated with the greatest satisfaction, notwithstanding we plainly felt the effect of the blows they gave to our crazy ship, increasing her leaks considerably so that she made now 9 inches water every hour. This however was lookd upon as a light evil in comparison to those we had so lately made our escape from.

15th. Fine weather and moderate trade. The Captn fearfull of going too far from the Land, least he should miss an opportunity of examining whether or not the passage which is layd down in some charts between New Holland and New Guinea realy existed or not, steerd the ship west right in for the land; about 12 O'Clock it was seen from the Mast head and about one the Reef laying without it in just the same manner as when we left it. He stood on however resolving to stand off at night after having taken a nearer view, but just at night fall found himself in a manner embayd in the reef so that it was a moot Point whether or not he could weather it on either tack; we stood however to the Northward and at dark it was concluded that she would go clear of every thing we could see. The night however was not the most agreable: all the dangers we had escapd were little in comparison of being thrown upon this reef if that should be our lot. A Reef such a one as I now speak of is a thing scarcely known in Europe or indeed any where but in these seas: it is a wall of Coral rock rising almost perpendicularly out of the unfathomable ocean, always overflown at high water commonly 7 or 8 feet, and generaly bare at low water; the large waves of the vast ocean meeting with so sudden a resistance make here a most terrible surf Breaking mountain high, especialy when as in our case the general trade wind blows directly upon it.

Sydney Parkinson Journal
On the 15th, about noon, we saw land again in latitude 13° S. also a continuation of the reef which ran along-side of it. In the evening, standing right in for land, we were alarmed by suddenly discovering that reef extended to leeward of us, upon which we hauled in our wind, and crouded all the sail we could, that we might be able to weather the farthest point of it. The wind was easterly this day, more moderate, and the swell of the sea less.