Cook and four men arrived in St. John’s, Newfoundland, on 13 June, 1764, in HMS Lark and immediately repaired on board Grenville. More people were needed to man the schooner, so Cook recruited several men while the other captains of ships based on the Newfoundland station that year dutifully supplied two men each. The first muster for Grenville, dated 26 June, shows a complement of 20 men, of whom 10 were mustered and 10 were supernumeraries from the other ships.
An important member of the company was William Parker,1 Cook’s deputy as master's mate and assistant surveyor. Parker’s role was to sail the schooner, and make soundings and coastal observations while Cook, himself, went off in small boats to carry out inshore and onshore surveying work. Parker ran the ship in Cook’s absence, and maintained the log and journal.
The first entry in the Grenville log for 13 June, reads,
At 1pm His Majesty's Ship the Lark anchored here in St. John's Harbour, Newfoundland from England on board of which came the Master and Company of this Schooner, went on board and took possession of her. Read over to the crew the Master’s warrant, Articles of War and Abstract of the late Act of Parliament.
Grenville had obviously suffered during the Newfoundland winter, and needed repairs that delayed Cook’s departure. Cook and his men set about preparing the vessel for duty. On 18 June, Governor Hugh Palliser arrived in Guernsey, and issued more orders to Cook.
You are hereby required and Directed to Proceed with His Majesty’s Schooner the Grenville to survey the Coasts of Newfoundland; Beginning at the Island of Quirpoon, thence Proceeding Down the West side of the Island, making in your way an Exact Survey of the coasts, Islands, and Harbours; and remark every thing that may be Useful to the Trade & Navigation of His Majesty’s Subjects in those Parts ... You are to Continue on this Service as Long as the season is Favourable for it, taking Care to be at St. John’s by the 10th or Middle of October.2
Cook was, therefore, to resume his surveying work of late 1763 around the Northern Peninsula and in the Strait of Belle Isle, but this time to make a complete survey of the coast. On 4 July, he finally sailed Grenville out of St. John’s harbour.
At 5am weighed and ran out of the Harbour in company with His Majesty's Ships Guernsey and Tweed. At 10, parted company and stood to the northward.
Grenville sailed past Funk Island and the Horse Islands, northwest of Cape St. John, so that, on Sunday 7 July, she anchored in the Southwest arm of Carouge Harbour. They were in the heart of the “French Shore”, and found four French fishing ships already at anchor. Cook already had his men preparing the tools for surveying.
10 July. am The people employed making signal flags for surveying.
Grenville rounded Quirpon Island, an island off the tip of the Northern Peninsula, to anchor on 11 July, in Noddy Harbour, where they met more French fishing ships. Cook prepared sailing directions for Noddy Harbour, while Parker was soon mentioning activities associated with the survey. They highlight the approach taken by Cook, blending hydrographic charting with land surveying.
13 July. pm Went into the Bay Sacre, measured a base line and fixed some flags on the different islands etc.
15 July Employed sounding the Bay du Sacre and fixing flags on Cape de Ognon.
Cook took every opportunity to get ashore to set up base lines, and then undertake a careful triangulation survey using his theodolite and survey marker flags. Meanwhile, Parker in Grenville plied back and forth offshore, taking soundings and also bearings on Cook’s survey points. To complete the picture, Cook used the small boats to manoeuvre through the narrow and shallow channels (known locally as tickles) recording rocks, both visible and submerged, and any other features of possible interest. Back on the schooner, all the information was collated and turned into charts and sailing directions.
Cook moved further west in late July to survey Pistolet and Ha Ha Bays. The schooner moved on the 30th to a new anchorage, which was called Cook’s Harbour on the chart. It is not clear if Cook used an existing name or whether it represents one of the rare occasions where Cook applied his own name to a location. It still retains that name. On 2 August, Grenville stood off Cape Norman, the most northerly point of Newfoundland, while Cook went ashore, showing his growing ability and confidence in things astronomical, to take the sun’s meridian altitude. It allowed him to calculate the cape’s latitude, and use it as a base figure when calculating the latitude of other locations along the coast.
On 5 August, Parker discovered there had been an accident involving Cook,
2pm Came on board the cutter with the Master who
unfortunately had a large powder horn blown up and burnt his hand which shattered it in a terrible manner and one of the people that stood hard by suffered greatly by the same accident. Having no surgeon on board, bore away for Noddy Harbour where a French fishing ship lay. At 8 sent the boat in for the French surgeon.
The location of the accident was named Unfortunate Cove. It had been Cook’s right hand that was damaged. While it did heal, the hand bore a gash between the thumb and forefinger and a large scar as far as the wrist. Cook may have been hurt, but his injuries were not going to stop the survey. While Cook recuperated, he sent Parker off, on 9 August, to the south, to Griquet, to survey that inlet and the coast and bays in the vicinity.
Cook had his men brewing spruce beer at Noddy Harbour, an activity that would become one of Cook’s preoccupations during his career. When-ever he was away from a supply of the real thing, he would have his men set up a “brewery”. On this occasion at Noddy Harbour there were repercussions, as several of the men overindulged and needed to be punished for drunkenness.
19 August. am Scraped and cleaned the vessel. 2 men employed brewing of spruce essence. pm Andrew Shepherd, Henry Jefferies and Peter Flower were confined to the deck for drunkenness and mutiny.
21August. am Punished Andrew Shepherd (for the crimes before mentioned, he being the ringleader thereof) by running the Gantlope.
From 20 to 23 August, Cook, still at Noddy Harbour, was visited by Jens Haven, a Moravian missionary, who was seeking assistance to reach the Labrador coast. Palliser had been under instruction to assist Haven and three other missionaries. Cook was unable to take Haven across himself or to authorise Haven to travel with French fishing boats. However, on the 23rd, Haven secured passage with some Irish fishing vessels then at Quirpon.
Cook was finally ready to resume the survey on the 26th, and Grenville left Noddy Harbour. For the next month they worked down this coast as far as Ferolle. Cook was regularly off in the small boats and on shore, while Parker sounded the Strait and tried to keep Grenville in contact. On the 10th, Parker had again to ride a storm, and was forced as far as Quirpon. One of the little bays along this coast received the name Flowers Cove after Peter Flower, one of Cook’s men.3 Parker recorded typical Cook movements as they worked down the coast.
13 September. 4pm The Master with the cutter went ashore with six days provisions in order to continue the survey.
15 September. 9am Saw our boat and people on shore to the eastward of us.
On the 23rd, Grenville entered Old Ferolle harbour, later moving, on the 27th, to anchor inside Ferolle Island. Cook dispatched Parker with the boats to continue the survey to the south.
28 September. am The cutter with the Assistant went to survey the Bay of St. Margaret.
- Cook’s Log, page 4, vol. 36, no. 3 (2013).
- Hugh Palliser to James Cook, 19 June, 1764. St. John’s Harbour. Alexander Turnbull Library (ATL) Holograph Letters.
- Peter Flowers sailed with Cook in Endeavour, dying at Rio de Janeiro after falling overboard. See Cook’s Log, page 958, vol. 16, no. 4 (1993).
Originally published in Cook's Log, page 6, volume 37, number 3 (2014).