At the beginning of July 1765, Cook and the recently converted brig Grenville were working their way around the coast of the Burin Peninsula in Newfoundland. They had passed the islands of St. Pierre et Miquelon (handed over to the French two years before) which lay 20 km to the west. Cook was now entering Fortune Bay.
Cook was following the procedure developed over the previous year whereby his second-in-command, William Parker, took charge of the brig while he went off in a small boat to carry out the survey close to shore. Parker kept Grenville off the coast, sounding as he went. Cook went ashore regularly to use the theodolite and to take more precise readings, thereby setting up true base lines for his charts.
On 6 July, Grenville was 2.5 km off Dantzic Point, the northerly of several points making up the west end of the Burin Peninsula. She anchored in Fortune Road the next day. She then continued in an easterly direction following the southern shore of Fortune Bay to the Bay’s head near Grand le Pierre. On the 13th, two lost Newfoundlanders were discovered wandering near the shore at Garnish and were close to death.
13 July. At 3pm anchored in a bay by Great Garnish. At 8pm took two men on board that had been lost in the woods for near a month. They came from Burin intending to go to St. Lawrence and were almost perishing for want of subsistance.
Cook next surveyed Jacques Fontaine Cove and Bay l’Argent. Having reached the head of Fortune Bay, he turned west to follow the northern shore. As they entered Long Harbour on 22 July, disaster happened at 11am when they struck a rock.
22 July. At 11 am turning into Long Harbour ran ashore upon a rock. Struck the yards and topmasts. pm Employed shoaring the vessel with the yards, etc. And starting water and heaving ballast out. Got all the anchors from the bows and payed the cables out overboard. At midnight the water flowing got her off.
23 July. am Employed getting the cables and anchors on board and transporting the vessel. Cut 10 fathoms off the small bower cable, it being much rubbed in heaving off. At 1pm anchored with the small bower in 50 fathoms water. At 4 warped into a little cove where we moored with the small anchor.
Cook managed to get Grenville off the rock and nurse the brig to safety in Anderson’s Cove on the west side of Long Harbour. Temporary repairs were carried out while the inlet was surveyed. They left Long Harbour on the 27th and continued round Belleoram (4 August) and Boxey Harbours (8 August), some of the many inlets of Fortune Bay.
In mid-August, Cook sailed past Segona Island for which he produced sailing directions.
The Island of Sagona, which lies N.N.E. two leagues from the East-end of Brunet, is about 3 miles and a half in circuit, of a moderate height, and bold to all round; at the S.W. end is a small creek that will admit fishing shallops; in the middle of the entrance is a sunken rock, which makes it exceeding narrow, and difficult to get in or out, except in fine weather.
Grenville continued south to examine Brunet Island in the middle of Fortune Bay. Then it was back north to Harbour Breton (17 August) and Connaigre Harbour, before sailing through Pass Island Tickle on 30 August—tickle is the name given on the coast of Newfoundland to a narrow, difficult strait or passage.
Cook crossed Hermitage Bay to anchor in Great Jervis Harbour
31 August. At 1pm anchored in the harbour of Grand Jervis, in the Bay Dispair.
Grenville next entered Bay d’Espoir. In a nice piece of mistranslation, this French name, meaning bay of hope, had somehow been changed to Bay of Despair by the British, giving it quite the opposite meaning! The French name has now been reinstated. They worked their way up the long inlet to anchor on 21 September, at Ship Cove where Cook was able to repair the damage done to the vessel at Long Harbour.
21 September. At 9pm anchored in Ship Cove in 5 fathoms water and moored with the hawser fast on shore.
29 September. At 9am hauled on shore. Employed cleaning the bottom on the larboard side and boottop’d with Tallow. The carpenters employed about the fore foot which was damaged when run on shore in Long Harbour.
The forefoot is a timber curving upwards from the leading end of the keel to the lower end of the stem and forming part of both. Ship Cove is now called St. Alban’s. All repairs were completed and Grenville departed on 9 October.
- See page 24 in this issue.
Originally published in Cook's Log, page 33, volume 38, number 3 (2015).