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10 June, 1770

 

On 10 June, 1770, James Cook wrote “At 10 oClock we hauld off north in order to get without a small low Island which lay about 2 Leagues from the Main... About 3 Leagues to the north westward... is a nother Island tolerable high [Snapper Island] which bore from us at Noon N. 55° west distant 7 or 8 Miles... At 6 oClock... two low woody Islands which we some took to be rocks above water bore N½W. At this time we shortend sail and hauld off shore ENE and NEBE close upon a wind. My intention was to stretch off all night as well to avoid the dangers we saw ahead as to see if any Islands lay in the offing, especialy as we now begun to draw near the Latitude of those discover'd by Quiros which some Geographers, for what reason I know not have thought proper to tack to this land, having the advantage of a fine breeze of wind and a clear moon light night. In standing off from 6 untill near 9 oClock we deepen'd our water from 14 to 21 fathom when all at once we fell into 12, 10 and 8 fathom. At this time I had every body at their stations to put about and come too an anchor but in this I was not so fortunate for meeting again with deep water I thought there could be no danger in standg on. Before 10 oClock we had 20 and 21 fathom and continued in that depth untill a few Minutes before a 11 [PM] when we had 17 and before the Man at the lead could heave another cast the Ship Struck and stuck fast [on Endeavour Reef].  Emmediatly upon this we took in all our sails hoisted out the boats and sounded round the Ship, and found that we had got upon the SE edge of a reef of Coral rocks having in some places round the Ship 3 and 4 fathom water and in other places not quite as many feet, and about a Ships length from us on our Starboard side (the Ship laying with her head to the NE) were 8, 10 and 12 fathom. As soon as the long boat was out we struck yards and Topmts and carried out the stream Anchor upon the starboard bow, got the Casting anchor and cable into the boat and were going to carry it out the same way; but upon my sounding the second time round the Ship I found the most water a stern, and therefore had this anchor carried out upon the Starboard quarter and hove upon it a very great strean which was to no purpose the Ship being quite fast”.

 

Joseph Banks wrote “Early in the morn we weighd and saild as usual with a fine breeze along shore, the Countrey hilly and stoney. At night fall rocks and sholes were seen ahead, on which the ship was put upon a wind off shore. While we were at supper she went over a bank of 7 or 8 fathom water which she came upon very suddenly; this we concluded to be the tail of the Sholes we had seen at sunset and therefore went to bed in perfect security, but scarce were we warm in our beds when we were calld up with the alarming news of the ship being fast ashore upon a rock, which she in a few moments convincd us of by beating very violently against the rocks [Endeavour Reef]. Our situation became now greatly alarming: we had stood off shore 3 hours and a half with a plesant breeze so knew we could not be very near it: we were little less than certain that we were upon sunken coral rocks, the most dreadfull of all others on account of their sharp points and grinding quality which cut through a ships bottom almost immediately. The officers however behavd with inimitable coolness void of all hurry and confusion; a boat was got out in which the master went and after sounding round the ship found that she had ran over a rock and consequently had Shole water all round her. All this time she continued to beat very much so that we could hardly keep our legs upon the Quarter deck; by the light of the moon we could see her sheathing boards &c. floating thick round her; about 12 her false keel came away”.

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