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11 August, 1770


On 11 August, 1770, James Cook wrote “in the morning I set out in the Pinnace for the northermost and largest of the three [islands] accompaned by Mr Banks, at the same time I sent the Master in the Yawl to lee-ward to sound between the low Islands and the Main. In my way to the Island I pass'd over a large Reef of Coral Rocks and sand which lies about two Leagues from the Island. I left a nother to lee ward which lays about 3 Miles from the Island; on the North part of this is a low sandy Isle with trees upon it. On the reef we pas'd over in the boat we saw several turtle and chased one or two but caught none it blowing too hard and I had not time to spare being otherways employ'd. I did not reach the Island [Lizard Island] untill half an hour after one oClock in the PM... when I immidiatly went upon the highest hill on the Island where to my mortification I discoverd a reef of Rocks laying about 2 or 3 Leagues without the Island, extending in a line NW and SE farther than I could see on which the Sea broke very high. This however gave me great hopes that they were the outermost shoals, as I did not doubt but what I should be able to get without them for there appear'd to be several breaks or Partitions in the reef and deep water between it and the Islands. I stay'd upon this hill untill near sun set but the weather continued so hazy all the time that I could not see above 4 or 5 Leagues round me so that I came down much disapointed in the prospect I expected to have had, but being in hopes the morning might prove clearer and give me a better View of the Shoals. With this view I stay'd all night upon the Island”.


Joseph Banks wrote “As propos’d yesterday the Captn went today to the Island [Lizard Island] which provd 5 leagues off from the ship, I went with him. In going out we passd over 2 very large shoals on which we saw great plenty of Turtle but we had too much wind to strike any. The Island itself was high; we ascended the hill and when we were at the top saw plainly the Grand Reef still extending itself Paralel with the shore at about the distance of 3 leagues from us or 8 from the main; through it were several channels exactly similar to those we had seen in the Islands. Through one of these we determind to [go] which seemd most easy: to ascertain however the Practicability of it We resolvd to stay upon the Island all night and at day break in the morn send the boat to sound one of them, which was accordingly done. We slept under the shade of a Bush that grew on the Beach very comfortably”.

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