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15 May, 1770

 

On 15 May, 1770, James Cook wrote “we made all the sail we could having the advantage of a fresh gale and fine weather. At 9 oClock being about a League from the land we saw upon it People and smook in several places... A tolerable high point of land bore NWBW distant 3 Miles --- this point I named Cape Byron... we steerd North along shore untill sun-set at which time we discoverd breakers ahead and on our larboard [port] bow, being at this time in 20 fathom water and about 5 Miles from the land. Hauld off east untill 8 oClock at which time we had run 8 Miles and had increased our depth of water to 44 fathoms. We than brought too with her head to the Eastward and lay on this tack untill 10 o'Clock when having increased our soundings to 78 fathoms we wore and lay with her head in shore”.

 

Joseph Banks wrote “Wind continued fair, a brisk breeze. The land in the Morning was high but before noon it became lower and was in general well wooded. Some people were seen, about 20, each of which carried upon his back a large bundle of something which we conjecturd to be palm leaves for covering their houses; we observd them with glasses for near an hour during which time they walkd upon the beach and then up a path over a gently sloping hill, behind which we lost sight of them. Not one was once observd to stop and look towards the ship; they pursued their way in all appearance intirely unmovd by the neighbourhood of so remarkable an object as a ship must necessarily be to people who have never seen one. The Thermometer was at 60 which rather pinchd us. In the evening two small turtle were seen. At sun set a remarkable peakd hill [Mount Warning] was in sight 5 or 6 Leagues of in the countrey, which about it was well wooded and lookd beautifull as well as fertile. We were fortunate enough just at this time to descry breakers ahead laying in the very direction in which the ship saild; on this we went upon a wind and after making a sufficient offing brought too, but it blowing rather fresh and a great sea running made the night rather uncomfortable.

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