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17 February, 1770


On 17 February, 1770, James Cook wrote “At sun rise, being very clear, we plainly discoverd that the last mentioned land was an Island... This Island which I have named after Mr Banks lies about 5 Leagues from the Coast... Yesterday Lieutenant Gore having the morning watch at the time we first saw this Island, thought he saw land bearing SSE and SEBE but I who was upon deck at the same time was very certain that it was only Clowds which dissipated as the Sun rose, but neither this nor the runing 14 Leagues to the South, nor the seeing no land to the Eastward of us in the Evening, could satisfy Mr Gore but what he saw in the morning was land or might be land altho there was hardly a possibillity of its being so because we must have been more than double the distance from it yester morning at that time to what we was were either last night or this morning at both of which times the weather was exceeding clear and yet we could see no land either to the Eastward or Southward of us. Notwithstanding all this Mr Gore was of the same opinion this morning; Upon this I order'd the Ship to be wore and to be steer'd ESE by Compass on the other Tack, the point on which he said the land bore at this time from us... untill 7 oClock at which time we had run 28 Miles sence noon, but seeing no land but that we had left, or signs of any, we bore away SBW”.

The island was not an island but what is now called Banks Peninsula.


Joseph Banks wrote “This morn we were close onboard of the land which made in ridges not unlike the South Sea Islands (between the tropicks); the tops of these were bare but in the Valleys was plenty of wood. On the SE part was an opening which had all possible appearance of an excellent harbour [Akaroa on the Banks Peninsula]; near this on the top of a hill we saw two people setting. Mr Gore notwi[th]standing Yesterdays run was of opinion that what he saw yesterday morning might be land, so he declard on the Quarter deck: on which the Captn who resolvd that nobody should say he had left land behind unsought for orderd the ship to be steerd SE”.

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