Home > 225 Years Ago: April - June 1773

225 Years Ago: April - June 1773


On 1st April, 1773 James Cook, in the Resolution, was at Dusky Bay, New Zealand, and Tobias Furneaux, in the Adventure, was sailing towards Queen Charlotte Sound, New Zealand to rendezvous with the other ship.

On 2nd, James Burney, second Lieutenant of the Adventure, recorded in his journal: "at 4 in the Morning it being quite dark we Shortend Sail. & at daylight we saw the Land being E.½ N. distant 3 or 4 Leagues - this proved to be Rock's point in New Zealand." Furneaux noted "Mount Egmont bore NNE". On 7th "at 2 pm weighed and stood in for Queen Charlottes Sound, at 5 anchor'd in Ship Cove, with the Best Bower in 10 fams." William Falconer's "Universal Dictionary of the Marine", 1780, explains that the bower anchors were the main ones on the ship, getting their name from their "usual situation on the ship's bows".

Burney "was sent this Evening in the Small Cutter to look round the Cove... found several very convenient Watering places with Excellent Water, & one where we judge Captain Cook Waterd in the Endeavour - the Names of Several of his people being cut in the Trees. but no signs of the Resolution - Caught a great many Fish tonight & Shot some Shelldrakes, Curlieus & other Birds - which we found here in great plenty."

They made their base on the island of Motuara where, according to Burney, "we erected a Tent for the convenience of repairing our Sails, Casks &c & getting the Sick on shore - 5 in number & only one of the scurvy - we have been all very hearty thank God, since we left the Cape [of Good Hope]." William Bayly, the astronomer "went on Shore on a small Island called the Hippa by the Natives which I named Observatory Island, it is a rock whose sides are perpendicular in many places, & indeed the whole was well fortified by nature there being only one landing place".

On 9th "some Canoes came down the Sound - 2 of them a double one & a single one came to the Ship - at about 20 yards distance they stopd Short when one of them Stood up & made a long Speech, every now & then waving a Bough, the rest keeping a profound Silence - after this they vent-ured alongside & came on board. They enquired for Tobia (the man C. Cook brought from Otaheite) - were much concerned at hearing he was dead & seemed to suspect we had put him to death, till we made Signs that the Almighty had killd him - we made them several presents & bought some of their Arms & Cloaths - they began to be very familiar till by chance one of our Gentlemen saw a human head in one of the Canoes - wrapt up in a Hahoo (the name of their cloth) - on our discovering this, they all got out of the ship". On 11th "we cleard a spot of ground for a Garden & Set several kinds of seeds - Sow'd pease & Wheat all which came up to great perfection in a Short time".

Daily Activity on the Adventure

Furneaux recorded the daily activity:

9th AM got down the Top Gallt masts and lowered down the lower Yards.
11th PM employ'd in clearing the Fish Room.
12th AM Employed about the Hold
15th Punished David Lewis [carpenter] for Theft.
16th AM cleared Hawser
19th Carpenters employ'd in Shifting a Plank on the Larboard side, and caulking between decks.


On 26th Furneaux "employed in warping the Ship, at 4 anchored with ye best bower in 11 fathoms, and moored with a Cable and a half to the Southward the Small bower to the Northward, and Coasting Anchor towards the watering Place." His purpose was to moor her there "for the Winter". On 28th he "sent on Shore all our Spars, Sloops masts, Yards, &ca", and, according to Burney, "Shifted our Tent from the Island to the Watering place in the cove, it being nearer the ship & more convenient".

During their stay Bayly made observations of the tide by using "a glass tube of about 7/10 of an inch internal diameter, with an exceeding small aperture at the bottom to admit the water; by which means, the surface of the water in the tube was rendered so steady, as not to alter of 1/10 an inch when the swell of the sea was two feet. This tube was lashed fast to a ten-feet fir-rod, divided into feet, inches, and quarters. The rod was fastened to a strong post, fixed firm and upright in the water".


Sketch of             Dusky Bay
Sketch of Dusky Bay in New Zealand
On 29th March, according to Johann Forster, "we saw no vestige of the Natives being there. Captain Cook laid some beads, ribbons, a looking glass...& then we went up to the head of the bay. We were gone only a few yards, we saw their hut; it was covered with flags & sticks over it, & had a mat before the door, or hole which forms the entrance to it."


The Resolution during April

On 1st April, 1773, James Cook In Dusky Bay recorded "began to cut down Wood for fuel, got our empty casks ashore to fill with Water and to repair such as were in want of repair, set up the Forge to repair our Iron Work and put the Sail-makers to Work upon the Sails all of which were absolutly necessary occupations. Also began to Brew Beer with the leaves & branches of a tree". According to Robert Cooper, first lieutenant, it was "intermixt with the Tea Plant". The tree was the Rimu (Dacrydium cupressinum) and the Tea Plant the Manuka (Leptospermum scoparium).

Richard Pickersgill, third lieutenant on the Resolution, recorded in his journal: "we were employ'd on our various duties refitting the Ship and getting what variety of fresh provisions we could by Parties and shooting, and fishing nor had we any reason to complain for we found store of Ducks and other Birds tho' the difficulty of getting them was great for it rain'd allmost the whole 7 weeks we lay here."

On 2nd, Cook wrote "A very pleasant Morning, Lieutts Clerk and Edgcomb and the two Mr Forsters went in a small Boat to the Indian Cove [Cascade Cove] to search for the productions of Nature while myself with Lieutt Pickersgill & Mr Hodges went in the Pinnace to view the North West part of the Bay, in our Way we touched at the Seal rock where we killed three Seals one of which afforded us much sport." Meantime, the others, according to Johann Forster had shot "two new Kingfishers, some new yellow headed Flycatchers, a fine large green & brown Pigeon with a white belly, vemillion bill & feet, a small Perrokeet, green with a red forehead & blueish wings & yellow Iris". The following day "we dined in the woods & broiled some fish & lived nearly à l'Indienne, only with that difference that we had Salt & Pepper to it, & some brandy & wine, to our meal". By the 5th Forster was able to record "we had now drawn 19 birds, 3 fish, 1 Seal & 5 plants & we had described 19 birds, three fish 1 Seal & 6 plants". Life was not easy, as the following day he wrote "my hands are now so much swelled from the Stings of the Sandfly, that I can hardly hold the pen, & have great pain in them, & can pull my Jacket with difficulty off."

On 6th "about half an hour past ten, Capt Cook went out a surveying & I went with my Son & Mr Hodges the painter accompanied him; we went about 2 Leagues, when we entered a spacious long Cove with fine fish, & plenty of fresh-water brooks, one of which at the entrance in a small cove at the left hand formed a most beautiful Cascade." Cook noted "the Shores are so steep that a ship may lie near enough to convey ye Water into her with a hose. In this Cove we shott fourteen Ducks which occasioned my naming it Duck Cove".

The following day they came across a man and two women "on the NE point of Indian Island, named so on this occasion... the man seemed rather afraid when we approached the Rock with our Boat, he however stood firm. I threw him a shore two handkerchiefs but he did not descend the Rock to take them up. At length I landed went up and imbraced him and presented him with such articles as I had about me which disapated his fears and presently after we were joined by the two Women, the Gentlemen that were with me and some of the Seamen and we spent half an hour in chitchat which was little understood on either side". The following day "I went again to the Indians and carried with me various articles which I presented them with, most of which they received with a great deal of indifferency, except hatchets and spike nails... They conducted us to their habitation which was but a little within the skirts of the Woods and were two low wretched huts made of the bark of trees... During our stay with them Mr Hodges made drawens of them which occasioned them to give him the name of Toetoe". Presumably, from the Maori word Tuhituhi, to paint or draw.

It rained all day on the 10th, but the next "Morning was clear and Serene which afforded an oppertunity for us to dry our linnnen a thing very much wanting, not having had fair weather enough for that purpose sence we put into this Bay. Mr Forster and his party profited by the day in Botanizing." Forster remarked "had we been here in another Season, we must have found vast numbers of new plants; but they were all now gone; the flowers & seeds withered & fallen off... my Cabin was a Magazine of all the various kinds of plants, fish, birds, Shell, Seeds etc. hitherto collected: which made it vastly damp, dirty, crammed, & caused very noxious vapours, & an offensive smell".

The next day, Cook "took Mr Hodges to a large Cascade which falls down a high mountain on the South side of the Bay... He took a drawing of it on Paper and afterwards painted it in oyle Colours which exhibits at one view a better discription of it than I can give".

On 15th, according to Forster, "it rained all day along: my Son drew & I wrote & finished some Descriptions. The next morning was a promising fine day. Capt Cook therefore went out surveying, & obliged some of the Officers of the Ship with a Duck-shooting party."

On 18th Forster "went out up the river of our watering-place. After having walked about half a mile in the forest, over hills & dales, wet moss, rotten trees & thickets, I came to a fine fresh-water lake encircled by high hills", now called Lake Forster after him.

The next day the Maori family came aboard the ship. Pickersgill wrote "the Girl had not been long on board before she fixt her affections on one of our Gentlemen [William Hodges] who she impor-tuned very much, this caused some good diversion in the ship as this Gentleman was remarkable for his delicacy in useing washes and perfumes and the Lady to shew her prodegious regard for him took an oportunity to squease a quantity of stinking seal oil over by way of the greatest compliment she could pay him."

On 20th Cook was out surveying when he saw some other Maoris. "I endeavoured to have an interview with [them], but this I could not effect". John Elliott, midshipman in the Resolution, later wrote "no man could be better calculated to gain the confidence of Savages than Capt. Cook. He was brave, uncommonly Cool, Humane, and Patient. He would land alone unarmed, or lay aside his Arms, and sit down when they threatened with theirs, throwing them Beads, Knives, and other little presents, then by degrees advancing nearer, till by patience and forebearance, he gained their friendship and an intercourse with them, which to people in our situation was of the utmost consequence."

The next day, wrote Forster, "several plants had been discovered by Mr Sparrman, which were drawn & described the next day". On 23rd "some of our Officers went to the Indian Cove, in order to mount one of the high hills there. Mr Sparrman went with them: & I would have gone had I not been weakened by a flux caused by the carelessness & sloveliness of our cook who dressed our victuals in a pan, which was full of verdigrees". Cook "having five Geese left of those we brought from the Cape of Good Hope I went... to Goose Cove (named so on this account) where I left them."

By 26th Forster was pleased to report "we had now about 70 drawings ready; i.e. the sketches of birds & fishes & the outlines of the plants only: so that they might be finished at any time of leasure. We had finished our wooding & watering; the Astronomer had gotten Observations for to determine the Longitude & Lat. of the place & some equal Altitudes to determine the rate of going in the watches. Our Crew was healthy & refreshed; the Capt. therefore ordered the Ship to be removed out of the small Cove into the broader one". The next day, according to Cooper "the Armourers [were] employ'd making Irons to guard the Carv'd work on the Quarters". During the stay, William Wales, the astronomer, made observations of the tide "by the help of a wooden tube, about 12 feet long and three inches square, which was placed upright in the water, and fixed firm to a large tree that hung over it. The tube had a small aperture at the bottom, whereby the water was admitted, so that the swell of the sea had little effect on the water in the tube; and the distance of the water from the mark on the top of the tube, was measured by a slender rod, divided into feet and inches, from the bottom upwards."

On 30th April, Cook "weighed and with a light breeze at SW stood up the Bay for the new passage" to the east of Resolution Island.

The Adventure in Ship Cove during May

According to Burney "All our occurrences for the first half of this Month is but a repetition of the Old Story - the Zealanders now & then came down the Sound, Staid 2 or 3 days and went back again - we have not had more than 3 Canoes with us at a time since the first week of our coming here".

On 10th "at ¼ past 5 this afternoon we felt 2 Slight shocks of an Earthquake". Five days later First Lieutenant, Arthur Kempe, wrote "we now begin to dispair of seeing the Resolution wheat we expected before this time to have join'd us here".

However, on 18th "at Sunrise," wrote Burney, "we were alarmed by 2 Musquetoons being fired at the Astronomers Tent on the Hippa - which we soon found to our great joy & satisfaction, was meant as a signal for the Resolution who was then coming in round Point Jackson."

The Resolution during May

On 1st May, the Resolution "attemptd to work to windward haveing a light breeze" to leave Dusky Sound. On 9th, Forster wrote, "it rained all after-noon & Evening, & I am sorry for the Capt who in this bad weather ventured out with an ill health, & a bad foot, which might throw him in a disease & make all on board unhappy, for the very thought, that the first Lieut [Robert Cooper] should then command the Ship if the Capt should die, is enough to frighten every living Soul". It was not until the 11th that Cook was able to get "under sail with a light breeze at SE". The next day he "directed my Course along shore for Queen Charlottes Sound... At 4 in the PM Doubtfull Har-bour bore ESE". The next day he added "Course made good this 24 hours NEBN diste 120 miles." Later he wrote "in this passage we met with nothing remarkable or worthy of note till Monday the 17th at 4 oClock in the afternoon being then about 3 Leagues to the Westward of Cape Stephens, having a gentle gale at West by South and clear weather. The Wind at once flattned to a Calm and the Sky became sudanly obscured by dark dense clouds which occasioned us to clew up all our sails and presently after Six Water Spouts were seen; four rose and spent themselves between us and the land".

"One, I was told", wrote Wales, "came within 30 or 40 yards of the Ship; but I was then below; when I got on deck it was about 100 fathoms from her. I am perswaded that if it had gone over her it would have torn away her sails & yards; perhaps her Masts and standing Rigging also". Cook added, "the most rationale account I have read of Water spouts is in Mr Falconer's Marine Dictionary [first published in 1769] which is chiefly collected from the Philosophical Writings of the ingenious Dr Franklin".

The next day "at Daylight in the Morn we were the length of Point Jackson at the entrance of Queen Charlottes Sound and soon after we discovered the Adventure in Ship Cove by the Signals she made... At Noon the Adventure's Boat came on board with Lieutt Kemp and brought us a dish of fish and some Salleting."

The Resolution and Adventure together again

On 19th May Cook recorded his thoughts for the future. "I have some were in this Journal mentioned a desire I had of Viseting Vandeimens land in order to inform my self whether or no it made a part of New Holland, but sence Captain Furneaux hath in a great degree cleared up this point I have given up all thoughts of going thither, but that I might not Idle away the whole Winter in Port I proposed to Captain Furneaux to spend that time in exploring the unknown parts of the Sea to the East and North, acquainting him at the same time with the rout I intended to take and the time I meant to spend in this cruze. To this propossition he readily agreed; and in consequence thereof I disired him to get his Sloop ready for sea as possible for at this time she was striped."

Forster was pleased to be able to land the next day. "I collected several plants, some of which were new ones. Next day my Son began to draw &

Mr Sparman to describe the plants." On 22nd "we saw a new plant, very minute & prostrated, which proved to be a Species of a new Genus we had called Banksia, in honour of Joseph Banks Esqr, who on board the Endeavour was the first Naturalist, that ever searched the South-Seas & especially New-Zeeland, & enriched Natural History with more than 800 new plants & 200 or 300 new Animals: an Addition which never one single Man made to this branch of Learning."

The crew were also collecting plants, though under the orders of Cook. "During the time we lay here", wrote Pickersgill, "we got on Board a quantity of Wild Celery and Scurvey grass every day, which with the fish was a feast... What makes me mention this was the Adventure, haveing been here such a time, had never paid the least attention nor had any body any thought about it, and what I believe might contribute to their next unhealthy passage."

Not all plants were good. On 23rd Cook wrote "last Night the Ewe and Ram I had with so much care and trouble brought to this place, died, we did suppose that they were poisoned by eating of some poisonous plant, thus all my fine hopes of stocking this Country with a breed of Sheep were blasted in a moment. Towards noon we were visited for the first time by some of the Natives, they stayed and dined with us and it was not a little they devoured, they were dismiss'd in the evening Loaded with presents."

On 29th "several of the Natives came along side and brought with them some fish which they exchanged for Nails &ca. After Breakfast I took one of them over to Motuara and shew'd him the Potatoes planted there by Mr Fannen the Master of the Adventure which he had brought from the Cape of Good Hope, there seems to be no doubt of their succeeding as they were in a very thriving state, the man was so pleased with them that he immidiately began to hough [hoe] the earth about the plants". Two days later, Cook "was employ'd in clearing and diging up ground on Motuara and planting it with Wheat, Pease and other Pulse Carrots Parsnips and Straw berries."

On 30th, according to Forster, "we had Capt Furneaux, Mr Bailey & Mr Fanning from on board the Adventure to dinner. Mr Hodge had drawn some heads of the old Indians in red chalk which were pretty like." On 2nd June "a good many Indians came early on board... These Indians became soon familiar with us; some of them were drawn by Mr Hodges, especially one, whose Face was finely punctured in spirals, in a very regular way". The next day Cook "sent the Carpenter over to the East side of the Sound to Cut spars, the Boat was chased by some of the natives in a large Canoe but with what intent is not known."

King George III's Birthday

The 4th "being His Majestys Birthday", wrote Burney, "the Officers of both Ships were invited to dine with the Commodore & we had a very jovial Afternoon." Forster noted "we hoisted St Georges colours, the pendant & Jack", and added "the Marines on board of our Ship fired in honour of his Majestie's birthday, & we had 17 people at our table from both Ships, & celebrated the day with great Mirth & cordiality. Some time after 12 at night, when the people in London expect to hear the firing of the Guns at the Tower, we broke up & went to bed." Cook ensured the crew also celebrated: "double allowance enabled the Seamen to share in the general joy."

On 7th "at 4 o'Clock in the morning the Wind coming more favourable we unmoor'd and at 7 wieghed and put to Sea with the Adventure in company". According to Forster "we cleared in a few hours the Sound & entered the Straights, but as the breeze was fresh & against us we were obliged to tack, but gained very little ground."

The next day Cook, as usual, "attended the Winding up of the Watches [on the Resolution but] the fusee of Mr Arnolds would not turn round and after several unsuccessfull tryals we were obliged to let it go down, this is the second of this gentlemans Watches that hath fail'd, one of those on board the Adventure stop'd at the Cape of Good Hope and hath not gone sence." At about this date Forster described Bayly, the Adventure's astrono-mer as "a Man of an agreable, friendly Character, good parts, & an excellent mechanical genius, & of great learning in his profession".

The next day Cook "betwen 8 and 12 exercized the people at great guns & Sml Arms." On 10th "at Noon we were in the Latitude of 43°55' S. Longitude 179°50' East... As we shall presently pass the Meridian of 180° after which I shall count my Longitude West of Greenwich, that it may be more consonant to the situations or Longitude of places mentioned in my former Voyage on which I counted my Longitude west". On 10th Forster wrote "we had taken from the Cape a black Dog with us; it had been killed two days ago & the Gentlemen in the Gunroom had feasted upon it the day before; we had this day at dinner a Leg roasted with Garlick, & I found it very well tasted & very much like mutton." The next evening "we had hazy weather, with a fog & drizzling rain & lost sight of the Adventure; we fired a small gun & a swivel, which were not answered, but the fourpounder we fired soon after was answered."

On 17th, wrote Wales, "a very hollow sea caused the Ship to labour much, and a sudden jerk of the Tiller carried the man at the wheel clear over it. Luckily the Officer of the watch caught it, replaced him, & put a man on the Lee side to assist him. They had been there scarce 10' before another Jerk carried the man on the weather side over again."

On 23rd Cook "hoisted out a boat for Mr Wales to go a board the Adventure to compair the Watches which he found to agree". Forster recorded that "Capt Furneaux dined with us. We found that our Friends on board the Adventure were all well. Capt Furneaux informed Capt Cook however of a circumstance which caused us great uneasiness. One of the Mates on board the Adventure had, as all young Men, been familiar with one of the New-Zeeland Females, & to his great astonishment found, when he was out at Sea, that he had been infected by her with a disease, which is propagated only by the Connexions with the other Sex."

On 26th Bayly noted "we have very little to Amuse us but Reading". Forster wrote "At this present time, it is a year, that I left London & my Family, & set out for Plymouth in a Post-chaise. My wishes are, that the rest of our voyage may be attended with as much good Luck & without any sinister Accidents as the elapsed Year, & that I may be happy enough to return to my Family, with the rich Spoils of Nature in these Seas, to the contentement of the Great Monarch & those under him, who employ me; & that I may be able to pass the rest of my Life in peace & retirement among my worthy Friends & my Family."

On 30th June, 225 years ago the Resolution and Adventure were sailing east in the South Pacific Ocean looking for the fabled southern continent.

Originally published in Cook's Log, page 1511, volume 21, number 2 (1998).

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