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24 June, 1770

 

On 24 June, 1770, James Cook wrote “In the AM they went to work upon repairing the sheathing under the larboard bow where we found two planks cut about half thro'. Early in the morning I sent a party of men into the Country under the direction of Mr Gore to seek for refreshments, they returnd about noon with a few Palm Cabbages and a Bunch or two of wild Plantains; these last were much smaller than any I had ever seen and the Pulp full of small stones otherwise they were well taisted. I saw my self this morning a little way from the ship one of the Animals before spoke off, it was of a light Mouse colour and the full size of a grey hound and shaped in every respect like one, with a long tail which it carried like a grey hound, in short I should have taken it for a wild dog, but for its walking or runing in which it jump'd like a Hare or a dear. Another of them was seen to day by some of our people who saw the first, they describe them as having very small legs and the print of the foot like that of a goat, but this I could not see my self because the ground the one I saw was upon was too hard and the length of the grass hinderd my seeing its legs... At low-water in the PM while the Carpenters were busey in repairing the sheathing and plank under the larboard bow I got people to go under the ships bottom to examine all her larboard side, she only being dry forward but abaft were 9 feet water. They found part of the sheathing off abreast of the Main mast about her floor heads and a part of one plank a little damaged. There were three people who went down who all agree'd in the same story, the master was one who was positive that she had received no material damage besides the loss of the sheathing. This alone will be sufficient to let the worm into her bottom which may prove of bad concequence; however, we must run all resk for I know of no method to remedy this but by heaving her down which would be a work of emince labour & time, if not impractical in our present situation.

The Carpenters continued hard at work under her bottom untill put off by the tide in the eveng, and the morning tide did not ebb out far enough to permit them to work, for here we have only one tolerable low and high tide in 24 hours”.

 

Joseph Banks wrote “Gathering plants and hearing descriptions of the animal which is now seen by every body. A seaman who had been out in the woods brought home the description of an animal he had seen composd in so Seamanlike a stile that I cannot help mentioning it: it was (says he) about as large and much like a one gallon cagg, as black as the Devil and had 2 horns on its head, it went but Slowly but I dard not touch it”.

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