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25 August, 1770


On 25 August, 1770, James Cook wrote “we Sweep'd it again [i.e. Best bower anchor] and hove it up to the bows, and by 8 oClock weigh'd the other Anchor, got under sail and stood away NW having a fresh breeze at ENE... at half past one o'Clock having run 11 Miles sence noon the boat which was ahead made the signal for shoal water, immidiatly upon which we let go an Anchor and brought the Ship up with the sails standing as the boat was but a little way [from the ship] having but just releived the crew, and at the same time we saw from the Ship shoal water in a manner all round us and both wind and Tide seting upon it. We lay in 6 fathom with the Ship but upon sounding about the Ship we her found hardly 2 fathom water a very rocky bottom not much above half a Cables length from us from the East round by the North and West as far as SW, so that there was no way to get clear but the way we came. This was one of the many fortunate escapes we have had from Ship wreck for it was near high-water and there run on he a short cockling sea that would soon have bulged the Ship had she struck, these shoals that lay a fathom or 2 fathm under water are the most dangerous of any, for they do not shew themselves untill you are close upon them and than the water upon them looks brown like ye refection [reflection] of dark Clowds. Between 3 and 4 oClock the Ebb began to make when I sent the Master to sound to the Southward... in the Mean time as the Ship tended [swung with the tide] hove up the anchor and with a little sail stood to the southward, and afterwards edged away to the westward and got once more out of danger where at sun set we anchord in a 10 fm water”.


Joseph Banks wrote “This morn by the first sweep the anchor was recoverd and we soon got under sail and lost sight of land with only 9 fathm water. At dinner met shoals which made us anchor again; in the eve however found a passage out and saild clear enough of them”.

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