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29 May, 1770

 

On 29 May, 1770, James Cook wrote “At 5 oClock in the AM I sent away the Master with two boats to sound the entrance of an inlet which bore from us west distant about one League [later named Thirsty Sound] into which I intended to go with the Ship to wait a few days untill the Moon increased and in the meantime to examine the Country. By such time as we had got the Ship under Sail the boats made the signal for Anchor[a]ge upon which we stood in with the Ship and Anchord in 5 fathom water about a League within the entrance of the inlet, which we judged to be a River runing a good way in land. As I observed the tides to flow and Ebb something considerable I had some thoughts of laying the Ship a shore to clean her bottom. With this View both the Master and I went to look for a convinient place for that purpose and at the same time to look for fresh water, not one drop of which we could find but met with several places where a Ship might be laid a shore with safety... In the PM I went again in search of fresh water but had no better success than before wherefore I gave over all thoughts of laying the Ship a shore being resolved on spending as little time as possible in a place that was likely to afford us no sort of refreshment, but as I had observed from the hills the Inlet to run a good way in land I thought this a good time to penetrate into the Country to see a little of the inland parts. Accordingly I prepar'd for makeing that excursion in the morning”.

 

Joseph Banks wrote “Early this morn we got up our anchor and stood in for an opening in which by nine O’Clock we came to an anchor. We saw in coming in no signs of People. After breakfast we went ashore and found several Plants which we had not before seen; among them were however still more East Indian plants than in the last harbour. One kind of Grass which we had also seen there was very troublesome to us: its sharp seeds were bearded backwards and whenever they stuck into our cloths were by these beards pushd forward till they got into the flesh [probably a Sand burr]: this grass was so plentifull that it was hardly possible to avoid it and with the Musketos that were likewise innumerable made walking almost intolerable. We were not however to be repulsd but proceeded into the countrey. The gum trees were like those in the last bay both in leaf and producing a very small proportion of Gum; on the branches of them and other trees were large ants nests made of Clay as big as a bushel... In another species of tree Xanthoxiloides mite [Hard Aspen, Acronychia laevis], a small sort of black ants had bord all the twigs and livd in quantities in the hollow part where the pith should be, the tree nevertheless flourishing, bearing leaves and flowers upon those very branches as freely and well as upon others that were sound. Insects in general were plentifull, Butterflies especialy: of one sort of these much like P. Similis Linn. [Tirumala hamata hamata.  See Journal of Natural History, 2018, 52(11-12), pp. 687-712] the air was for the space of 3 or 4 acres crowded with them to a wonderfull degree: the eye could not be turnd in any direction without seeing milions and yet every branch and twig was almost coverd with those that sat still: of these we took as many as we chose, knocking them down with our caps or any thing that came to hand. On the leaves of the gum tree we found a Pupa or Chrysalis which shone almost all over as bright as if it had been silverd over with the most burnishd silver and perfectly resembled silver; it was brought on board and the next day came out into a butterfly of a velvet black changeable to blue, his wings both upper and under markd near the edges with many light brimstone colourd spots, those of his under wings being indented deeply at each end [Double-branded crow butterfly, Euploea sylvester]. We saw no fresh water but several swamps of salt overgrown with mangroves; in these we found some species of shells, Among them the Trochus perspectivus Linn [Clear or perspective sundial shell, Architectonica perspectiva]”.

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