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6 August, 1770

 

On 6 August, 1770, James Cook wrote “In the morning we had a strong gale from the SE, that instead of weighing as we intended we were obliged to bear away more Cable [pay out more cable] and to strike topgallant yards... At Low-water in the PM I and several of the officers kept a look out at the Mast head to see for a passage between the Shoals, but we could see nothing but breakers all the way from the South round by the East as far as NW, extending out to sea as far as we could see, it did not appear to be one continued shoal but several laying detach'd from each other, on the Eastermost that we could see the Sea broke very high which made me judge it to be the outermost, for on many of those within, the sea did not break high attall, and from about half flood to half Ebb they are not to be seen, which makes the Sailing among them the more dangerous and requires great care & circumspection, for like all other shoals or reefs of Coral Rocks they are quite steep too; altho the most of these shoals consist of Coral Rocks yet a part of some of them is sand... After having well View'd our situation from the mast head and I saw that we were surrounded on every side with Shoals and no such thing as a passage to Sea but through the winding channels between them, dangerous to the highest degree in so much that I was quite at a loss which way to steer when the weather would permit us to get under sail; for to beat back to the SE the way we came as the Master would have had me done would be an endless peice of work, as the winds blow now constantly strong from that quarter without hardly any intermission—on the other hand if we do not find a passage to the northd we shall have to come [back]”.

 

Joseph Banks wrote “Blew so fresh that we could not move but lay still all day, not without anxiety least the anchor should not hold”.

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