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7 July, 1770

 

On 7 July, 1770, James Cook wrote “Employ'd geting on board Coals ballast, &ca and caulking the Ship, a work that could not be done while she lay aground. The Armourer and his mate are still at work at the forge making and repairing sundry articles in the Iron way”.

 

Joseph Banks wrote “we set out in search of Game. We walkd many miles over the flats and saw 4 of the animals, 2 of which my greyhound fairly chas’d, but they beat him owing to the lengh and thickness of the grass which prevented him from running while they at every bound leapd over the tops of it. We observd much to our surprize that instead of Going upon all fours this animal went only upon two legs, making vast bounds just as the Jerbua (Mus Jaculus) does. We returnd about noon and pursued our course up the river, which soon contracted itself into a fresh water brook where however the tide rose pretty considerably; towards evening it was so shallow being almost low water that we were obligd to get out of the boat and drag her, so finding a convenient place for sleeping in we resolvd to go no farther. Before our things were got up out of the boat we observd a smoak about a furlong from us: we did not doubt at all that the natives, who we had so long had a curiosity to see well, were there so three of us went immediately towards it hoping that the smallness of our numbers would induce them not to be afraid of us; when we came to the place however they were gone, probably upon having discoverd us before we saw them. The fire was in an old tree of touchwood; their houses were there, and branches of trees broken down with which the Children had been playing not yet wither’d; their footsteps also upon the sand below the high tide mark provd that they had very lately been there; near their oven, in which victuals had been dressd since morn, were shells of a kind of Clam and roots of a wild Yam which had been cookd in it. Thus were we disapointed of the only good chance we have had of seing the people since we came here by their unacountable timidity, and Night soon coming on we repaird to our quarters, which was upon a broad sand bank under the shade of a Bush where we hopd the Musquetos would not trouble us. Our beds of plantain leaves spread on the sand as soft as a mattrass, our Cloaks for bedcloths and grass pillows, but above all the intire absence of Musquetos made me and I beleive all of us sleep almost without intermission; had the Indians came they would certainly have caught us all Napping but that was the least in our thoughts.

The land about this place was not so fertile as lower down, the hills rose almost immediately from the river and were barren, stony and sandey much like those near the ship. The river near us abounded much in fish who at sun set leapd about in the water much as trouts do in Europe but we had no kind of tackle to take them with”.

Jerboa, Dipus sagitta.

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