Thursday, 2nd November, 1769

Thursday, 2nd. Gentle breezes from North-West round Northerly to East-South-East and fair weather. At 2 p.m. saw a pretty high Island bearing West from us, and at 5 saw more Islands and Rocks to the Westward of it. Hauld our wind in order to go without them, but, finding that we could not weather them before dark, bore up, and run between them and the Main. At 7 was close under the first Island, from whence a large double Canoe full of People came off to us. This was the first double Canoe we had seen in this Country. They staid about the Ship until it was dark, then left us; but not before they had thrown a few stones. They told us the name of the Island, which was Mowtohora. It is but of a small Circuit, but high, and lies 6 Miles from the Main. Under the South side is Anchorage in 14 fathoms. South-West by South from this Island on the Main land, seemingly at no great distance from the Sea, is a high round Mountain, which I have named Mount Edgcombe. It stands in the middle of a large Plain, which make it the more Conspicuous. Latitude 37 degrees 59 minutes South, Longitude 183 degrees 07 minutes West. In standing to the Westward we Shoalded our Water from 17 to 10 fathoms, and knowing that we were not far from some Small Islands and Rocks that we had seen before dark, after Passing of which I intended to have brought too for the night, but I now thought it more prudent to tack, and spend the Night under the Island of Mowtohora, where I knew there was no danger. And it was well we did, for in the morning, after we had made Sail to the Westward, we discovered Rocks ahead of us Level with and under the Water. They lay 1 1/2 Leagues from the Island Mowtohora, and about 9 Miles from the Main, and North-North-East from Mount Edgecumbe. We passed between these Rocks and the Main, having from 7 to 10 fathoms. The double Canoe which we saw last night follow’d us to-day under Sail, and keept abreast of the Ship near an hour talking to Tupia, but at last they began to pelt us with stones. But upon firing one Musquet they dropt astern and left us. At 1/2 past 10 Passed between a low flat Island and the Main, the distance from one to the other being 4 Miles; depth of Water 10, 12, and 15 fathoms. At Noon the flat Island bore from North-East to East 1/2 North, distance 5 or 6 Miles; Latitude in per Observation 37 degrees 39 minutes South, Longitude 183 degrees 30 minutes West. The Main land between this and the Island of Mowtohara, which is 10 Leagues, is of a moderate height, and all a level, flat Country, pretty clear of wood and full of Plantations and Villiages. These Villiages are built upon Eminences Near the Sea, and are Fortified on the land side with a Bank and a Ditch, and Pallisaded all round. Besides this, some of them appear’d to have out-works. We have before now observed, on several parts of the Coast, small Villiages inclosed with Pallisades and works of this kind built on Eminences and Ridges of hills, but Tupia had all along told us that they were Mories, or places of worship; but I rather think they are places of retreat or strong hold where they defend themselves against the Attack of an Enemy, as some of them seem’d not ill design’d for that Purpose.


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