Capt James Cook

Hello, having visited and tramped in places where Cook landed in NZ, have often wondered if there is evidence in his journals that supports the idea that he found the scenery beautiful in places such as Dusky Sound. Or did he see them as wild and the antithesis of the English country side? Cheers Phil
Here is a copy of the Endeavour Journal: Pretty much all his Journals from the three voyages available for download or reading online here: Some extracts here at the Captain Cook Society: I don't recall Cook doing much in the way of waxing lyrical about the beauties of the scenery in wild places like Tierra del Fuego, Fiordland, Nootka Island and the likes. Perhaps more in Joseph Banks' [Endeavour Journal]( His description of the bellbird chorus in Queen Charlotte Sound springs to mind: >This morn I was awakd by the singing of the birds ashore from whence we are distant not a quarter of a mile, the numbers of them were certainly very great who seemd to strain their throats with emulation perhaps; their voices were certainly the most melodious wild musick I have ever heard, almost imitating small bells but with the most tuneable silver sound imaginable to which maybe the distance was no small addition. On enquiring of our people I was told that they had observd them ever since we have been here, and that they begin to sing at about 1 or 2 in the morn and continue till sunrise, after which they are silent all day like our nightingales. This link takes you directly to [Captain Cook's journal as he arrives in Dusky Bay]( >The country is exceedingly mountainous; not only about Dusky Bay, but through all the southern part of this western coast of Tavia Poenammoo. A prospect more rude and craggy is rarely to be met with; for inland appears nothing but the summits of mountains of a stupendous height, and consisting of rocks that are totally barren and naked, except where they are covered with snow. But the land bordering on the sea coast, and all the islands, are thickly clothed with wood, almost down to the water’s edge. Some things haven't changed: >The most mischievous animals here, are the small black sand flies, which are very numerous, and so troublesome, that they exceed every thing of the kind I ever met with; wherever they bite they cause a swelling, and such an intolerable itching, that it is not possible to refrain from scratching, which at last brings on ulcers like the small-pox. >The almost continual rains may be reckoned another evil attending this bay; though, perhaps, this may only happen at this season of the year. Nevertheless, the situation of the country, the vast height, and nearness of the mountains, seem to subject it to much rain at all times It’s interesting to try to understand how people back then thought and what motivated them. Perhaps much of our appreciation of these places being beautiful because they are wild is because of the contrast to our easy lives now. I think going into the wilds for recreation only became a thing once the industrial revolution was underway and has always been a thing for the comfortably well off. But, there must have been an extraordinary urge to go off and explore. Would you sign up for such a venture with a 30 - 80% chance of not coming back? I guess you had a pretty high chance of dying young even if you stayed within sight of the village church your whole life, but the odds of not making it back from any given expedition must have been pretty clear to people signing up.
Thanks for the Cook links Ian, much appreciated. Phil
It's extraordinary how accurate their navigation was. >Mr. Wales. He found, by a great variety of observations, that the latitude of his observatory at Pickersgill Harbour, was 45° 47ʹ 26 1/2ʺ south; and by the mean of several distances of the moon from the sun, that its longitude was 166° 18ʹ east. That latitude he gives for [Astronomers Point](,166.57&z=14&pin=1&lbl=45%C2%B047%E2%80%B227%E2%80%B3S%20166%C2%B034%E2%80%B212%E2%80%B3E) is accurate to within a few hundred metres. The longitude give above is out by about 16' or 11 nautical miles, which is also extraordinary accurate for lunar distance observations. Edited to add: If [this]( position is correct for where they set up the observatory on Astronomers Point, then his latitude is out by about 400 m. Anyone been there?
He made a couple of errors in his maps. Banks Island (peninsular) and Stewarts peninsular (island) re "I guess you had a pretty high chance of dying young even if you stayed within sight of the village church your whole life, but the odds of not making it back from any given expedition must have been pretty clear to people signing up." In those days volunteering to go to see was often encouraged with a baseball bat. Even then it was a paying job at a time when unemployment was high and the alternate to earning money was stealing or begging. Even so Cook quickly got a reputation for no survey on board his ship. However getting the crew to eat fruit and vegetables often involve severe beatings. Thats the way the world was then.
Re a couple of errors in his maps. The modern equivalent of travelling to the outer Solar System and managing to make it back, let alone being able to to keep the majority of the crew alive.
Although no one died of scurvy, there was quite a high death rate on the Endeavour Voyage. [38 deaths on the voyage from 94 in total]( so 40%. Most of the deaths occurred in Batavia on the way home from diseases like dysentery and malaria, it was much safer to be out in the wilds or on the ocean than in a 'civilised' port. Better than previous generations, Magellan started with 5 ships and perhaps 350 in total on board, one ship with 19 crew returned.
I would encourage people to have a read of the “adventures” contained in Cooks logs above, particularly with regards to his experiences with first contact and his attempts at making a connection with the Māoris. Better than any fictional adventure novel. Phil

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