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Endeavour journal, 4 April 1769 (Series 03.220)

Notes: Page header reads: 'South Sea'
Author: Banks, Joseph, Sir, 1743-1820
Date: 4 April 1769
Series title: Series 03: The Endeavour journal of Joseph Banks, 25 August 1768 - 12 July 1771
Frame numbers:
Transcript: 4. At 10 this morn my servant Peter Briscoe saw the Land which we had almost passd by, we stood towards it and found it to be a small Island (Lagoon Island) about 1½ or 2 miles in lengh. Those who were upon the topmast head distinguishd it to be nearly circular and to have a Lagoon or pool of water in the middle which occupied much the largest part of the Island. About noon we were Close to it within a mile or thereabouts and distinctly saw inhabitants upon it of whoom we counted 24. They appeard to us through our glasses to be tall and to have very large heads or possibly much hair upon them, 11 of them walkd along the beach abreast of the ship with each a pole or pike as long again as himself in his hand and every one of them stark naked

and appearing of a brown copper colour; as soon however as the ship had fairly pass'd the Island they retird higher up on the beach and seemd to put on some cloaths or at least cover themselves with something which made them appear of a light colour.

The Island was coverd with trees of many very different verdures; the Palms or Cocoa nut trees we could plainly distinguish particularly two that were amazingly taller than their fellows and at a distance bore a great resemblance to a flag. The land seemd all very low tho at a distance several parts of it appeard high yet when we came near them they provd to be clumps of Palms. Under the shade of these were the houses of the natives in places cleard of all underwood so that pleasanter groves can not be imagind, at least so they appeard to us whose eyes had so long been unus'd to any other objects than water and sky.

After dinner land was again seen which we came up with at sunset; it provd a small Island not more than ¾ of a mile in lengh but almost round, we ran within less than a mile of it but saw no signs of inhabitants nor any Cocoa nut trees, or indeed any that bore the least resemblance to Palms tho there were many sorts of trees or at least many varieties of verdure.

In the neighbourhood of both this and the other Island were many birds, man of war birds and a small black sort of sterna? with a white spot on his head which the seamen calld Noddies but said that they were much smaller than the West Indian Noddies.

While we were near the Island a large fish was taken with a towing line baited with a peice of Pork rind cut like a swallows tail [ ] the seamen calld it a King fish Scomber lanceolatus.