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Endeavour journal, 29 May 1769 (Series 03.276)

Notes: Page header reads: 'Otahite'
Author: Banks, Joseph, Sir, 1743-1820
Date: 29 May 1769
Series title: Series 03: The Endeavour journal of Joseph Banks, 25 August 1768 - 12 July 1771
Frame numbers:
Transcript: 29. At day break we rose according to the custom of our companions. Tupia was the first man I saw, atending with my Musquet and the remainder of my cloaths, his faith had often been tried, on this occasion it shone very much. Oborea took care to provide me with cloth to supply the place of my lost Jacket so that I made a motley apearance, my dress being half English and half Indian. Dootahah soon after made his apearance; I pressd him to recover my Jacket but neither he nor Oborea would take the least step towards it so that I am almost inclind to beleive that they acted principals in the theft. Indeed if they did it may be said in their excuse that they knew I had in my pockets a pair of pistols, weopons to them more dreadfull than a cannon to a man marching up to its mouth: could they get possession of them they thought no doubt that they would be as usefull to them as to us; self defence and preservation therefore in this case came in opposition to the laws of hospitality, duties to which mankind usualy give the preference in all cases.

About 8 Dr Solander returnd from a house about a mile off where he had slept: he had met with more honest companions than we had for nothing of his was missing. We spent the most of the morning in trying to persuade our freinds either to restore our cloaths or give us some hogs acording to promise, but neiether could we do, so we were forcd to set out for the boat with only the pig got yesterday, dissatisfied enough with our expedition.

In our return to the boat we saw the Indians amuse or excersise themselves in a manner truly surprizing. It was in a place where the shore was not guarded by a reef as is usualy the case, consequently a high surf fell upon the shore, a more deadfull one I have not often seen: no European boat could have landed in it and I think no Europaean who had by any means got into [it] could possibly have saved his life, as the shore was coverd with pebbles and large stones. In the midst of these breakers 10 or 12 Indians were swimming who whenever a surf broke near them divd under it with infinite ease, rising up on the other side; but their cheif amusement was carried on by the stern of an old canoe, with this before them they swam out as far as the outermost breach, then one or two would get into it and opposing the blunt end to the breaking wave were hurried in with incredible swiftness. Sometimes they were carried almost ashore but generaly the wave broke over them before they were half way, in which case the[y] divd and quickly rose on the other side with the canoe in their hands, which was towd out again and the same method repeated. We stood admiring this very wonderfull scene for full half an hour, in which time no one of the actors atempted to come ashore but all seemd most highly entertaind with their strange diversion.