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Endeavour journal, 29 May 1770 (Series 03.643)

Notes: Page header reads: 'Thirsty sound'
Author: Banks, Joseph, Sir, 1743-1820
Date: 29 May 1770
Series title: Series 03: The Endeavour journal of Joseph Banks, 25 August 1768 - 12 July 1771
Frame numbers:
Transcript: 29. Early this morn we got up our anchor and stood in for an opening in which by nine O'Clock we came to an anchor. We saw in coming in no signs of People. After breakfast we went ashore and found several Plants which we had not before seen; among them were however still more East Indian plants than in the last harbour. One kind of Grass which we had also seen there was very troublesome to us: its sharp seeds were bearded backwards and whenever they stuck into our cloths were by these beards pushd forward till they got into the flesh: this grass was so plentifull that it was hardly possible to avoid it and with the Musketos that were likewise innumerable made walking almost intolerable. We were not however to be repulsd but proceeded into the countrey. The gum trees were like those in the last bay both in leaf and producing a very small proportion of Gum; on the branches of them and other trees were large ants nests made of Clay as big as a bushel, something like to those describd in Sr Hans Sloanes Hist of Jamaica Voll. II, p. 221, t. 258, but not so smooth: the ants also were small and had whitish abdomens. In another species of tree Xanthoxiloides mite, a small sort of black ants had bord all the twigs and livd in quantities in the hollow part where the pith should be, the tree nevertheless flourishing, bearing leaves and flowers upon those very branches as freely and well as upon others that were sound. Insects in general were plentifull, Butterflies especialy: of one sort of these much like P. Similis Linn. the air was for the space of 3 or 4 acres crowded with them to a wonderfull degree: the eye could not be turnd in any direction without seeing milions and yet every branch and twig was almost coverd with those that sat still: of these we took as many as we chose, knocking them down with our caps or any thing that came to hand. On the leaves of the gum tree we found a Pupa or Chrysalis which shone almost all over as bright as if it had been silverd over with the most burnishd silver and perfectly resembled silver; it was brought on board and the next day came out into a butterfly of a velvet black changeable to blue, his wings both upper and under markd near the edges with many light brimstone colourd spots, those of his under wings being indented deeply at each end. We saw no fresh water but several swamps of salt overgrown with mangroves; in these we found some species of shells, Among them the Trochus perspectivus Linn. Here was also a very singular Phaenomenon in a small fish of [ ] of which there were great abundance. It was about the size of a minnow in England and had two breast finns very strong. We often found him in places quite dry where may be he had been left by the tide: upon seeing us he immediately fled from us leaping as nimbly as a frog by the help of his breast finns: nor did he seem to prefer water to land for if seen in the water he often leapd out and proceeded upon dry land, and where the water was filld with small stones standing above its surface would leap from stone to stone rather than go into the water: in this manner I observd several pass over puddles of water and proceed on the other side leaping as before. In the afternoon we went ashore on the opposite side of the bay: the productions were much like those on the side we were on in the morn, but if any thing the Soil was rather better. In neither morning nor evening were there any traces of inhabitants ever having been where we were, except that here and there trees had been burnt down.