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Approach to the Coast of New Zealand--Entrance to the Bay of Islands--Caution to be observed in entering--Anchorage--The Natives--Appearances observable from the Ship--Supply of Refreshment
AVOIDING relations of little importance I shall begin by stating, that on the 18th of Sept. 1805, we made the North Cape of New Zealand, which lies in 34 deg. 25 min. south latitude, and in 173 deg. 4 min. of east longitude. I have delineated the appearance of the cape, and also the entrance to the bay of islands, together with other lands in its vici-
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nity; all of which are particularized, and the bearings and distances given in the accompanying plate.
The weather being squally, with hail, rain, and thunder, we did not think it prudent to stand very near in with the land; but shaping our course east by south, the land still in sight on the 20th, we made the entrance of the bay, which bore and appeared as I have represented.
The rock at the entrance, in figure like the perpendicular section of a sugar-loaf, has deep water steep-to. After passing this rock the harbour is open to you, and good anchorage may be found in almost every part. There is one caution, however, necessary to be observed, which is, that in the centre of the bay are three rocks, covered at high-water: we touched on one of them, but as the water is deep close around them, we wore without sustaining any injury: perhaps, on account of these rocks, it would be advisable to enter the bay at half-tide.
[Views of the Bay of Islands]
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Previously to entering the harbour it would be right to have two anchors ready, to guard against the gusts of wind that some times rush down between the high lands with great violence.
Good anchorage may be found in most of the coves in eight fathoms.
Immediately upon coming to an anchor we were surrounded by a great number of canoes, each containing ten or a dozen natives.
In a country that has been described as being peopled by a race of cannibals, you are agreeably surprised by the appearance of the natives, who betray no symptom of savage ferocity, and by the patches of cultivated ground in the neighbourhood of the bay; on each of which is seen a well-thatched hut, and a shed at a little distance.
These are the appearances observable from the ship; which, together with the abundant supply of fish and potatoes brought on board by the natives, tend for-
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cibly to remove the prejudices you have imbibed from former accounts of this country and its inhabitants.
It is to be understood, that my remarks have been confined to the bay of islands, and the shores immediately surrounding it: a general account of New Zealand is therefore not to be expected; but as I conceive this bay of the greatest importance to all persons navigating those seas, both from the excellence of the harbour, and the abundant and reasonable supply of refreshment it affords, I shall proceed to communicate the result of my observations.