Captain Cook Circumnavigation #1
Captain Cook's first circumnavigation was begun on 25 August 1768 in order to find the Mythical Terra Australis. But like Bougainville's overt purpose, he too espoused that his objective was purely scientific in order to observe the transit of the planet Venus from a location in the Pacific Ocean. The scientific team was led by the amateur botanist Joseph Banks. The British Admiralty bought a Whitby collier and rebuilt her into the famous Endeavour. The Endeavour was small and stubby and subsequently proved to be one of the finest vessels for the deep ocean exploration that there ever was.
Endeavour sailed via Madeira and the Cape Verde Islands to Brazil and reached the Horn at the middle of the summer as per his instructions. Cook was sailing in the Pacific by February 1769 and two months later, after a good run being blown by the trade winds, anchored at Tahiti. Cook spent three months in Tahiti while the scientific work was done. After leaving the Society Islands on August ninth, Cook sailed south and offered a gallon of rum to the crew who sighted land. On 6th October 1769 Nick Young sighted New Zealand and they took six months to sail around the two islands surveying and charting the coast. Cook also found that there were abundant supplies of timber, water, fish, meat, and vegetables.
In April 1170 Cook sighted the coast of Australia at Point Hicks and for seven weeks the Endeavour sailed north, charting as they went. They sail into Botany Bay and then north of the Tropic of Capricorn sail along the Great Barrier Reef. On 10 June the Endeavour grounded on the reef and only just got off. Cook then sailed the Endeavour into Cooktown to careen and repair her. On the thirteenth August, Cook found a deep water channel out of the Great Barrier Reef and sailed the Endeavour out into the open sea and was almost wrecked again by crashing against the outer edge of the Great Barrier Reef. On 21 August Cook sailed past the end of Cape Yorke into Torres Strait to Savu which was controlled by the Dutch and they had no chance to repair the ship. Hence they had to go to Batavia, where they arrived on 11 October where the Endeavour got an overhaul for two unhealthy months.
Batavia wiped out most of his crew to the usual diseases and he had only a dozen fit crew left, so he had to hire more hands in order to sail the Endeavour home. Losing so many men in Batavia motivated Cook in subsequent circumnavigations to carefully monitor the health of his crew. The Endeavour sailed across the Indian Ocean to the Cape of Good Hope where his crew were allowed to recuperate and sign on more crew to replace the sick ones. Cook then sailed to St Helena and passed Ascension Island. On 10 July 1771 the Endeavour once again sighted England and thus ended Cook's first circumnavigation.
Captain Cook Resources
Captain Cook's Second Circumnavigation in the Resolution
Cook's Ship The Endeavour