Samuel Wallis Circumnavigation
After the circumnavigation by the Dolphin under the leadership of captain John Byron, the Earl of Egmont secretly prepared a new expedition to reinforce the English settlement in the Falklands Islands and do more exploration in the Pacific Ocean. On the 21st August 1766 the Dolphin along with the Swallow and the Prince Frederick, a store ship, left Plymouth harbor and sailed past the Scillies Islands. The Swallow was a sixth rate twenty year old sloop that had fourteen guns. She was slow and sluggish but dependable in rough weather. The Swallow was commanded by Philip Carteret who thought of her as a liability holding him back from promotion and advancement in the British Navy. The leader of the fleet was Samuel Wallis.
Wallis and Carteret did not get along and Wallis kept his orders secret from Carteret until they were three weeks out at sea. Carteret thought that the fleet was going to reprovision the settlement at Port Egmont and relieve Captain McBride and the Jason. The real objective of the fleet was to sail for Magellan Straits where the Prince Frederick would head back to the Falklands and the Dolphin and the Swallow were to sail west for exploration in the Pacific. They reached Cape Virgins on 16th December and Wallis ordered the Swallow to pilot ahead. It took ten days for them to reach Port Famine. For three weeks the Dolphin and the Swallow loaded up the ships with wood and water and reprovisioned, then sent the Prince Frederick off to the Falkland Islands.
After lumbering incompetently through the Magellan Straits for 115 days, they reached Cape Pilar and the Pacific Ocean at last. In the dark, the Dolphin took on sails, and sped away from the Swallow. Rough seas buffeted the Dolphin in the Pacific for almost two months. They sailed West-North-WEst to the Tuamotu Archipelago and Wallis sailed cautiously through the reefs and islands, picking up food and water from the natives along the way. On 19 June they arrived at Tahiti and Wallis sent Tobias Furneaux, the second lieutenant, in to claim it for England. The natives were a bit suspicious of the strangers in the big canoe. But Wallis eventually earned their trust and soon they were trading nails, pots, or anything made of iron for fruit, vegetables, and pigs and fowl.
Wallis and his crew eventually had communication and cultural difficulties and Wallis sailed from Tahiti on 27th July after having refitted the Dolphin and loaded up with water and fresh food. Wallis discovered several more islands and then sailed to Tinian on the nineteenth of August. Wallis lost forty men in Batavia to smallpox and most of his crew were unfit for duty on the crossing of the Indian Ocean to the Cape of Good Hope. The Dolphin had to spend a month in South Africa so that the crew could recover their health. Wallis and the Dolphin finally reached England on the eighteenth of May 1768 after a circumnavigation that took twenty one months.
Philip Carteret Circumnavigation in the Sloop Swallow