Queen Charlotte's Sound, New Zealand

[Description of Queen Charlotte’s Sound]
The entrance of this Sound is situated in the Latitude of 41 degrees South and Longitude 184 degrees 45 minutes West, and near the middle of the South-West side of the Strait before mentioned. The land off the South-East head of the Sound called by the Natives, Koamaroo (off which lies 2 Small Islands and some rocks) makes the Narrowest part of the Strait. There stretcheth out 2 Miles North-East by North from the North-West head a reef of rocks, a part of which is above Water. This account of the 2 Heads will be found sufficient guide to know this sound, which is 3 Leagues broad at the Entrance, and lies in South-West by South-South-West, and West-South-West at least 10 Leagues, and is a collection of some of the finest harbours in the world, as will evidently appear from the plan which was taken with all the accuracy that time and Circumstances would admit. The Harbour or Cove in which we lay, called Ship Cove, is not inferior to any in the Sound, both in point of Security and other Conveniences. It lies on the West side of the Sound, and is the Southermost of 3 Coves lying within Motu-ouru, which Island bears East from it. You may sail into this Cove either between this last mentioned Island and the Isle Hamote, or Long Island, or between Motuouru and the West shore; in this last Channell are 2 Ledges of Rocks 3 fathoms under water, but they may be known by the Sea Weed which grows upon them. In sailing in or out of this sound with little wind attention must be had to the Tides, which flow 9 or 10 o'Clock full and Change of the Moon, and rises and falls upon a Perpendicular 7 or 8 feet. The flood comes in through the Strait from the South-East, and sets strong over upon the North-West Head and the reef laying off it; the Ebb sets with great rapidity to the South-East over upon the Islands and Rocks lying off the South-East Head. The Variation of the Compass from good observations we found to be 13 degrees 5 minutes East. The land about this Sound is of such height that we first saw it at the distance of 20 Leagues. It consists wholy of high hills and deep Valleys, well stored with a variety of excellent Timber, fit for all purposes except Ships' Masts, for which use it is too hard and heavy. The Sea abounds with a variety of fish, and in such plenty that, without going out of the Cove where we lay, we caught daily, what with the Sean, Hook, and Lines, quite sufficient for all hands, and upon our first arrival we found plenty of Shags and some few other Wild Fowls, which to people in our situation was fresh food not to be dispised. The Number of Inhabitants hardly exceeds 300 or 400 People. They live dispers'd along the Shore in search of their daily bread, which is fish and firn roots, for they Cultivate no part of the lands. Upon the appearance of danger they Retire to their Hippas or strongholds, for in this situation we found them, and they remain'd so for some days after. This people are poor when compared to many we have seen, and their Canoes are mean and without ornament. The little Traffick we had with them was wholy for fish, for we saw little else they had to dispose of. They had some knowledge of Iron, for they very readily took Nails in Exchange for fish, and sometimes Prefer'd them to anything else, which was more than the people of any other place would do. They were at first fond of Paper, but when they found it spoile by being wet they would not take it; nor did they set much value upon the cloth we got at George's Island, but shew'd an extraordinary fondness for English broad cloth and red Kersey, which shew'd them to be a more sensible People than many of their Neighbours. Besides the common dress, many of these People wore on their Heads round Caps made of Birds' feathers, which were far from being unbecoming.

Cook was not able to explore the whole of Queen Charlotte's Sound, which runs into the land for 25 miles. Towards the southern end is Picton, the port of Blenheim, the capital of the province of Marlborough.

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