The shore at this place seemed to form several bays, into one of which I proposed to carry the ship, which was become very foul, in order to careen her, and at the same time repair some defects, and recruit our wood and water.
With this view I kept plying on and off all night, having from eighty to sixty-three fathom. At day-break the next morning, I stood for an inlet which runs in S.W.; and at eight I got within the entrance, which may be known by a reef of rocks, stretching from the north-west point, and some rocky islands which lie off the south-east point. At nine o’clock, there being little wind, and what there was being variable, we were carried by the tide or current within two cables’ length of the north-west shore, where we had fifty-four fathom water, but by the help of our boats we got clear. Just at this time we saw a sea-lion rise twice near the shore, the head of which exactly resembled that of the male which has been described in the account of Lord Anson’s voyage. We also saw some of the natives in a canoe cross the bay, and a village situated upon the point of an island which lies seven or eight miles within the entrance. At noon, we were the length of this island, but there being little wind, the boats were ordered a-head to tow. About one o’clock we hauled close round the southwest end of the island; and the inhabitants of the village which was built upon it, were immediately up in arms. About two, we anchored in a very safe and convenient cove, on the north-west side of the bay, and facing the southwest end of the island, in eleven fathom water, with soft ground, and moored with the stream anchor.
We were about four long cannon-shot distant from the village or Heppah, from which four canoes were immediately dispatched, as we imagined to reconnoitre, and, if they should find themselves able, to take us. The men were all well armed, and dressed nearly as they are represented in the figure published by Tasman; two corners of the cloth which they wrapped round the body were passed over the shoulders from behind, and being brought down to the upper edge of it before, were made fast to it just under the breast; but few, or none, had feathers in their hair.
They rowed round the ship several times, with their usual tokens of menace and defiance, and at last began the assault, by throwing some stones: Tupia expostulated with them, but apparently to very little purpose; and we began to fear that they would oblige us to fire at them, when a very old man in one of the boats expressed a desire of coming on board. We gladly encouraged him in his design, a rope was thrown into his canoe, and she was immediately alongside of the ship: The old man rose up, and prepared to come up the ship’s side, upon which all the rest expostulated with great vehemence against the attempt, and at last laid hold of him, and held him back: He adhered, however, to his purpose, with a calm but steady perseverance,