Joseph Banks (1743-1820) was een Engelse natuuronderzoeker en botanicus. Hij maakte deel uit van de eerste expeditie (1768-1771) van James Cook, en hield van die reis een dagboek bij.
1769 October 4.
Several small peices of sea weed are seen today but no heaps; weather pleasant, breeze rather of the gentlest. Towards evening we were entertaind by a large shoal of Porpoises like those of the 30th of last month; they came up to the ship in prodigious circl[in]g action leaping out of the water sometimes 2 or 3 feet high as nimbly as Bonetos; immediately after them came a number of a larger sort quite black who movd very heavy in the water; both these troops kept their course by the ship without taking much notice of her probably in pursuit of some prey.
1769 October 5.
Our old enemy Cape fly away entertaind us for three hours this morn all which time there were many opinions in the ship, some said it was land and others Clouds which at last however plainly appeard. 2 Seals passd the ship asleep and 3 of the birds which Mr Gore calls Port Egmont hens, Larus Catarrhactes, and says are a sure sign of our being near land. They are something larger than a crow, in flight much like one, flapping their wings often with a slow motion; their bodies and wings of a dark chocolate or soot colour, under each wing a small broadish bar of dirty white which makes them so remarkable that it is hardly possible to mistake them. They are seen as he says all along the Coast of America and in Faulklands Isles; I myself remember to have seen them at Terra del Fuego but by some accident did not note them down. Just before sun set we were much entertaind by a shoal of Porpoises like those seen yesterday; they kept in sight of the ship for near an hour, all that while as if in hot pursuit of some prey, leaping out of the water almost over each other; they might be very justly compard to a pack of hounds in full cry only their numbers which were some thousands made them a much more considerable object; sometimes they formd a line near ¼ of a mile in lengh, sometimes contracted them selves into a much smaller compass, keeping the water wherever they went in a foam so that when they were so far from the ship that their bodys could not be distinguishd any man would have taken them for breakers.
1769 October 6.
This morn a Port Egmont hen and a seal were seen pretty early. At ½ past one a small boy who was at the mast head Calld out Land. I was luckyly upon deck and well I was entertaind, within a few minutes the cry circulated and up came all hands, this land could not then be seen even from the tops yet few were there who did not plainly see it from the deck till it appeard that they had lookd at least 5 points wrong. Weather most moderate. We came up with it very slowly; at sun set myself was at the masthead, land appeard much like an Island or Islands but seemd to be large. Just before a small shark was seen who had a very piked nose something like our dog fish in England.