1770 – A sailor’s version
It is amazing how varied the coast of this continent is. We left Botany Bay about three weeks ago and we’ve been sailing along the coast heading north. From what we’ve seen so far this country has lots of hills along the coastline with long golden sandy beaches before them. Our Captain has been recording them carefully so we or other sailors in the future can use his charts for guidance. He is an excellent navigator, our Captain.
Now we have anchored here in this bay. It seems there is a river or an inlet or something which will make putting up settlement later very promising. A group of people, the Captain, of course, the doctor, and some of our crew, have rowed ashore to explore the area. The rest of the crew and I have stayed behind. I decided to climb the rig and get to the outlook/nest up here so I can see better. Having the telescope helps a lot.
I wonder if me make contact with those wild things again. In Botany Bay we saw them up close. What weird creatures. Nothing I can compare them with and believe me I have seen quite some weird things and animals.
There they are! Good thing I’m up so high. I can see them hiding in the brushes and behind trees. They are watching the boat and the men as they are approaching the shore. Watching but not moving. Better keep it that way. I have seen their spears and clubs and I’m sure they know to use them well. Of course we have our pistols and guns but still. You can never be too careful with those wildlings.
Alright, the boat has reached the shore; the Captain is getting out and wading through the water onto the coast. Still no sign of movement from the wildlings. Now it’s the same procedure as before. The Doctor will surely collect some plant specimen again. As if we didn’t have enough boxes on board already. If ever pirates should attack us, God forbid!, they will surely be in for a surprise. No gold, no silver, no treasures; only plants and sketches of plants and trees and flowers.
Well, I’ll get down and help the cook prepare dinner. Nothing more the Captain hates than late dinner. “Hey, John, keep an eye on the wildlings left from the big tree on the shore. Call us if they approach our crew.”
“THE CAPTAIN IS ON BOARD!”
“Smith! What news do you bring from the shore?”
“The Captain was right, there is an inlet we can use to get a bit further inland. Looked good and ideal to set up camp id needed. It’s much more tropical than down in Botany Bay but still good. The doctor collected more plants, but this time only about 30.”
“Don’t know what he sees in them. It’s not that he can eat books if you ask me.”
“Nobody is asking you! He will get famous with his new books about the plants and animals he has discovered sitting comfortably in his chair in front of the fireplace in London. And you and I will reef the sails and bat more storms.”
“I wouldn’t have it any other way. Feet in front of a Londoner fireplace - not my way of living. Much rather prefer this here. Remember the pretty girls we met on this island in the Pacific? That’s my life, mate.”
“Hahaha, yes, absolutely.”
“Did you make contact with the Indians?”
“What are you talking about? There were no Indians.”
“Mate, didn’t you see them? They were right there behind the bushes. About 100 feet from where you went ashore.”
“If they were, we didn’t see them and they didn’t present themselves to us. Maybe for the better. Who understands that gibberish anyway?”
“Yeah, well, they’d better start learning English because we will rule this land. Just like we rule the other ones.”
“What else did you see? Any of those kang-thingies hopping around?”
“Only birds. We saw one that was humungous. The doctor says it’s an Australian bustard. The Captain shot one and brought it back. But we didn’t spend too much time ashore anyway. I think the Captain knows by now that we want to go back to civilisation now. It’s been a damn long time on sea and away from a decent harbour with some decent food and drinks.”
“I agree. Tahiti was paradise but that’s months ago now. And as nice as discovering a new continent may be, if there’s no decent food or drinks or women, I don’t care for it.”
“ALL HANDS ON DECK!”