Hunt for the Southern Continent

My obsession with South Seas adventure and exoticism was indulged today by the purchase of the slim but beautiful Penguin Great Journeys edition of selections from James Cook’s journals. So far he’s still braving the frosty winds of Antarctica with determination and bad spelling, but I’m very much looking forward to his visits to Tonga, Tahiti and Easter Island.

“[We] made sail to the westward under double reef’d Top-sails and Courses, with the wind notherly a strong gale attended with a thick fog Sleet and Snow which froze to the Rigging as it fell and decorated the whole with icicles. Our ropes were like wires, Sails like board or plates of Metal and the Shivers froze fast in the blocks so that it required our utmost effort to get a Top-sail down and up; the cold so intense as hardly to be endured, the whole Sea in a manner covered with ice, a hard gale and a thick fog.”
– James Cook, Hunt for the Southern Continent

I love these little books and have a list of others I want to read as soon as possible, especially Piracy, Turtles and Flying Foxes by William Dampier and The Shipwrecked Man by Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca


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