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Scientific Circumnavigations 1679 to 1859
Captain Cook's Third Voyage 1776-1780

The instructions given to Captain Cook by the British Admiralty for his third voyage stated primarily:
"that an attempt should be made to find out a Northern passage by sea from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean."

As Cook headed for the Bering Strait, the crew was surprised to see many birds, and turtles were glimpsed in the water. They were about to come upon the Hawaiian Islands. Cook described how:
"an island made its appearance" and then two more. "At this time, we were in some doubt whether or no the land before us was inhabited; but this doubt was soon cleared up, by seeing some canoes come off the shore, toward the ships… They had from three to six men each; and we were agreeably surprised to find, that they spoke the language of Otaheite [Tahiti] ..."

Cook described the people, landscape, flora and fauna of five of the islands, but he had not yet seen the largest island (Hawaii) or Maui.



Cook then sailed to the northwest coast of America and explored Nootka, Prince William, and Norton Sounds. The expedition headed further north through the Bering Strait to Icy Cape on the shore of North America, and across the strait to North Cape on the shore of Russia, but could not pass beyond 70 degrees north latitude.


"East Cape of Asia; West Point of America"

A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean: … for Making Discoveries in the Northern Hemisphere…in His Majesty’s Ships the Resolution and Discovery, in the Years 1776-1780.
Second edition. London: H. Hughs, 1785.

Cook: Page 15 of 16. The third voyage.
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