More land

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For two days they sailed North-west, distancing themselves from the trap they’d found themselves in. But on Dec 28th, they turned back towards the coast, to resume their exploration of the land.

“In the morning at daybreak we made sail again, set our course to eastward in order to ascertain whether the land we had previously seen in 40° extends still further northward, or whether it falls away to eastward.“

They didn’t have to wait long, and at mid-day, they sighted land again.

“At noon we saw east by north of us a high mountain which we at first took to be an island; but afterwards we observed that it forms part of the mainland.”

They had seen Mount Karioi, near Raglan, and they marked it on the chart but gave it no name. Tasman did however name a place that he didn’t see...

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Tasman and his men sat at anchor unable to move due to the storm coming from the North West. They lowered their yards to the decks to sit it out. The storm was so fierce that on the Heemskerck they put down a second anchor and ran out more cable. The Zeehaen followed suit when their first anchor started to slip.

They named where they sat at anchor “Abel Tasman’s Bay”.

Isaac Gilseman’s drawing of the Heemskerck and the Zeehaen at anchor in Abel Tasman Bay

Isaac Gilseman’s drawing of the Heemskerck and the Zeehaen at anchor in Abel Tasman Bay

While they were no longer exposed to the danger of the lee shore, they were by no means out of trouble and now they were even more trapped than before.
Previously, to escape, they needed the wind to come from anywhere except the west...

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Unexpected shore

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It had been a big day for Tasman and his men, and no doubt they were pleased to leave “Murderers Bay” behind them, but the day’s excitement was not yet over.

Tasman believed he was sailing into open ocean, that the land extended to the east of where they had come from. “therefore it will be best to sail eastward along the coast, following the trend of the land” He was sorely mistaken.

Tasmans exit path from Golden Bay

Tasman’s course leaving Golden Bay on 19th December 1642”

They sailed East-North-East from Golden Bay, confident that they moving out into the “South Sea”. But they were completely unaware of the existence of the North Island of New Zealand, and in the middle of the night, the alarm was raised.

“During the night we kept sailing as the weather was favourable, but about an hour after midnight we...
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New Zealand

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Tasman was confident that they had rounded the northernmost tip of this new land and was heading out into the open Pacific Ocean. Accordingly, he named the land that they were leaving behind.

“This is the second Land along which we sailed and which we discovered and we have given to it the name of Staten Landt in honour of the High and Mighty Lords the States [General] since it might well be (though this is not certain) that it is connected with the Staten Landt”
 Visscher’s chart of New Zealand up to the night December 19th, 1642

This is Tasman’s chart of New Zealand contained in the manuscript held at the Dutch National Archive (north on this chart is to the left of the page). The title of this chart reads: “Staete landt: this and was made and discovered by the ships Heemskerck and Zeehaen, the Hon. Abel Tasman commander, A.D...

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Arriverderci Te Wai Pounamu

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“Nonsense!” I said. “We’ll see about that”.

So I tested it.

“There you go!… nonsense!”.

The tin said “Fruit: 2 servings”. But the whole lot fitted easily into one bowl, and still left plenty of room for the cream.

I was looking at what was very clearly one serving.

“Nonsense” I said again, in case I’d missed it the first two times.


One serving of fruit

I sat down, with bowl and spoon and un-paused the movie… “Pirates of the Caribbean” (Pt 3).

Movies are always my fall-back when I can’t get a TV signal. Usually, it’s due to rain fade on the dish, but tonight it was my location...

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I’ve had better days

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You know how some days, everything just goes your way… well today wasn’t one of those days.

I knew it was going to be a close call, the forecast wasn’t ideal, but I’m running out of days, so I had to give it a go.

I’m on a countdown for leaving the Bay. I have my ferry ticket booked for Dec 22nd and still at least 2 ½ days of filming to complete. These particular scenes are all really important, and simply can’t be shot anywhere else.

I have some fairy straightforward stuff to do at the Abel Tasman Memorial; I need this for the opening of the documentary. There’s not a great deal to do, but it’s quite fussy in terms of linking shots, close-ups’ different angles, long views etc...

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Abel Tasman’s course up the West Coast of New Zealand

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Interactive Map: click a few things to see how it works.

This reconstruction uses all spatial references in Abel Tasman’s journal to build a complete turn by turn course of their progress up the coast of New Zealand.

Information from the journal used to make this reconstruction includes: observed latitude, bearings to features, distances to features, depth, direction sailed, and distance sailed (since the previous day).

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Course reconstruction charts

Some browsers have difficulty with zoom-able images. If the map does not appear, then refresh the page to re-activate it.

There are controls for pan and zoom, but these can also be done directly with click or touch movements.

Zooming in and out on touch devices is by ‘pinch’ and ‘stretch’. If you are using a mouse with a wheel, then the wheel will zoom in and out, and click-hold-release will pan the image.

Click on the thumbnail images below to switch between charts. From left to right the charts are:

  • Abel Tasman’s approach to New Zealand and progress north
  • Abel Tasman’s course into and out of golden Bay
  • Abel Tasman’s progress 19 December to 26 December 1642
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Reconstructing Abel Tasman’s course

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At first glance, re-creating the course followed by the Heemskerck and the Zeehaen should be straightforward; Tasman’s journal has an entry for every day, and that entry includes a coordinate comprising a latitude and a longitude.

A typical daily location summary looks like this;

“At noon Latitude estimated 40° 13′, Longitude 192° 7′; course kept north-north-west, sailed 20 miles.”

The longitude given appears unlikely, but is actually just a different way of representing longitude. We are familiar with longitude coordinates in the range 180° to -180°, which we measure from the Meridian at Greenwich. Tasman however measured his longitude east from the peak of Tenerife Island, in the range 0 to 360.

Teide, the peak on Tenerife lies 16° 38′ to the west of Greenwich, so it is easy e...

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Following the incident in Golden Bay, and the recovery of the cock-boat, the officers of the Zeehaen returned to their own ship, and soon after both ships weighed anchors and turned to leave the Bay heading ENE. At noon they were 2 Dutch myles south of their noon position on the previous day, and there Tasman convened the Ships’ Council.

“About noon skipper Gerrit Jansz and Mr. Gilsemans again came on board of us; we also sent for their first mate and convened the council, with whom we drew up the resolution following, to wit:
 Visscher’s chart of New Zealand up to the night December 19th, 1642

Visscher’s chart of New Zealand up to the night December 19th, 1642

Seeing that the detestable deed of these natives against four men of the Zeehaan’s crew, perpetrated this morning, must teach us to consider the inhabitants of this country as enemies; that...
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