DEFENCE

HMNZS ROTOITI moored in Pickersgill Harbour, with commemorative plaque at right. HMNZS ROTOITI moored in Pickersgill Harbour, with commemorative plaque at right. CREDIT: New Zealand Defence Force
 Information board at Pickersgill Harbour. Information board at Pickersgill Harbour. CREDIT: New Zealand Defence Force

Navy follows in Captain Cook's wake

Friday 9 November 2012, 3:30PM
By New Zealand Defence Force
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The Royal New Zealand Navy’s HMNZS ROTOITI followed in the footsteps of Captain James Cook earlier this week when they moored in Pickersgill Harbour, Dusky Sound, Fiordland.

The crew is currently conducting a 12-day patrol along the West Coast South Island and in the Sounds of Fiordland and moored in the Sound from 5-7 November.

HMNZS ROTOITI Commanding Officer Lieutenant Kane Sutherland said, “The mooring has a special historic significance as this was the place Captain James Cook moored his ship RESOLUTION on 27 March 1773.  Cook and his crew moored here for five weeks and collected wood, fresh water and set up an astronomer’s observatory to fix the longitude and latitude of the headland which is now aptly named Astronomer Point.

“Navigation students onboard ROTOITI went ashore and visited Astronomer Point with sextants in hand to replicate Captain Cook’s actions. The trees that Cook felled to create the observatory have since regenerated with new trees so the taking of astronomic sights was a challenge.

“The cove where ROTOITI was positioned is naturally deep right up to the rock edge.  A fresh water stream, called Cook Stream flows into the cove. This is where Cook collected fresh water and first brewed his Spruce Beer which was flavoured with ‘spruce’ (rimu) and tea tree (manuka) from the surrounding area,” LT Sutherland said.

A plaque on Astronomer Point commemorates Cook’s visit to the Sound.