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Coastline profiles of Farewell Spit, New Zealand


Coastline profiles of Farewell Spit, New Zealand

Gilsemans, Isaac

On the 4th of December 1642, the Zeehaen and Heemskerck departed the island of Tasmania. They continued their journey in roughly eastern direction. On 13 December they sighted what we now know as the South Island of New Zealand. They followed the northwest coast of this new island, while looking for a suitable place to anchor and set ashore a crew to look for fresh supplies. After sailing past what is today Cape Foulwind, they tracked the coast along what they called the ‘Steijle Hoeck’ or Steep Bend north of this cape. After this bend the ships encountered a series of sand dunes stretching out of the coast, which are today known as Farewell Spit.-Isaac Gilsemans, supercargo on board the Zeehaen, drew these coastline profiles outlining this bend and sand dunes in Abel Tasman’s journal.-The mainland of which the bend and sand dunes are part is called ‘State Landt’ in these panels. This name was given due to a misconception. The name ‘State Land’ had been given previously to an island observed near Tierra del Fuego in South America by Jacob le Maire and Willem Schouten. They had in turn mistaken this island for a large mainland, which they thought might be connected to the great Southern Continent that Tasman was looking for. They named this land ‘State Land’, after the Dutch States-General. Tasman’s best guess was that the island he discovered was connected to the State Land discovered by Schouten and Le Maire, but this idea was soon abandoned in subsequent years.

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Sources and literature

Posthumus Meyjes, De Reizen van Abel Janszoon Tasman en Franchoys Jacobszoon Visscher, ter nadere ontdekking van het Zuidland (Australië) in 1642 - 1644. (1919)