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Drawing of Abel Tasman's Bay (Admiralty Bay), New Zealand


Drawing of Abel Tasman's Bay (Admiralty Bay), New Zealand

Gilsemans, Isaac

After departing Murderer’s Bay on 19th December, Abel Tasman’s expedition spent 2 days traversing what we now know as Cook Strait. First, they came across New Zealand’s North Island, before turning southwest. At noon of 20 December, the ships came close to passing between South Island and North Island, but failed to observe a clear passage and turned back north and then southwest before anchoring near what is now D’Urville Island on December 21st. The called the bay at which they anchored Abel Tasman’s Bay and the curvature in the observed landscape was called the Zeehaen’s Bend, which was presumed to connect the South Island and North Island. Tasman suspected a passage between the islands, but due to poor weather conditions was unable to investigate the possibility. On this map, the lands of South Island and North Island are shown as connected. Only more than a century later, James Cook would discover Tasman’s mistake by passing between the islands into the Pacific Ocean. On 26th December, after sheltering for several days due to poor weather conditions, the ships continued north, tracking the coast of North Island.- Isaac Gilsemans, supercargo on board the Zeehaen, likely made this drawing of Abel Tasman’s Bay in Abel Tasman’s journal. It shows what is today called Admiralty Bay.

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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)