How could Captain Cook, supposedly ‘the greatest navigator of his age’, have missed coastal features that even the dullest sailor would have discovered – features as obvious as Bass Strait? How could he have possibly sailed past Port Jackson? Surely that was a dereliction of duty when he had been specifically instructed to investigate such openings.
These ‘errors’ have marred Cook’s reputation as cartographer for 250 years.
Re-examining Cook’s original journals and charts in forensic detail, Margaret Cameron-Ash makes the case that he didn’t miss these key coastal features at all. Rather, he obfuscated them, obeying secret orders from the Admiralty to hide discoveries of strategic importance from Britain’s rivals – in particular the French