Within a year of returning from his first voyage, Cook led another expedition into the South Pacific, this time on a vessel called the Resolution.
Again, Cook plunged into the chilly waters of the southern oceans. In December, Cook wrote, “WL., were stopped by an immense field of ice, to which we could see no end.” Tentatively, Cook moved along the ice, sailing farther south than any other explorer.
Still, sheets of ice stretched to the horizon, and Cook glimpsed no mountains, no land, and no evidence of a southern continent. He turned north to the tropical waters of the South Pacific, gathering information and charting the hundreds of islands that dot the vast ocean. Still seeking to explore, he returned to the frigid waters in the south and sailed around Antarctica in a vast circle.
Ice choked the rigging and Cook ordered the ship’s tailor to make warmer, thicker clothes for the crew. “The cold, so intense as hardly to be endured,” wrote Cook, “the whole Sea in a manner covered with ice, a hard gale and thick fog.” Again, Cook was stopped by a wall of ice.
In July 1775, Cook arrived safely back in England after sailing 70,000 miles. Proclaimed a hero, Cook was awarded a pension and a promotion.