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VOYAGES AND TRAVELS.
PART III. BOOK II.
CHAPTER IV. Continued.
FROM LEAVING NEW ZEALAND TO OUR RETURN TO
Range from Christmas Sound, round Cape Horn, through
Strait Le Maire, and round Staten Land; with an Account of the Discovery of a Harbour in that Island, and a Description of the Coasts.
T four o'clock in the morning on the 28th, we began
to unmoor, and at eight weighed, and stood out to sea, with a light breeze at N.W., which afterwards freshened, and was attended with rain. At noon, the east point of the sound (Point Nativity) bore N.; W., distant one and a half leagues, and St Ildefonzo Isles S.E. I S., distant seven leagues. The coast seemed to trend in the direction of E. by S.; but the weather being very hazy, nothing appeared distinct. VOL. XV. PART I.
We continued to steer S.E. by E. and E.S.E.;, with a fresh breeze at W.N.W., till four o'clock p. m., when we hauled to the south, in order to have a nearer view of St Ildefonso Isles. At this time we were abreast of an inlet, which lies E.S.E., about seven leagues from the sound; but it must be observed that there are some isles without this distinction. At the west point of the inlet are two high peaked hills, and below them, to the east, two round hills, or isles, which lie in the direction of N.E. and S.W. of each other. An island, or what appeared to be an island, lay in the entrance; and another but smaller inlet appeared to the west of this: Indeed the coast appeared indented and broken as usual..
At half past five o'clock, the weather clearing up, gave us a good sight of Ildefonzo Isles. They are a group of islands and rocks above water, situated about six leagues from the main, and in the latitude of 55° 53' S., longitude 696 41' W.
We now resumed our course to the east, and, at sun-set, the most advanced land bore S.E. by E. & E.; and a point, which I judged to be the west point of Nassau Bay, discovered by the Dutch fleet under the command of Admiral Hermite in 1624, bore N. 80° E., six leagues distant. In some charts this point is called False Cape Horn, as being the southern point of Terra del Fuego. It is situated in latitude 55° 39' S. From the intet above-mentioned to this false cape, the direction of the coast is nearly east, half a point south, distant fourteen or fifteen leagues.
At ten o'clock, having shortened sail, we spent the night in making short boards under the top-sails, and at three next morning made sail, and steered S.E. by S., with a fresh breeze at W.S.W., the weather somewhat hazy. At this time the west entrance to Nassau Bay extended from N. by E. to N.E.1 E., and the south side of Hermite's Isles, E. by S. At four, Cape Horn, for which we now steered, bore E. by S. It is known, at a distance, by a high round hill over it. A point to the W.N.W. shews a surface not unlike this, but their situations alone will always distinguish the one from the other.
At half past seven, we passed this famous cape, and entered the southern Atlantic ocean. It is the very same point of land. I took for the cape, when I passed it in 1769, which at that time I was doubtful of. It is the most southern 'extremity on a group of islands of unequal extent, lying be
fore Nassau Bay, known by the name of Hermite Islands, and is situated in the latitude of 55° 58', and in the longitude of 68° 13' W., according to the observations made of it in 1769. But the observations, which we had in Christ, mas Sound, and reduced to the cape by the watch, and others which we had afterwards, and reduced back to it by the same means, place it in 67° 19'. It is most probable that à mean between the two, viz. 67° 46', will be nearest the truth. On the N.W. side of the cape are two peaked rocks, like sugar-loaves. They lie N.W. by N., and s.É. by S., by compass, of each other. Some other straggling low rocks lie west of the cape, and one south of it; but they are all near the shore." From Christmas Sound to Cape Horn the course is E.S.E: E., distant thirty-one leagues. In the direction of E.N.E., three leagues from Cape Horn, is a rocky point, which I called Mistaken Cape, and is the southern point of the easternmost of Hermite Isles. "Between these two capes there seemed to be a passage directly into Nassau Bay; some small isles were seen in the passage; and the coast, on the west side, had the appearance of forming good bays or harbours. In some charts, Cape Horn is laid down as belonging to a small island. This was neither confirmed, nor can it be contradicted by us ; for several breakers appeared on the coast, both to the east and west of it;
and the hazy weather rendered every object indistinct. The summits of some of the hills were rocky, but the sides and vallies seemed covered with a green turf, and wooded in tufts.'
From Cape Horn we steered E. by N. & N., which direction carried us without the rocks that lie off Mistaken Cape. These rocks are white with the dung of fowls, and vast numbers were seen about them. After passing them we steered N.E. E. and N.E., for Strait Le Maire, with a view of looking into Success Bay, to see if there were any traces of the Adventure having been there. At eight o'clock in the evening, drawing near the strait, we shortened sail, and hauled the wind. At this time the Sugar-loaf on Terra del Fuego bore N. 33o W.; the point of Success Bay, just open
* True Cape Horn, distinguishable at a distance by a round hill of considerable height, is the south point of Hermite's Isles, a cluster which separates the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. False Cape Horn lieš nine miles to the north-east, and is the west point of Nassau Bay, where James Hermite cast anchor. Vide vol. x. page 197.-E.
of the cape of the same name, bearing N. 20° E.; and Staten Land, extending from N. 53o E. to 67° E. Soon after the wind died away, and we had light airs and calms by turns till near noon the next day, during which time we were driven by the current over to Staten Land.
The calm being succeeded by a light breeze at N.N.W., we stood over for Success Bay, assisted by the currents, which set to the north. Before this we had hoisted our colours, and fired two guns, and soon after saw a smoke rise out of the woods, above the south point of the bay, which I judged was made by the natives, as it was at the place where th y resided when I was here in 1769.' As soon as we got off the bay, I sent Lieutenant Pickersgill to see if any traces remained of the Adventure having been there lately; and in the mean time we'stood on and off with the ship. At two o'clock, the current turned and set to the south; and Mr Pickersgill informed me, when he returned, that it was falling water on shore, which was contrary to what I had observed when I was here before, for I thought then that the flood came from the north. Mr Pickersgill saw not the least signs of any ship having been there lately. I had inscribed our ship's name on a card, which he nailed to a tree at the place where the Endeavour watered. This was done with a view of giving Captain Furneaux some information, in case he should be behind us and put in here.
On Mr Pickersgill's landing he was courteously received by several of the natives, who were clothed in guanicoe and seal skins, and had on their arms bracelets, made of silver wire, and wrought not unlike the hilt of a sword, being no doubt the manufacture of some Europeans. They were the same kind of people we had seen in Christmas Sound, and, like them, repeated the word pechera on every occasion. One man spoke much to Mr Pickersgill, pointing first to the ship and then to the bay, as if he wanted her to come in. Mr Pickersgill said the bảy was full of whales and seals; and we had observed the same in the strait, especially on the Terra del Fuego side, where the whales, in particular, are exceedingly numerous.*
2 « Not less than thirty large whales, and some hundreds of seals, play. ed in the water about us. The
whales went chiefly in couples, from whence we supposed this to be the season when the sexes moet. Whenever they
As soon as the boat was hoisted in, which was not till near six o'clock, we made sail to the east, with a fine breeze, at north. For since we had explored the south coast of Terra del Fuego, I resolved to do the same by Staten Land, which I believed to have been as little known as the former. At nine o'clock the wind freshening, and veering to N W., we tacked, and stood to S.W., in order to spend the night; which proyed none of the best, being stormy and hazy, with rain.
Next morning, at three o'clock, we bore up for the east end of Staten Land, which, at half past four, bore S. 60° E., the west end S. 2° E., and the land of Terra del Fuego S. 40° W. Soon after I had taken these bearings, the land was again obscured in a thick haze, and we were obliged to make way, as it were, in the dark; for it was but now and then we got a sight of the coast. As we advanced to the east, we perceived several islands, of unequal extent, lying off the land. There seemed to be a clear passage between the easternmost, and the one next to it, to the west. I would gladly have gone through this passage, and anchored under one of the islands, to have waited for better weather, for on sounding we found only twenty-nine fathoms water; but when I considered that this was running to leeward in the dark, I chose to keep without the islands, and accordingly hauled off to the north. At eight o'clock we were abreast of the most eastern isle, distant from it about two miles,
spouted up the water, or, as the sailors term it, were seen blowing to windward, the whole ship was infested with a most detestable, rank, and poisonous stench, which went off in the space of two or three minutes. Sometimes these huge animals lay on their backs, and with their long pectoral fins beat the surface of the sea, which always caused a great noise, equal to the explosion of a swivel. This kind of play has doubtless given rise to the mariner's story of a fight between the thrasher and the whale, of which the former is said to leap out of the water in order to fall heavily on the latter. Here we had an opportunity of observing the same exercise many times repeated, and discovered that all the belly and under side of the fins and tail are of a white colour, whereas the rest are black, As we happened to be only sixty yards from one of these animals, we perceived a number of longitudinal furrows, or wrinkles, on its belly, from whence we concluded it was the species by Linnæus named balana boops. Besides flapping their fins in the water, these unwieldy animals, of forty feet in length, and not less than ten feet in diameter, sometimes fairly leaped into the air, and dropped down again with a heavy fall, which made the water foam all round them. The
prodigious quantity of power required to raise such a vast creature out of the water is astonishing; and their peculiar economy cannot but give room to many reflections.".-G. F.