Billeder på siden

us to double-reef our top-sails. It afterwards fell, by little and little, and at noon ended in a calm. At this time Cape St John bore N. 20° E., distant three and a half leagues ; Cape St Bartholomew, or the S.W. point of Staten Land, S. 89° W.; two high detached rocks N. 80* W.; and the place where the land seemed to be divided, which had the same appearance on this side, bore N. 15° W. three leagues distant. Latitude observed 54° 56'. In this situation we sounded, but had no bottom with a line of 120 fathoms. The calm was of very short duration, a breeze presently springing up at N.W.; but it was too faint to make head against the current, and we drove with it back to the N.N.E. At four o'clock the wind veered, at once, lo S. by E., and blew in squalls attended with rain. Two hours after, the squalls and rain subsided, and the wind returning back to the west, blew a gentle gale. All this time the current set us to the north, so that, at eight o'clock, Cape St John bore W.N.W., distant about seven leagues. I now gave over plying, and steered S.E., with a resolution to leave the land ; judging it to be sufficiently explored to answer the most general purposes of navigation and geography.?


Observations, geographical and nautical, with an Account of

the Islands near Staten Land, and the Animals found in them."

The chart will very accurately shew the direction, extent, and position of the coast, along which I have sailed, either in this or my former voyage. The latitudes have been


7 The very intelligent officer mentioned in the preceding note, seems to have been very materially benefited by the observations of Captain Cook, in navigating this quarter, and does not hesitate to avow his obligations. An instance of this is recorded in our account of Byron's voyage, vol. 12, p. 74, which refers to a passage in the next section as to the currents losing their force at ten or twelve leagues from land.-E.

· It has been thought advisable to retain this section verbatim, although the references it makes to Captain Cook's chart can scarcely be understood without that accompaniment, and several observations of another sort which it contains, are given elsewhere. In justice to the memory of Cook, it was resolved to preserve the whole of his relation, at the risk of a very trivial repetition, which tlie reader, it is believed, will be little disposed to resent.-E.

determined by the sun's meridian altitude, which we were so fortunate as to obtain every day, except the one we sailed from Christmas Sound, which was of no consequence, as its latitude was known before. The longitudes have been settled by lunar observations, as is already mentioned. I have taken 67° 46' for the longitude of Cape Horn. From this meridian the longitudes of all the other parts are deduced by the watch, by which the extent of the whole must be determined to a few miles; and whatever errors there may be in longitude, must be general. But I think it highly probable that the longitude is determined to within a quarter of a degree. Thus, the extent of Terra del Fuego from east to west, and consequently that of the straits of Magalhaens, will be found less than most navigators have made it.

In order to illustrate this, and to shew the situations of the neighbouring lands, and, by this means, make the chart of more general use, I have extended it down to 47° of latitude. But I am only answerable for the accuracy of such parts as I have explored myself. In laying down the rest I had recourse to the following authorities.

The longitude of Cape Virgin Mary, which is the most essential point, as it determines the length of the straits of Magalhaens, is deduced from Lord Anson, who made 2° 30' difference of longitude between it and the Strait Le Maire, Now as the latter lies in 6522', Cape Virgin Mary must lie in 67° 52', which is the longitude I have assigned to it, and which, I have reason to think, cannot be far from the truth.

The strait of Magalhaens, and the east coast of Patagonia, are laid down from the observations made by the late English and French navigators.

The position of the west coast of America, from Cape Victory northward, I have taken from the discoveries of Sarmiento, a Spanish navigator, communicated to me by Mr Stuart, F.R.S.

Falkland Islands are copied from a sketch taken from Captain M'Bride, who circumnavigated them some years ago in his majesty's ship Jason; and their distance from the main is agreeable to the run of the Dolphin, under the command of Commodore Byron, from Cape Virgin Mary to Port Egmont, aud from Port Egmont to Port Desire,


both of which runs were made in a few days'; consequently no material errors could happen.

The S.W.coast of Terra del Fuego, with respect to inléts, islands, &c. may be compared to the coast of Norway; for I doubt if there be an extent of three leagues where there is not an inlet or harbour which will receive and shelter the largest shipping. The worst is, that till these inlets are better known, one has, as it were, to fish for anchorage. There are several lurking rocks on the coast, but happily none of them lie far from land, the approach to which may be known by sounding, supposing the weather so obscure that you cannot see it. For to judge of the whole by the parts we have sounded, it is more than probable that there are sound ings all along the coast, and for several leagues out to sea. Upon the whole, this is by no means the dangerous coast it has been represented.

Staten Land lies near E. by N. and W. by S., and is ten leagues long in that direction, and no where above three or four leagues broad. The coast is rocky, much indented, and seemed to form several bays or inlets. It shews a surface of craggy hills which spire up to a vast height, especially near the west end. Except the craggy summits of the hills, the greatest part was covered with trees and shrubs, or some sort of herbage, and there was little or no snow on it. The currents between Cape Deseada and Cape Horn set from west tổ east, that is, in the same direction as the coast; but they are by no means considerable. To the east of the cape their strength is much increased, and their direction is N.E. towards Staten Land. They are rapid in Strait' Le Maire and along the south coast of Staten Land, and set like a torrent round Cape St John; where they take a N.W. direction, and continue to run very strong both within and without New Year's Isles. While we lay at anchor within this island, Lobserved that the current was strongest during the flood, and that on the ebb its strength was so much impaired, that the ship would sometimes ride head to the wind when it was at W. and W.N.W. This is only to be understood of the place where the ship lay at anchor, for at the very time we had a strong current setting to the westward, Mr Gilbert found one of equal strength near the coast of Staten Land setting to the eastward, though probably this was an eddy current or tide. If the tides are regulated by the moon, it is high-water


by the shore at this place on the days of the new and full moon, about four o'clock. The perpendicular rise and fall is very inconsiderable, not exceeding four feet at most. In Christmas Sound it is high-water at half past two o'clock on the days of the full and change, and Mr Wales observed it to rise and fall on a perpendicular three feet six inches; but this was during the neap tides, consequently the spring tides must rise higher. To give such an account of the tides and currents on these coasts as navigators might depend on, would require a multitude of observations, and in different places, the making of which would be a work of time. I confess myself unprovided with materials for such a task; and believe that the less I say on this subject the fewer mistakes I shall make. But I think I have been able to observe, that in Strait Le Maire the southerly tide or current, be it flood or ebb, begins to act on the days of new and full moon about four o'clock, which remark may be of use to ships who pass the strait.

Were I bound round Cape Horn to the west, and not in want of wood or water, or any other thing that might make it necessary to put into port, I would not come near the land at all. For by keeping out at sea you avoid the currents, which, I am satisfied, lose their force at ten or twelve leagues from land; and at a greater distance there is none.

During the time we were upon the coast we had more calms than storms, and the winds so variable, that I question if a passage might not have been made from east to west in as short a time as from west to east; nor did we experience any cold weather. The mercury in the thermometer at noon was never below 46°; and while we lay in Christmas Sound it was generally above temperate. At this place the variation was 23° 30' E. ; a few leagues to the S. W. of Strait Le Maire it was 24o; and at anchor, within New Year's Isles, it was 24° 20' E.

These isles are, in general, so unlike Staten Land, especially the one on which we landed, that it deserves a particular description. It shews a surface of equal height, and elevated about thirty or forty feet above the sea, from which it is defended by a rocky coast. The inner part of the isle is covered with a sort of sword-grass, very green, and of a great length. It grows on little hillocks of two or three feet in diameter, and as many or more in height, in large tufts, which seemed to be composed of the roots of the plant


matted together. Among these hillocks are a vast number of paths made by sea-bears and penguins, by which they retire into the centre of the isle. It is, nevertheless, exceedingly bad travelling; for these paths are so dirty that one is sometimes up to the knees in mire. Besides this plant, there are a few other grasses, a kind of heath, and some celery. The whole surface is moist and wet, and on the coast are several small streams of water. The sword-grass, as I call it, seems to be the same that grows in Falkland Isles, described by Bougainville as a kind of gladiolus, or rather a species of gramen, and named by Pernety corn-flags.

The animals found on this little spot are sea-lions, seabears, a variety of oceanic, and some land-birds. The sealion is pretty well described by Pernety, though those we saw here have not such fore-feet or fins as that he has given a plate of, but such fins as that which he calls the sea-wolf. Nor did we see any of the size he speaks of; the largest not being more than twelve or fourteen feet in length, and perhaps eight or ten in circumference. They are not of that kind described under the same name by Lord Anson; but, for aught I know, these would more properly deserve that appellation: The long hair, with which the back of the head, the neck and shoulders, are covered, giving them greatly the, air and appearance of a lion. The other part of the body is covered with short hair, little longer than that of a cow or a horse, and the whole is a dark-brown. The female is not half so big as the male, and is covered with a short hair of an ash or light-dun colour. They live, as it were, in herds, on the rocks, and near the sea-shore. As this was the time for engendering as well as bringing forth their young, we have seen a male with twenty or thirty females about him, and always very attentive to keep them all to himself, and beating off every other male who attempted to come into his flock. Others again had a less number; some no more than one or two; and here and there we have seen one lying growling in a retired place, alone, and suffering neither males nor females to approach him: We judged these were old and superannuated.

The sea-bears are not so large, by far, as the lions, but rather larger than a common seal. They have none of that long hair which distinguishes the lion. Theirs is all of an


See English Translation of Bougainville, p. 51.

« ForrigeFortsæt »