« ForrigeFortsæt »
equal length, and finer than that of the lion, something like an otter's, and the general colour is that of an iron-grey. This is the kind which the French call sea-wolfs, and the English seals ; they are, however, different from the seals we have in Europe and North America. The lions may, too, without any great impropriety, be called over-grown seals ; for they are all of the same species. It was not at all dangerous to go among them, for they either fled or lay still. The only danger was in going between them and the sea; for if they took fright at any thing, they would come down in such numbers, that, if you could not get out of their way, you would be run over. Sometimes, when we came suddenly upon them, or waked them out of their sleep, (for they are a sluggish sleepy animal), they would raise up their heads, snort and snarl, and look as fierce as if they meant to devour us; but as we advanced upon them they always run away, so that they are downright bullies.
The penguin is an amphibious bird, so well known to most people, that I shall only observe, they are here in prodigious numbers, so that we could knock down as many as we pleased with a stick. I cannot say they are good eating. I have indeed made several good meals of them, but it was for want of better victuals. They either do not breed here, or else this was not the season; for we saw neither
eggs nor young ones.
Shags breed here in vast numbers; and we carried on board not a few, as they are very good eating. They take certain spots to themselves, and build their nests near the edge of the cliffs on little hillocks, which are either those of the sword-grass, or else they are made by the shags building on them from year to year. There is another sort rather smaller than these, which breed in the cliffs of rocks.
The geese are of the same sort we found in Christmas Sound; we saw but few, and some had young ones. Mr Forster shot one which was different from these, being larger, with a grey plumage, and black feet. The others make a noise exactly like a duck. Here were ducks, but not many; and several of that sort which we called race-horses. We shot some, and found them to weigh twenty-nine or thirty pounds; those who eat of them said they were very good.
The oceanic birds were gulls, terns, Port Egmont hens, and a large brown bird, of the size of an albatross, which
Pernety calls quebrantahuessas. We called them Mother Carey's geese, and found them pretty good eating. The land-birds were eagles, or hawks, bald-headed vultures, or what our seamen called turkey-buzzards, thrushes, and a few other small birds.
Our naturalists found two new species of birds. The one is about the size of a pigeon, the plumage as white as milk. They feed along-shore, probably on shell-fish and carrion, for they have a very disagreeable smell. When we first saw these birds we thought they were the snow.peterel, but the moment they were in our possession the mistake was discovered; for they resemble them in nothing but size and colour. These are not webb-footed. The other sort is a species of curlews nearly as big as a heron. It has a variegated plumage, the principal colours whereof are light-grey, and a long crooked bill.
I had almost forgot to mention that there are sea-pies, or what we called, when in New Zealand, curlews; but we only saw a few straggling pairs. It may not be amiss to observe, that the shags are the same bird which Bougainville calls saw-bills; but he is mistaken in saying that the quebrantahuessas are their enemies ; for this bird is, of the peterel tribe, feeds wholly on fish, and is to be found in all the high southern latitudes.
It is amazing to see how the different animals which inhabit this little spot are mutually reconciled. They seem to have entered into a league not to disturb each other's tranquillity. The sea-lions occupy most of the sea-coast; the sea-bears take up their abode in the isle; the shags have post in the highest cliffs; the penguins fix their quarters where there is the most easy communication to and from the sea; and the other birds choose more retired places. We have seen all these animals mix together, like domestic cattle and poultry in a farm-yard, without one attempting to molest the other. Nay, I have often observed the eagles and vultures sitting on the hillocks among the shags, without the latter, either young or old, being disturbed at their presence. It may be asked how these birds of prey live? I suppose on the carcases of seals and birds which die by various causes; and probably not few, as they are so numerous.
This very imperfect account is written more with a view to assist my own memory than to give information to others. I am neither a botanist lior a naturalist; and have not words
to deseribe the productions of nature, either in the one bránch' of knowledge or the other.
Proceedings after leaving Staten Island, with an Account of the
Discovery of the Isle of Georgia, and a Description of it.
HAVING left the land in the evening of the 3d, as before mentioned, we saw it again next morning, at three o'clock, bearing west. Wind continued to blow a steady fresh breeze till six p. m., when it shifted in a heavy squall to S.W., which came so suddenly upon us, that we had not time to take in the sails, and was the occasion of carrying away a top-gailant mast, a studding-sail boom, and a fore studding-sail
. The squall ended in a heavy shower of rain, but the wind remained at S.W. Our course was S.E., with a view of discovering that extensive coast laid down by Mr Dalrymple in his chart, in which is the gulph of St Sebastian. I designed to make the western point of that gulph, in order to have all the other parts before me. Indeed i had some doubt of the existence of such a coast; and this appeared to me the best route for clearing it up, and for exploring the southern part of this ocean.
On the 5th, fresh gales, and wet and cloudy weather. At noon observed in 57° 9', latitude made from Cape St John, 5° 2' E. At six o'clock p. m., being in the latitude 57° 21', and in longitude 57° 45' W., the variation was 21° 28 E.
At eight o'clock in the evening of the 6th, being then in the latitude of 58° 9' S., longitude 53° 14' W., we closereefed our top-sails, and hauled to the north, with a very strong gale at west, attended with a thick haze and sleeť. The situation just mentioned is nearly the same that Mr Dalrymple assigns for the S.W. point of the gulph of SE Sebastian. But as we saw neither land, nor signs of land, I was the more doubtful of its existence, and was fearful that, by keeping to the south, I might miss the land said to be discovered by La Roche in 1675, and by the ship Lion in 1756, which Mr Dalrymple places in 54° 30' latitude, and 45° of longitude; but on looking over D'Anville's chart, I found it laid down 9° or 100 more to the west; this difference of situation being to me a sign of the uncertainty of
both accounts, determined me to get into the parallel as soon as possible, and was the reason of my hauling to the north at this time.
Towards the morning of the 7th the gale abated, the weather cleared up, and the wind veered to the W.S.W., where it continued till midnight, after which it veered to N.W. Being at this time in the latitude of 56° 4' S., longitude 53° 36' W., we sounded, but found no bottom with line of one hundred and thirty fathoms. I still kept the wind on the larboard-tack, having a gentle breeze and pleasant weather. On the 8th, at noon, a bed of sea-weed passed the ship. In the afternoon, in latitude 55° 4', longitude 51° 45' W., the variation was 20° 4' E.
On the oth, wiod at N.E., attended with thick hazy weather; saw a seal, and a piece of sea-weed. At noon, latitude 55° 12' S., longitude 50° 15' W., the wind and weather continuing the same till towards midnight, when the latter cleared up, and the former veered to west, and blew a gentle gale. We continued to ply till two o'clock the next morning, when we bore away east, and at eight E.N.E.; at noon, observed in latitude 54° 35' S., longitude 47° 56' W., a great many albatrosses and blue peterels about the ship. I now steered east, and the next morning, in the latitude of 54 38', longitude 45° 10' W., the variation was 19° 25' E: In the afternoon saw several penguins, and some pieces of weed.
Having spent the night lying-to, on the 12th, at daybreak, we bore away, and steered east northerly, with a fine fresh breeze at W.S.W.; at noon observed in latitude 54° 28' S., longitude in 42° 8' W.; that is, near 3° E. of the situation in which Mr Dalrymple places the N.E. point of the gulph of St Sebastian; but we had no other signs of land than seeing a seal and a few penguins; on the contrary, we had a swell from E.S.E., which would hardly have been, if any extensive track of land lay in that direction. In the evening the gale abated, and at midnight it fell calm.
The calm, attended by a thick fog, continued till six next morning, when we got a wind at east, but the fog still prevailed. We stood to the south till noon, when, being in the latitude of 55° 7', we tacked and stretched to the north with a fresh breeze at E. by S. and E.S.E., cloudy weather; saw several penguins and a snow-peterel, which we looked on to be signs of the vicinity of ice. The air too was much colder than we had felt it since we left New Zealand. In
the afternoon the wind veered to the S.E., and in the night to S.S.E., and blew fresh, with which we stood to the N.E.
At nine o'clock the next inorning we saw an island of ice, as we then thought, but at noon were doubtful whether it was ice or land. At this time it bore E. I S., distant thirteen leagues; our latitude was 55° 56' ), longitude 39° 26' W.; several penguins, small divers, a snow-peterel, and a vast number of blue peterels about the ship. We had but little wind all the morning, and at two p. m. it fell calm. It was now no longer doubted that it was land, and not ice, which we had in sight. It was, however, in a manner wholly covered with snow. We were farther confirmed in our judg. ment of its being land, by finding soundings at one hundred and seventy-five fathoms, a muddy bottom. The land at this time bore E. by S., about twelve leagues distant. six o'clock the calm was succeeded by a breeze at N.E., with which we stood to S.E. At first it blew a gentle gale, but afterwards increased so as to bring us under double-reefed top-sails, and was attended with snow and sleet.
We continued to stand to the S.E. till seven in the morning on the 15th, when the wind veering to the S.E., we tacked and stood to the north. A little before we tacked, we saw the land bearing E. by N. At noon the mercury in the thermometer was at 350 The wind blew in squalls, attended with snow and sleet, and we had a great sea to encounter. At a lee-lurch which the ship took, Mr Wales observed her to lie down 42o. At half past four p. m. we took in the top-sails, got down top-gallant yards, wore the ship, and stood to the S.W., under two courses. At midnight the .storm abated, so that we could carry the top-sails double. reefed.
At four in the morning of the 16th we wore and stood to the east, with the wind at S.S.E., a moderate breeze, and fair; at eight o'clock saw the land extending from E. by N. to N.E. by N.; loosed a reef out of each top-sail, got topgallant yards across, and set the sails. At noon observed in latitude 54° 25'}, longitude 38° 18' W. In this situation we had one hundred and ten fathoms water; and the land extended from N. } W. to E., eight leagues distant. The northern extreme was the same that we first discovered, and it proved to be an island, which obtained the name of Willis's Island, after the person who first saw it. At this time we had a great swell from the south, an in