« ZurückWeiter »
to strike our top-gallant-masts, and get up our stumps; but this day it blew a storm, with a terrible sea, and the ship laboured so much, that, to ease her, I ordered the two fore. inost and two aftermost guns to be thrown overboard: The gale continued with nearly equal violence all the rest of the day, and all night, so that we were obliged to lie-to under a double-reefed main-sail ; but in the
morning, it being more moderate, and veering from N.W. to S. by W. we made sail again, and stood to the westward. We were now in latitude 35° 50 S. and found the weather as cold as it is at the same season in England, although the month of November here is a spring month, answering to our May, and we were near twenty degrees nearer the Line: To us, who within little more than a week had suffered intolerable heat, this change was most severely felt : And the men who, supposing they were to continue in a hot climate during the whole voyage, bad contrived to sell not only all their warm clothes, but their bedding, at the different ports where we had touched, now applied in great distress for slops, and were all furnished for the climate.
On Friday the 2d of November, after administering the proper oaths to the lieutenants of both ships, I delivered ihem their commissions; for till this time they acted only under verbal orders from me, and expected to receive their commissions in India, whither they imagined we were bound. We now began to see a great number of birds about the ship, many of them very large, of which some were brown and white, and some black : There were among them large Hocks of pintadoes, which are somewhat larger than a pigeon, and spotted with black and white. On the 4th, we saw a great quantity of rock weed, and several seals : The prevailing winds were westerly, so that being continually driven to the eastward, we foresaw that it would not be easy to get in with the coast of Patagonia. On the loth, we observed the water to change colour, but we had no ground with one hundred and forty fathom. The next day we stood in for the land till eight in the evening, when we had ground of red sand with forty-five fathom. We steered S.W. by W. all night, and the next morning had fifty-two fathom with the same ground : Our latitude now being 42° 34' S., longitude 58° 17' W., the variation 11° E.
On Monday the 12th, about four o'clock in the afternoon, as I was walking on the quarter-deck, all the people upon the forecastle called out at once, “ Land right a-head;" it was then very black almost round the horizon, and we had had much thunder and lightning ; I looked forward under the fore-sail, and upon the lee-bow, and saw what at first appeared to be an island, rising in two rude craggy hills, but upon looking to leeward I saw land joining to it, and running a long way to the south-east: We were then steering S.W. and I sent officers to the mast-head to look out upon the weather-beam, and they called out that they saw land also a great way to the windward. I immediately brought to, and sounded; we had still fifty-two fathom, but I thought that we were embayed, and rather wished than hoped that we should get clear before night. We made sail and steered E.S.E. the land still having the same appearance, and the hills looking blue, as they generally do at a little distance in dark rainy weather, and now many
of the people said that they saw the sea break upon the sandy beaches; but having steered out for about an hour, what we had taken for land vanished all at once, and to our astonishment appeared to have been a fog-bank. Though I had been almost continually at sea for seven-and-twenty years, I had never seen such a deception before ; others, however, have been equally deceived; for the master of a ship not long since made oath, that he had seen an island between the west end of Ireland and Newfoundland, and even distinguished the trees that grew upon it. Yet it is certain that no such island exists, at least it could never be found, though several ships were afterwards sent out on purpose to seek it. And I am sure, that if the weather had not cleared up soon enough for us to see what we had taken for land disappear, every man on board would freely have made oath, that land had been discovered in this situation.
The next day, at four o'clock in the afternoon, the weather being extremely fine, the wind shifted at once to the S.W. and began to blow fresh, the sky at the same time becoming black to windward : In a few ininutes all the people that were upon the deck were alarmed with a sudden and unusual noise, like the breaking of the sea upon the shore. I ordered the top-sails to be handed immediately; but before it could be donė, I saw the sea approaching at some distance, in vast billows covered with foam ; I called to the people to haul up the fore-sail, and let go the inain-sheet
instantly; instantly; for I was persuaded that if we had any sail out when the gust reached us, we should either be overset, or lose all our masts. It reached us, however, before we could raise the main tack, and laid us upon our beam-ends; the main tack was then cut, for it was become impossible to cast it off; and the main sheet struck down the first lieutenant, bruised him dreadfully, and beat out three of his teeth : the main-topsail, which was not quite handed, was split to pieces. If this squall, which came on with less warning and more violence than any I had ever seen, had taken us in the night, I think the ship must have been lost. When it came on we observed several hundred of birds flying before it, which expressed their terror by loud shrieks; it lasted about twenty minutes, and then gradually subsided. The Tamar split her main-sail, but as she was to leeward of us, she had more time to prepare. In a short time it began to blow very bard again, so that we reefed our main-sail, and lay-to all night. As morning approached the gale became more moderate, but we had still a great sea, and the wind shifting to S. by W. we stood to the westward under our courses. Soon after it was light, the sea appeared as red as blood, being covered with a small shell-fish of that colour, .somewhat resembling our cray-fish, but less, of which we took up great quantities in baskels.
At half an hour past four in the morning of the 15th of November, we saw land, which had the appearance of an island about eight or nine leagues long, there being no land in sight either to the northward or southward, though by the charts it should be Cape Saint Helena, which projects from the coast to a considerable distance, and forms two bays, one to the north, and the other to the south. As the weather was very fine, I tacked and stood in for it about ten o'clock; but as there were many sunken rocks at about two leagues distance from it, upon which the sea broke very high, and the wind seemed to be gradually dying away,
1 tacked again and stood off. The land appeared to be barren and rocky, without either tree or bush: When I was nearest to it I sounded, and had, forty-five fathom, with black muddy ground. To my great misfortune, my three lieutenants and the master were at this time so ill as to be incapable of duty, though the rest of the ship's company were in good health. The next day I shaped my course by the chart in the aer
count of Lord Anson’s voyage, for Cape Blanco." In the evening it blew extremely hard at S.W. by S. so that we brought to for the night under our main-sail. In the morn ing we made sail again, but we had a great sea; and although it was now almost Midsummer in these parts, the weather was, in every respect, much worse than it is in the Bay of Biscay at the depth of winter. About six in the evening, having carried all the sail I could, we made land, bearing about S.S.W.which, as we had a good observation of the sun, we knew to be Cape Blanco; but it now began to blow with more violence than ever, and the storm continued all night, with a sea that was continually breaking over us, so that the ship laboured very much. At four in the morning, we sounded and had forty fathom, with rocky ground; having stood off in the night, we now wore and stood in again, the storm still continuing with hail and snow; and about six o'clock we saw the land again, bearing S.W. by W. The ship was now so light, that in a gale of wind she drove bodily to leeward; so that I was very solicitous to get into Port Desire, that I might put her hold in order, and take in sufficient ballast, to avoid the danger of being caught upon a lee-shore in her present trim. We steered in for the land with the wind at N.E. and in the evening brought to; but the wind coming to the westward, we were driven off in the night. At seven the next morning, we stood in again, steering S.W. by S. by the compass, and so on perceived the sea to break right a-head of us; we immediately sounded, and shoaled our water from thirteen to seven fathom, soon after deepening it again from seventeen to forty-two; so that we went over the end of a shoal, which a little farther to the northward might have been fatal to us. Cape Blanco at this time bore W.S.W. S. distant four leagues : But we were still at a loss for Port Desire, it being impossible that any description should be more confused than that which Sir John Narborough has given of this harbour. I stood into a bay to the southward of the cape, as he directs, but could find no such place; I therefore stood along the shore to the southward, the wind blowing off the land very hard, and saw several large co
? So called after the name of his ship, the Desire, by Sir Thomas Candish, or Cavendish, who put in there on the 27th of November, 1586. See vol. x. p. 70.---..
lumns of smoke rising in many places, but no tree or bush, the country resembling in appearance ibe barren downs of England. We observed also that the water was frequently very shallow at the distance of seven or eight miles from the shore, for we had many times not more than ten falhom.
We continued to stand along the shore all day as near as possible, and in the evening we saw an island at the distance of about six leagues; in the morning we stood in for it, and found that it corresponded with Narborough's description of Penguin Island. As Port Desire is said to lie about three leagues north-west of this island, I sent the boat to look for it, and when she returned, having found it, I stood in for the land. There were thousands of seals and penguins about the ship, and near Penguin Island several smaller islands, or rather rocks. In the evening we saw a remarkable rock, rising from the water like a steeple, on the south side of the entrance of Port Desire; this rock is an excellent mark to know the harbour, which it would otherwise be difficult to find. At night, there being little wind, we anchored at the distance of four or five miles from the shore; and in the morning, with a breeze from the land, we turned up the harbour's mouth ; we found it very narrow, with many rocks and shoals about it, and the most rapid tide I had ever known. I came to an anchor off the harbour in nine fathom, the entrance of the river being open, and bearing W.S.W. Penguin Island S.E. J E. distant about three leagues; the Steeple Rock S.W. by. W. the northermost land N.N.W. and two rocks, which are covered at balf tide, and lie at the southermost extremity of a reef which runs from the same land, N.E. by N. I mention all these bearings particularly, because I think it may be of importance to future navigators, especially as the descriptions that have been given of this place by the few who have already visited it, are extremely defective. The wind blew very hard the greater part of this day, and there ran an ugly sea where we were stationed, yet I ordered our two boats to sound the harbour, and attended in my own boat myself. We found it very narrow for near two miles, with a tide running at the rate of eight miles an hour ; we found also many rocks and shoals, but all the danger shows itself above water. When we came to the shore I landed, and walked a little way into the country, which as far as I could see was all downs, without a single tree or shrub. We saw the