Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

the channel. Within the entrance, the course up the bay is first N. by W. W. and N.N.W. something more than a league; this will bring the vessel the length of the great road; and N.W. and W.N.W. one league more will carry her to the isle dos Cobras, which lies before the city: She should then keep the north side of this island close on board, and anchor above it, before a monastery of Benedictines which stands upon a hill at the N.W. end of the city.

The river, and indeed the whole coast, abounds with a greater variety of fish than we had ever seen; a day seldom passed in which one or more of a new species were not brought to Mr Banks: The bay also is as well adapted for catching these fish as can be conceived; for it is full of small islands, between which there is shallow water, and proper beaches for drawing the seine. The sea, without the bay, abounds with dolphins, and large mackerel of different kinds, which readily bite at a hook, and the inhabitants always tow one after their boats for that purpose.

Though the climate is hot, the situation of this place is certainly wholesome;6 while we stayed here the thermometer never rose higher than 83 degrees. We had frequent rains, and once a very hard gale of wind.

Ships water here at the fountain in the great square, though, as I have observed, the water is not good, they land their casks upon a smooth sandy beach, which is not more than a hundred yards distant from the fountain, and upon application to the viceroy, a centinel will be appointed to look after them, and clear the way to the fountain where they are to be filled.

Upon the whole, Rio de Janeiro is a very good place for ships to put in at that want refreshment: The harbour is safe and commodious; and provisions, except wheatenbread and flour, may be easily procured: As a succedaneum for bread, there are yams and cassada in plenty; beef, both fresh and jerked, inay be bought at about two-pence

farthing

6 Mr Barrow seems to think otherwise ; according to him, it is by no means healthy, and the interminable annoyance of the musquitoes renders it as injurious to intellectual, as it is on other accounts to bodily welfare. Perhaps, however, he assigns too much agency to these very vexatious insects, when he says it is impossible for any man to think at all profitably in their company. His description then, it may be inferred, was written at a very respectful distance from the din and venom of the noisome pest.-E.

-,

farthing a pound; though, as I have before remarked, it is very lean. The people here jerk their beef by taking out the bones, cutting it into large but thin slices, then curing it with salt, and drying it in the shade: It eats very well, and, if kept dry, will remain good a long time at sea. Mutton is scarcely to be procured, and hogs and poultry are dear; of garden-stuff and fruit-trees there is abundance, of which, however, none can be preserved at sea but the pumpkin; rum, sugar, and molasses, all excellent in their kind, may be had at a reasonable price; tobacco also is cheap, but it is not good. Here is a yard for building shipping, and a small hulk to heave down by; for, as the tide never rises above six or seven feet, there is no other way of coming at a ship's bottom.

When the boat which had been sent on shore returned, we hoisted her on board, and stood out to sea.

SECTION III.

The Passage from Rio de Janeiro to the entrance of the Streight

of Le Maire, with a Description of some of the Inhabitants of Terra del Fuego.

On the 9th of December, we observed the sea to be covered with broad streaks of a yellowish colour, several of them a mile long, and three or four hundred yards wide: Some of the water thus coloured was taken up, and found to be full of innumerable atoms pointed at the end, of a yelJowish colour, and none more than a quarter of a line, or the fortieth part of an inch long: In the microscope they appeared to be fasciculi of small fibres interwoven with each other, not unlike the nidus of some of the phyganeas, called caddices; but whether they were animal or vegetable substances, whence they came, or for what they were designed, neither Mr Banks nor Dr Solander could guess. The same appearance had been observed before, when we first discovered the continent of South America.'

On

'The Portuguese have a name for what is here spoken of. They call it the grassy sea.

There is to think that it is a vegetable, and not an animal production. But, on the whole, the subject has been little investigated.-E.

On the 11th we hooked a shark, and while we were playing it under the cabin window, it threw out, and drew in again several times what appeared to be its stomach: It proved to be a female, and upon being opened six young ones were taken out of it; five of them were alive, and swam briskly in a tub of water, but the sixth appeared to have been dead some time.

Nothing remarkable happened till the 30th, 'except that we prepared for the bad weather, which we were shortly to expect, by bending a new suit of sails; ' were shortly to ran a course of one hundred and sixty miles by the log, through innumerable land insects of various kinds, some upon the wing, and more upon the water, many of which were alive; they appeared to be exactly the same with the carabi, the grylli, the phalanae, aranea, and other flies that are seen in England, though at this time we could not be less than thirty leagues from land; and some of these insects, particularly the grylli aranea, never voluntarily leave it at a greater distance than twenty yards. We judged ourselves to be now nearly opposite to Baye sans fond, where Mr Dalrymple supposes there is a passage quite through the continent of America; and we thought from the insects that there might be at least a very large river, and that it had overflowed its banks.?

On the 3d of January, 1769, being in latitude 47° 17' S. and longitude 61° 29' 45' W. we were all looking out for Pepy's island, and for some time an appearance was seen in the east which so much resembled land, that we bore away for it; and it was more than two hours and a half before we were convinced that it was nothing but what sailors call a fog-bank.

The people now beginning to complain of cold, each of them received what is called a Magellanic jacket, and a pair of trowsers. The jacket is made of a thick woollen stuff, called Fearnought, which is provided by the government. We saw, from time to time, a great number of penguins, albatrosses, and sheer-waters, seals, whales, and porpoises : And on the 11th, having passed Falkland's islands, we discovered the coast of Terra del Fuego, at the distance of about four leagues, extending from the W. to S. E. by S. We had here five-and-thirty fathom, the ground soft, small slate stones. As we ranged along the shore to the S. E. at the distance of two or three leagues, we perceived smoke in several places, which was made by the natives, probably as a signal, for they did not continue it after we had passed by. This day we discovered that the ship had got near a degree of longitude to the westward of the log, which, in this latitude, is thirty-five minutes of a degree on the equator : Probably there is a small current setting westward, which may be caused by the westerly current coming round Cape Horn, and through the Streight of Le Maire, and the indraught of the Streight of Magellan.

stuff

2 The place alluded to is denominated Sin-fondo bay in Jeffrey's map, which, however imperfect as to actual geography, is perhaps the best companion to the account of the voyages published about the same period. Mr Dalrymple is an example of those warm-fancied men that make discoveries' with the celerity of mushroom beds, and from as unimportant materials too. Some Spanish charts, often the very worst authority in the world, had drawn a connection betwixt the branches of two rivers, on opposite sides the continent, and hence was deduced, in his lively imagination, a passage from sea to sea. See Jeffrey's American Atlas, where the imagia nary communication is represented by dotted lines.-E.

Having continued to range the coast on the 14th, we entered the Streight of Le Maire; but the tide turning against us, drove us out with great violence, and raised such a sea off Cape St Diego, that the waves had exactly the same appearance as they would have had if they had broke over a ledge of rocks; and when the ship was in this torrent, she frequently pitched, so that the bowsprit was under water. About noon, we got under the land between Cape St Diego and Cape St Vincent, where I intended to have anchored; but finding the ground every where hard and rocky, and shallowing from thirty to twelve fathoms, I sent the master to examine a little cove, which lay at a small distance to the eastward of Cape St Vincent. When he returned, he reported, that there was anchorage in four fathom, and a good bottom, close to the eastward of the first bluff point, on the east of Cape St Vincent, at the very entrance of the cove, to which I gave the name of Vincent's BAY: Before this anchoring ground, however, lay several rocky ledges, that were covered with sea-weed; but I was told that there was not less than eight and nine fathom 'over all of them. It will probably be thought strange, that where weeds, which grow at the bottom, appear above the surface, there should be this depth of water, but the weeds which grow upon rocky ground in these countries, and which always distinguish it from sand and ooze, are of an

enormous

enormous size. The leaves are four feet long, and some of the stalks, though not thicker than a man's thumb, above one hundred and twenty: Mr Banks and Dr Solander examined some of them, over which we sounded and had fourteen fathom, which is eighty-four feet; and as they made a very acute angle with the bottom, they were thought to be at least one-half longer: The foot-stalks were swelled into an air vessel, and Mr Banks and Dr Solander called this plant Fr.cus giganteus. Upon the report of the master, I stood in with the ship; but not trusting implicitly to his intelligence, I continued to sound, and found but four fathom upon the first ledge that I went over; concluding, therefore, that I could not anchor here without risk, I determined to seek some port in the Streight, where I might get on board such wood and water as we wanted.

Mr Banks and Dr Solander, however, being very desirous to go on shore, I sent a boat with them and their people, while I kept plying as near as possible with the ship.

Having been on shore four hours, they returned about nine in the evening, with above an hundred different plants and flowers, all of them wholly unknown to the botanists of Europe. They found the country about the bay to be in general flat, the bottom of it in particular was a plain, covered with grass; which might easily have been made into a large quantity of hay; they found also abundance of good wood and water, and fowls in great plenty. Among other things, of which nature has been liberal in this place, is Winter's bark, Winteranea aromatica ; which may easily be known by its broad leaf, shaped like the laurel, of a light green colour without, and inclining to blue within ; the bark is easily stripped with a bone or a stick, and its virtues are well known : It may be used for culinary purposes as a spice, and is not less pleasant than wholesome: Here is also plenty of wild celery and scurvy-grass. The trees are chiefly of one kind, a species of the birch, called Betula antarctica ; the stem is from thirty to forty feet long, and from two to three feet in diameter, so that in a case of necessity they might possibly supply a ship with top-masts : They are a light white wood, bear a small leaf, and cleave very straight: Cranberries were also found here in great plenty, both white and red. The persons who landed say none of the inhabitants, but

fell

« ZurückWeiter »