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Voyages in the Southern Hemisphere, Vols. II - IIIVoyaging Accounts
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9 December 1768 - 2 January 1769

Endeavour Voyage Maps
James Cook
Joseph Banks

Rio to the Entrance of Streight La Maire, and the Inhabitants of Terra del Fuego


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CHAP. 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 yellowish 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 11th we hooked a shark, and while we were playing it under the cabbin 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 for 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; but on this day we an 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 Phalanæ, 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 and 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.

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© Derived from Vols. II-III of the London 1773 edition: National Library of Australia call no. FERG 7243, pages 39 - 40, 2004
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