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Voyages in the Southern Hemisphere, Vols. II - IIIVoyaging Accounts
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On this day ...
3 - 14 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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Rio to the Entrance of Streight La Maire, and the Inhabitants of Terra del Fuego (continued)

On the 3d of January, 1769, being in latitude 47° 17’ S. and longitude 61° 29’ 45" W. we were all looking out for Pepys’ 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 an half before we were convinced that it was nothing but what sailors call a Fogbank.

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 35 minutes of a degree on the equator: probably there is a small current setting to the 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*.

* The celebrated navigator who discovered this Streight was a native of Portugal, and his name, in the language of his country, was Fernando de Magalhaens; the Spaniards call him Hernando Magalhanes, and the French Magellan, which is the orthography that has been generally adopted: a Gentleman, the fifth in descent from this great adventurer, is now living in or near London, and communicated the true name of his ancestor to Mr. Banks, with a request that it might be inserted in this work.

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 size. The leaves are four foot 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 Fucus 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.

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© Derived from Vols. II-III of the London 1773 edition: National Library of Australia call no. FERG 7243, pages 42 - 42, 2004
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