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Voyages in the Southern Hemisphere, Vols. II - IIIVoyaging Accounts
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22 - 25 January 1769

Endeavour Voyage Maps
James Cook
Joseph Banks

South East Terra del Fuego and the Streight of Le Maire


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CHAP. VI. A general Description of the south east Part of Terra del Fuego, and the Streight of Le Maire; with some Remarks on Lord Anson's Account of them, and Directions for the Passage Westward, round this Part of America, into the South Seas.

ALMOST all writers who have mentioned the island of Terra del Fuego, describe it as destitute of wood, and covered with snow. In the winter it may possibly be covered with snow, and those who saw it at that season might perhaps be easily deceived, by its appearance, into an opinion that it was destitute of wood. Lord Anson was there in the beginning of March, which answers to our September; and we were there the beginning of January, which answers to our July, which may account for the difference of his description of it from ours. We fell in with it about twenty-one leagues to the westward of the Streight of Le Maire, and from the time that we first saw it, trees were plainly to be distinguished with our glasses; and as we came nearer, though here and there we discovered patches of snow, the sides of the hills and the sea-coast appeared to be covered with a beautiful verdure. The hills are lofty, but not mountainous, though the summits of them are quite naked. The soil in the valleys is rich, and of a considerable depth; and at the foot of almost every hill there is a brook, the water of which has a reddish hue, like that which runs through our turf bogs in England, but it is by no means ill tasted, and upon the whole proved to be the best that we took in during our voyage. We ranged the coast to the Streight, and had soundings all the way from 40 to 20 fathom, upon a gravelly and sandy bottom. The most remarkable land on Terra del Fuego is a hill, in the form of a sugar-loaf, which stands on the west side not far from the sea; and the three hills, called the three brothers, about nine miles to the westward of Cape St. Diego, the low point that forms the north entrance of the Streight of Le Maire.

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© Derived from Vols. II-III of the London 1773 edition: National Library of Australia call no. FERG 7243, pages 62 - 63, 2004
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