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and it was found, as the vessels were on different sides of them, they were set in opposite directions. The current on the outside of a line drawn from Cape Good Success to Cape Horn sets to the eastward. and vessels sailing to the westward would greatly facilitate their passage by beating within this line, taking advantage of the tide or its ebb, and passing between the Hermit Islands and the main through Nassau Bay, if the time is at all favourable for it. In case of necessity, they may obtain good anchorage. To the eastward of Cape Horn I obtained a sounding with the dee sea thermometer to the depth of four hundred and fifty fathoms. The temperature at the surface was 44°, and when the thermometer came up it showed but 28°. The sounding was perpendicular, and the thermometer had been examined by two or three persons before going down, so that we were assured there was no mistake. So remarkable a circumstance surprised me not a little. It was too late to attempt another sounding that night, and I regretted in the morning to find myself on soundings in eighty fathoms water. The temperature at that depth did not fall below 46°, whilst at the surface it was at 49°. The coast of Terra del Fuego presents the same general character throughout, of high, broken, and rugged land, which appears of a uniform elevation of about one thousand or fifteen hundred feet, with here and there a peak or mountain covered with snow, rising to some four or five thousand feet. The whole wears a sombre and desolate aspect. It may be said to be iron-bound, with many high and isolated rocks, that have become detached from the land apparently by the wear of ages. Numerous unexpected indentations occur all along the coast, many of them forming harbours for small vessels, and some of them very safe ones. On Captain King's report of Orange Harbour, I had determined to make that our place of rendezvous previous to our first Antarctic trip, and accordingly all the vessels were ordered to proceed thither. We had his directions, although we were without the chart. I felt confident I might repose full reliance in them, from his well-known ability; and I now offer an acknowledgment of their value and general accuracy. The channels formed by the islands are deep, with no anchorage except in the coves near the rocks; but a vessel is generally safe in passing through, as there are no dangers but those which show themselves, and wherever rocks are, kelp will be found growing upon them. To pass through the kelp without previous examination is not safe. It borders all the shores of the bays and harbours, and effectually points out the shoal water.
It was my intention to pass within or to the north of the Hermit Islands into Nassau Bay, but the wind did not permit our doing so. This bay forms a large indenture in the southern coast of Terra del Fuego, a few miles to the northward of Cape Horn; it is about thirty miles east and west, by eight miles north and south, and is somewhat protected from the heavy seas by the Hermit Islands. Around the bay are found some harbours sheltered by small islands, and surrounded by precipitous rocky shores, with occasionally a small ravine forming a cove, into which streams of pure water discharge themselves, affording a safe and convenient landing-place for boats.
On the morning of the 16th, on board the Porpoise, Lieutenant Dale observed a remarkable parhelion, of which he made the annexed sketch.
The upper is the true sun, the lower the mock sun. They were of equal size, and nearly of the same brightness. The latter was about a diameter below the former. The sun's altitude was 8°. At the same altitude, and 21° 40' south of it, was another mock sun, showing prismatic colours towards the sun, and with a brush of light in opposition. "No halo or arc was seen. The whole disappeared in about fifteen minutes. The masthead temperature was not noted on board the Porpoise; but according to that of the Vincennes, there was a dif. ference of five degrees in temperature at the time between the deck and the masthead, showing a state of atmosphere favourable to this phenomenon. Barometer 29.55 in., temperature 42°.
In passing the cape, the weather was delightful. We sailed within two miles of this dreaded promontory, and could not but admire its
worn and weather-beaten sides, that have so long been invested with all the terrors that can beset sailors. Here we first encountered the long swell of the Pacific, but there was scarcely a ripple on its surface. Although the landscape was covered with snow, the lowest temperature we had yet experienced was 40°Fahrenheit. The Porpoise, just before night, made signal that she wished to speak us, and sent on board a tub filled with a large medusa, for examination by the naturalists. Its dimensions were nine feet in circumference; the brachia seven feet long. It proved to be the Acalepha medusa pelagia of Cuvier. On the 17th of February, we had É an extraordinary degree of mirage or refraction of the Peacock, exhibiting three images, two of which were upright and one inverted. They were all extremely well defined. The temperature on deck was 54°, that at masthead 62°. A vessel that was not in sight from the Vincennes' decks, became visible, as in the annexed sketch; the land
- - PEAcock. at the same time was much distorted, both vertically and horizontally. Barometer stood at 29.62 in. ; hygrometer 10°. * * On board the Peacock, similar appearo o ances were observed of the Vincennes and *-i-o-o-o-o: o, Porpoise. There was, however, a greater Z-... difference between the masthead tempe* rature and that on deck, the thermometer standing at 62° at masthead, while on deck it was but 50°, being a difference of 12°, that on board the Vincennes differed only 8°. The sketches were taken about the same time: that made of the Peacock on board the Vincennes it will be seen was o "the most elongated. We continued beating into the passage between the Hermit Islands and False Cape Horn, and found great
difficulty in passing Point Lort, from the very strong outward set of the tide, which we found to run with a velocity of five miles an hour. We were not able to make way against it, though the log gave that rate of sailing. After beating about in this channel a long and dark night, with all hands up, we made sail at daylight, and at half. past 6 A. M. anchored in Orange Harbour. Here we found the Relief and tenders, all well. The Relief, it will be remembered, was left by the boats at the mouth of Rio Harbour, on the 19th December. Lieutenant-Commandant Long found it necessary to come to anchor before they cleared Raza Island, in consequence of its falling calm, and the flood tide drifting them in towards the harbour. The next day they took their departure, and with a northerly wind steered on their course to the southward, with hazy weather. On the 22d they experienced a current of twenty miles to the eastward. The barometer stood lower than had been observed before, 29-79 in. The weather had the appearance of a change, the wind hauling to the southward by the west, and then to the southeast quarter, with clear and pleasant weather. The 26th, the sea was extremely luminous in large patches; temperature of the water 73°. On the 27th, in longitude 50° 19 W., latitude 35° 11’ S., being three hundred miles off the mouth of the Rio Plata, they found the water very much discoloured; its temperature had fallen to 70°; no bottom was found with one hundred and fifty fathoms of line. Three sail of American whalers were in sight, one of which they spoke. The 28th, the current was found setting to the east-southeast, twelve miles. The 29th, in latitude 38°54′ S., longitude 54°00'W., the water was still much discoloured, its temperature having fallen to 56°; air 66°. The ship was set southwest forty-six miles in twenty-four hours. No bottom was obtained with the deep sea line. On this and the next day the ship was surrounded by large numbers of birds, consisting of albatross, black petrel, &c. Shoals of porpoises and seals, and large patches of kelp, were met with. The current was now found to have changed to north-northeast, fourteen miles. On the 31st they had reached the latitude of 40° S. Many tide rips were here observed, and the water continued very much discoloured, having the appearance of shoal river-water. Although the chart indicated bottom at fifty-five fathoms, a long distance to the eastward, none was found with one hundred and seventy fathoms. The cur
rent was felt setting north 69° east, thirty-six miles; water fell to 55°, air 59°. On the 1st of January, they obtained soundings in fifty-five fathoms, fine yellow and black sand; this day there occurred a thunder-storm, with rain and hail. The current was north 49° east, thirty-one miles; temperature of the water 54°, that of the air 64°. On the 2d, latitude 41° 24′ S., longitude 58° 40'W., the wind was from the northward and westward, and was accompanied by hazy weather; the temperature of the water rose to 58°, air 66°. The cold water which had been passed through had continued for a distance of one hundred and sixty miles; the current was found, by anchoring a boat, to set south-half-west three-fourths of a mile per hour. The same kind of soundings continued; some large dark spots were discovered in the water, but on examination they proved to be shoals of small fish resembling herring. Immense flocks of sea birds were still met with. The current from the 4th till the 7th was setting northeast-by-east, ten to twenty miles a day; water and air continued at about 60°. On the 5th, in dredging, they succeeded in obtaining a number of interesting shells, from deep water. On the 9th they discovered the coast of Patagonia, near Point Lobos. It appeared low at first sight, but, on approaching it, showed a level table-land, between four and five hundred feet high. At eight miles south of Cape Raza, latitude 44° 20' S., longitude 65° 06' W., the water was seen to break moderately in the direction of east-northeast and west-southwest; a boat was lowered, and an officer sent to examine the shoal: the least depth of water found was fourteen fathoms. On the 10th they rounded Cape St. Joseph's. The country was destitute of trees; only a few shrubs were seen: it appeared covered with a tall grass, and the only living thing seen was a herd of guanacoes. During the sail down the coast the dredge continued to be used, and with success, and many interesting objects were obtained; among them, terebratulas, chitons, corallines, sponges, many small and large crustaceous animals, and large volutes (Cymbiola magellanica.) On the 12th they again discovered land to the southward and westward, which afterwards proved to be Cape Three Points. Captain King's remarks, relative to the apex of one of the hills, as not being visible to the northeast, was found to be erroneous: it was distinctly seen on board the Relief at a distance of twenty miles. It is one of the most remarkable headlands of the coast, showing as it does above the flat table-land that is immediately behind it.