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There is a shoal to the westward of Cape Three Points, which Lieutenant-Commandant Long, after anchoring, sent three boats to examine. The least water found upon it was seven fathoms; this was believed to be a continuation of the Byron Shoal.
The Bellaco Rock was seen in latitude 48° 30' S., longitude 66° 07' 11" W.; there is another rock bearing S. 17° E. (true), about nine or ten miles distant, in latitude 48° 38' 44" S., longitude 66° 03' 53" W.; this last rock was found to correspond in position with the Bellaco Rock of Nodales. It would seem, therefore, that there are two rocks, and that the one given by Captain Stokes is not the true Bellaco, but that it lies in the place assigned it by Nodales in 1619; it is probable that the Relief is the first vessel that has verified the existence of both. To account for this discrepancy, it is possible that the true Bellaco was covered with the tide when Captain Stokes passed that part of the coast. At their anchorage the tide was sweeping past them at a furious rate; they had been much affected by it for the last few days, and had, on the many trials they had made, found it setting in various directions, according as the flood or ebb prevailed.
At meridian the same day they were off Port St. Julian. Lieutenant-Commandant Long thinks the vicinity of Watchman's Cape ought to be avoided, from the strong currents that exist near it.
On the 19th they made Cape Virgins, having kept along the coast until then, in from forty to sixty fathoms water, with bottom the same as before described.
On the 21st they passed Cape St. Diego with a strong northwest wind, which gradually moderated and fell calm off Good Success Bay. It was deemed prudent to wait until the threatening appearance of the weather subsided, and at 1 P. M., they anchored in Good Success Bay.
The Relief had an opportunity of proving the positions and sailing directions of Captain King, R. N., and it affords me great pleasure to say that all his observations tend to show the accuracy of the positions, and the care with which that officer has compiled his sailing directions.
No navigator frequenting this coast or passing round Cape Horn should be without the sailing directions for East and West Patagonia, and he will prize them as highly valuable after he has once used them. The admirable surveys and exertions of this officer and those under him on this coast entitle him to the rewards of his country, as well as the thanks of the civilized world.
The day they landed, no natives were seen, but many marks of a recent visit were evident on the beach and in the deserted huts. On VOL.I.
the morning of the 22d, at daylight, the natives appeared on the beach, shouting to them to land. Lieutenant-Commandant Long delayed his departure for a few hours, and landed with a number of the officers. As the boats approached the shore, the natives began their shouting, and advanced towards them on their landing without fear, exhibiting a pleasant air, and apparently with every feeling of confidence: they were all unarmed. An old man, who was the chief, came forward to salute them, first by patting his own breast several times, and then that of each individual of the party, making use of the word cu-char-lie, dwelling on the first syllable, and accenting the last, in a whining tone of voice. The meaning of cu-char-lie it was impossible to divine, for it was used for every thing. After this ceremony, they returned to the thicket, and brought forth their bows and arrows. These people were admirable mimics, and would repeat all kinds of sounds, including words, with great accuracy: the imitation was often quite ridiculous. They were naked, with the exception of a guanacoe skin, which covered them from the shoulders to the knees.
Mr. Agate's drawing of one of these Patagonians, faces the first page of this chapter.
The party of natives were seventeen in number, and with a few ex. ceptions they were above the European height. The chief, who was the oldest man among them, was under fifty years of age, and of comparatively low stature; his son was one of the tallest, and above six feet in height. They had good figures and pleasant-looking countenances, low foreheads and high cheek-bones, with broad faces, the lower part projecting; their hair was coarse and cut short on the crown, leaving a narrow border of hair hanging down; over this they wore a kind of cap or band of skin or woollen yarn. The front teeth of all of them were very much worn, more apparent, however, in the old than in the young. On one foot they wore a rude skin sandal.
Many of them had their faces painted in red and black stripes, with clay, soot, and ashes. Their whole appearance, together with their inflamed and sore eyes, was filthy and disgusting. They were thought by the officers more nearly to approach to the Patagonians than any other natives, and were supposed to be a small tribe who visit this part of Terra del Fuego in the summer months; they were entirely different from the Petcherais, whom we afterwards saw at Orange Harbour.
None of their women or children were seen, but they were thought to be not far distant in the wood, as they objected to any of our people going towards it, and showed much alarm when guns were pointed in that direction. They seemed to have a knowledge of fire.
arms, which they called eu, or spirit; and kai-eu, which they frequently uttered with gestures, was thought to indicate their Great Spirit, or God.
They had little apparent curiosity, and nothing seemed to attract or cause them surprise; their principal characteristic seemed to be jealousy. Though they are a simple race, they are not wanting in cunning; and it was with great difficulty that they could be prevailed upon to part with their bows and arrows in trade, which they however did, after asking permission from their chief: this was always necessary for them to obtain before closing a bargain. They have had communication frequently before with Europeans; pieces of many articles of European manufacture were seen in their possession, such as glass-beads, &c. They refused tobacco, whiskey, bread, or meat, and were only desirous of getting old iron, nails, and pieces of hoopiron.
Their food consists principally of fish and shell-fish. Their fishing apparatus is made of the dorsal fin of a fish, tied to a thin slip of whalebone, in the form of a barb; this serves as a good hook, and with it they obtain a supply of this food. Their arms consisted altogether of bows and arrows. The natives had the common dog, which they seemed to prize much.
Mr. Rich employed his time in botanical researches: the prominent plants were Berberes, Winteria, Vaccinium, Andromeda, Compositæ, (some woody) Cruciferæ, Umbelliferæ, &c. A number of these were
just putting forth their flowering buds. Scurvy-grasses and wild celery abounded.
The tracks of the guanacoe were seen, and some land-shells were obtained.
Captain King's description of this bay was found to be correct; the position of it by the Relief's chronometers was 65° 11' 31" W., by sights taken on shore, which is 2' 13" to the west of the longitude assigned it by him. The latitude was not obtained, but that given by Captain King, 54° 48' S., is believed to be correct.
The morning of the 23d they left Good Success Bay. On the 25th, having made but little progress to the westward, and the usual and certain appearance of bad weather approaching, Lieutenant-Commandant Long determined to anchor under New Island to await it, which was accordingly done at five o'clock the same evening, in thirty fathoms. Shortly afterwards it blew furiously, with rain and hail, which continued throughout the night.
The plants were the same as those seen at Good Success Bay, but were much farther advanced, being in full flower. Several heath-like plants and many new grasses were procured. During the time they were at anchor, some tide was perceptible, but it was quite irregular.
The latitude of the anchorage was determined to be 55° 17' S. longitude 66° 13' W. It is not deemed a suitable or safe anchorage, unless well provided with good ground-tackle.
On the 26th they again were under way for Orange Harbour, which they reached four days afterwards, where they were employed preparing for sea and accumulating fire-wood, preparatory to the arrival of the rest of the squadron. They had also established a light-house on the top of Burnt Island, which forms the protection to Orange Harbour on the east, as directed by their orders. On the 17th of February, as before stated, the Relief was joined by the rest of the squadron.