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At 10 A.M., on the 25th of February, the Peacock, with the tender Flying-Fish, got under way, and also received parting cheers from the Vincennes and Relief as they passed out of the harbour. The wind, as with the Porpoise, was light and variable until the asternoon, when they likewise encountered the heavy squall from the southwest, which with the thick weather induced Captain Hudson to regain the outer anchorage of Orange Harbour, and remain there during the continuance of the gale. The next morning, the weather proving more favourable, they again got under way, and stood down the bay, with all sail set, and a fine breeze from the northward. Although they were passing rapidly through the water, when off Point Lort they found the flood tide so strong as to impede their progress. Indeed, such was its strength, that for a portion of the time they made little or no headway; and the tide being contrary to the wind, produced a cross and very unpleasant sea. By meridian, they had reached the island of Diego Ramieres.
The heavy bank of cumuli that had been perceived in the west, by noon began to develope itself, and by three o'clock they were under their storm-sails. The barometer, which was at 29:21 in., began to rise as it came on. This gale lasted twenty-four hours, and during its continuance the tender Flying-Fish was lost sight of Captain Hudson in his instructions to Lieutenant Walker, notified him that the Peacock would wait twelve hours in or near the situation where last seen; which he now did ; but no tidings being received of the tender, he bore away for their first rendezvous, having taken the precaution to
fix four places of meeting.
During the last gale, from her bad and defective outfits, no vessel N2 (149)
could be more uncomfortable than the Peacock, and although every precaution was taken to make the ports tight, yet from their working. it was found impossible to keep them so. After the gale, they found they had been set about three miles per hour to the southeast. Until the 3d of March, they had moderate weather. On the morning of the 4th of March, the barometer stood at 28-34 in. Shortly afterwards it began to rise, and a gale set in which blew heavily for several hours, when the weather again moderated, but the sea continued very high, and rendered the ship extremely wet. The wind varied from south-by-west to west-northwest. On the 7th they again had squalls of snow and rain, with strong gales. On the 9th, although the weather had moderated, yet the sea was very heavy, and the ship tossed and tumbled about in every direction. William Stewart, captain of the main-top, was this day knocked off the yard, and in his fall struck the main rigging, but he canted and fell overboard, when he was seen to lie quite insensible, feet up, supported by his exploring boots, which were supposed to have occasioned his fall. A bowline was thrown over them, and he was dexterously drawn on board again. The ship had but little headway, and it would have been impossible to lower a boat on account of the roughness of the sea; his rescue was therefore almost miraculous. Every care was taken of him, but it was soon found that the violence of the concussion had been so great that his lungs had become gorged with blood, and little hopes were entertained of his recovery. After lingering to the 11th, he died. He was greatly regretted by both officers and men, for he had proved himself an excellent man, and was well calculated for the service. On the same day his body was committed to the deep, with the usual ceremonies. This day they made the first iceberg. The only indication in the air or water on approaching it, was a fall of two degrees in the temperature of the former, and one degree in the latter. Their position was in latitude 64° S., and longitude 80° w. On the 13th the weather proved fine and the sea smooth, affording an opportunity of making dip observations. These gave it 75°. The variation was 33-30°E. Their position was in latitude 64° 27' S., longitude 84° W. On the 14th, Captain Hudson remarked a great and striking change in the weather since they passed the 62° of south latitude, it having become much more settled, and free from the sudden squalls and constant gales they had experienced since leaving Cape Horn. Several birds were shot this day, including an albatross and many penguins. Petrels and Cape pigeons were seen. They now began to fall in with icebergs in numbers. The temperature of the water and air had fallen to 33° and 32°. On the 15th and 16th they had very many icebergs as their compa. nions, mostly of fantastic shapes, much worn and broken, disagree able weather, with snow-squalls passing over. A continued twilight in the horizon and slight appearances of the aurora were seen, but no rays. They encountered, during the 17th, and part of the 18th, the heaviest gale and sea they had experienced since leaving the United States. The thermometer in the air stood at 21° of Fahrenheit, and in the water at 28°. The ship was completely coated with ice, even to the gun-deck. Every spray thrown over her froze, and her bows and deck were fairly packed with it. The crew suffered much from the gun-deck being constantly wet; and it being now covered with ice, the ship was damp throughout. On the 18th, the gale continued, with a heavy sea, the winds prevailing more from the south and south-southeast. There were many birds about the ship; among them a sheath-bill, which Mr. Peale made every exertion to take, but without success. A blue petrel was, however, caught. Several icebergs were in sight, and at night they had a beautiful display of the aurora australis, extending from southsouthwest to east. The rays were of many colours, radiating towards the zenith, and reaching an altitude of 30°. Several brilliant meteors were also observed. Hot coffee was now served to the crew at midnight, or at relieving of the watch, which proved exceedingly acceptable. The temperature of the air had fallen to 22°, and of the water to 28°. On the 19th they had another display of the aurora, and it exhibited a peculiar effect. In the southern quarter there was an appearance of a dense cloud, resembling a shadow cast upon the sky, and forming an arch, about 10° in altitude. Above this were seen coruscations of light, rendering all objects around the ship visible. From behind this cloud, diverging rays frequently shot up to an altitude of from 25° to 45°. These appearances continued until day dawned. The night was remarkably fine, and many shooting stars were observed. The barometer stood at 29.77 in. During the afternoon of this day, a fogbank was perceived in the southwestern quarter, and they were a short time afterwards completely enveloped in a fog so dense and thick, that they could not see twice the length of the ship. Fortunately, before it closed in, they were enabled to get good bearings of the different icebergs in sight, and particularly of those which closely surrounded them.
On the 20th, they had moderate weather, with fogs. They had now reached the longitude of 90° W., latitude 68° S., and obtained a sight of the icy barrier. The fog becoming dense, they were obliged to heave the ship to ; the sea being smooth, they took the opportunity to sound with the deep-sea line, with the apparatus for temperature. The line being of copper wire, they succeeded in getting out eight hundred fathoms of it; but when they began to reel it up, it parted, and the whole was lost. The noise of the sea beating on the icebergs was frequently heard close aboard, and several loud sounds resembling thunder, which they imputed to the breaking asunder and turning over of large icebergs. The dip was also tried, and was made 78°; the variation was found to be 33° easterly. On the fog lifting, they found themselves in near proximity to icebergs and field-ice. Some few petrels were seen about the ship, of a different species from any heretofore observed by us. All trials to obtain one proved unsuccessful. During the whole of the 21st they could not venture to run, in consequence of the dense fog, which lasted all day, with the exception of about an hour. Mr. Peale having shot one of the petrels, of the same kind as seen the day before, a boat was lowered to pick it up, of which advantage was taken to try the current. It was found setting one-third of a mile per hour to the northwest-by-west. The 22d also proved foggy. At daylight the fog lifted for a few moments, and they discovered the icy barrier extending from northeast-by-north to southeast-by-east. At about 9 A. M. the fog again lifted, when they discovered icebergs all around them, rendering their position extremely dangerous. Every endeavour was made to effect their escape as soon as possible. Besides petrels, Cape pigeons, &c., a flock of tern was seen. The wind continuing from the northward and westward, they wore ship to the northward. In the latter part of the day, considering their situation in the vicinity of so many icebergs too dangerous to be held under such circumstances, they therefore made sail, and ran off to seek a more open sea. Many whales were seen and heard during the last few days. On the 23d it partly cleared, and the fog having been succeeded by a snow-storm, the wind hauled to the west, with a heavy bank of clouds in that quarter. The barometer showed no indication of a gale; the weather turned out thick, and prevented them from seeing any distance. They had some severe squalls, accompanied with snow. On the 24th, the wind hauling to the northward and westward, brought snow and thick weather, with some heavy squalls. Many icebergs were met with, which were fortunately avoided. A sharp look-out was kept for them, and the ship put in readiness to perform any manoeuvre that might be desirable. Some of the icebergs were two hundred feet above the surface of the water, and of a pinnacle shape. The snow continued to fall fast, rendering the ship uncomfortably wet. On the 25th, the fog continued until near meridian. Many birds were seen about the ship, and many fin-back whales. They obtained a meridian observation, the first for the last six days, and found themselves in the latitude of 68° S., longitude 97° 58' W. Here, in the evening, to their great joy, they fell in with the tender Flying-Fish. On her near approach, all hands were turned up, and gave her three hearty cheers. Lieutenant Walker came on board, and reported to Captain Hudson as follows. That he had visited all the appointed rendezvous in hopes of falling in with the Peacock, but without success, having encountered very severe and boisterous weather. On the 18th they left the fourth rendezvous, having passed the 17th in its vicinity. They then turned towards the south for Cook's Ne Plus Ultra, and continued their way to the southward. The weather was at times very thick, the ice islands became numerous, and they occasionally passed a little floating ice. On the 18th the ice became abundant, and floated in large masses around them. At 4 A. M. the water was much discoloured, and some of the ice also having the appearance of being but lately detached from the land. They obtained a cast of the lead, but found no bottom at one hundred fathoms. At eight o'clock the fog lifted, and discovered, to the amazement of all, a wall of ice from fifteen to twenty feet high, extending east and west as far as the eye could reach, and spreading out into a vast and seemingly boundless field to the south. This wall was formed of masses of all sizes, and various shapes and colours. Their latitude at this time was about 67° 30' S., longitude 105° W. The weather becoming thick, they stood to the northward, and soon ran into blue water. On the 21st, at 7 A. M., they saw the ice extending in broken ranges from south-by-east to northeast, and the sea extending round to the westward. At eight o'clock, the water was again much discoloured, and many large icebergs were around. At meridian, their latitude was 68° 41' S., longitude 103° 34' W, when they again stood to the southward, running among the ice-islands with a fair wind, flattering themselves that they should before noon of the next day get further south than Cook had. But their hopes were soon blasted; for the weather became thick, and they were in consequence obliged to heave-to. The wind soon freshened to a gale, accompanied by a heavy sea. WOL. I. 20