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ON the 17th of August I received my sailing instructions, and final orders to put to sea the moment I was ready. The signal was accordingly made that the squadron was under sailing orders. At 3 o'clock P. M., on Saturday, the 18th, the signal for sailing was made, and we got under way with an ebb tide, and a light air from southwest. At 5 P. M. we anchored at the Horseshoe, in consequence of its falling calm and of the tide making against us; but at 9 P. M. the wind freshened, when we tripped and stood down the bay. At 4 A. M. on the 19th, we passed Cape Henry Light; at 9 A. M. discharged our pilot and took our departure. At 11 A. M. all hands were called to muster, and divine service was performed. The day was beautiful, the sea smooth, the wind light. and the squadron around, with the land sinking from our view. I shall never forget the impressions that crowded on me during that day in the hours of service. It required all the hope I could muste to outweigh the intense feeling of responsibility that hung over me I may compare it to that of one doomed to destruction. We were admonished in the discourse to repose confidence in the aid and protection of Him whom all hands had been called to worship, and the admonition was well calculated to do us good. Orders were now given to rendezvous, in case of separation, at Madeira. It was soon found, in the trial of the sailing qualities of the vessels, that the Relief was unsuited to act with the rest without great detention, and after four days I determined to part company with her, giving her orders to proceed to the Cape de Verdes. The novelty of our situation was quite enough to interest all; free communications were had, and endeavours were made to excite a general interest in all the objects that were passing about us. It was amusing to see all entering into the novel occupation of dissecting the fish taken, and to hear scientific names bandied about between Jack and his shipmates. On the 25th I began the trial of the current with the current-log; and experiments by sinking a white object to ascertain the distance to which the solar light penetrates the sea. Our current-log was formed of two small kegs with a distance-line between them of five fathoms, and the log-line fastened to the middle of it. One keg is made heavy enough to sink another air-tight, just beneath the surface of the water, so that we get the current uninfluenced by wind, and all the other circumstances that would affect the ship and not the surface current. I adopted for the other experiments the usual sea anchor for a boat, viz., an iron pot, painting the bottom of it white. The depths were noted when it was lost sight of, and when it was again seen, and the mean of these depths was taken for the result. From our position in latitude 36° 08' N., longitude 71°24' W., and the temperature of the water, we knew we were on the edge of the Gulf Stream; and we experienced what I presume has been called the eddy current. It was found setting to the west and northwest, but ought more properly to be termed an indraught to the Stream. I am little disposed to believe that a southerly current exists, as has been reported, like the inner one. We had a fine opportunity for examining the temperature of the Stream, as we crossed it at right angles to its course, and the thermometer was observed hourly while making little progress through the water: the maximum temperature of the water was found to be 83°, and width of the Stream about fifty-three miles. Much information might be acquired by a series of experiments in the Gulf Stream, which would tend to perfect the navigation and shorten the passage between the ports on our coast. It is to be hoped it will claim the attention of those engaged on the coast survey. On the 25th of August our winds became favourable, and we were enabled to lay our course towards Madeira. I continued to keep the direction of the Gulf Stream towards the Western Islands. We felt its influence until we reached the longitude of 48° W., and found it to set for the last few days to the northward of east. The winds had been light and the sea smooth, indicating no other impulse than the flow of the Stream. The temperature gradually decreased from 83° to 75°. On the night of the 26th we parted company with the Peacock and Flying-Fish in a squall, and did not again meet them until we reached Madeira. The 2d September we spoke a brig from Salem on a whaling voyage. The 5th of September, being near the reported shoal of St. Anne, I determined to pass over its position. On the 6th we passed over it, the sea was smooth, the horizon clear, and the day beautiful. At 8 A. M. the look-out cried out “Rocks, or a wreck on the starboard bow !” which at once created an excitement on board. We stood for it. It had at first every appearance of a rock, then that of a wreck with the masts gone. It proved, however, to be a large tree of cotton-wood, one hundred and twenty feet in length, and fourteen feet in circumference at the height of five feet above the roots. It had been a long time in the water, was full of barnacles, and much eaten by the teredo navalis. Great quantities of fish were about it, consisting of dolphins, sharks, &c. We did not, however, succeed in taking any. In rough weather it might easily have been mistaken for a rock, particularly if passed in twilight, or at night. There is little doubt in my mind that many of the numerous vigias that appear on our charts have as little foundation. No current was experienced hereabouts, and I am led to the conclusion that a sort of eddy or still water is here found, wherein most of the wood carried by the Gulf Stream becomes deposited for a time. On the 8th, longitude 34° 08' W., latitude 37° 17' N., the current was found setting to the southward and westward. In consequence of the wind being from the southward and westward, I was compelled, after making the Peak of Pico, to go to the northward of St. Michael's. I am satisfied, however, it is much better to keep to the southward, as the wind will be found more steady and stronger. Besides, the current, at that season of the year, sets to the westward among the islands. As we passed St. Michael's, we amused ourselves by a view, through our glasses, of its villas, groves, and cultivated fields. On the night of the 13th we laid by, just after passing the north end of St. Michael's, in order to examine the position of the Tullock Reef by daylight. We passed within a mile and a half of its reported

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