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There were but few days on which rain did not fall during some portion of the twenty-four hours, but seldom heavily; lightning and thunder occurred once during the time. The climate may be called extremely boisterous, although from the fact of the natives being without any kind of covering, one would suppose it cannot be very variable as to temperature, throughout the year. The want of clothing is not, however, peculiar to all the natives; those seen at Good Success Bay were well covered with guanacoe-skins, and are a finer-looking and taller race of men.
Observations of any kind are difficult to be had at Orange Harbour, .either by day or night.
While Lieutenant Carr and his party were at the observatory, a wolf was seen, at which Midshipman Clark fired, but supposed he was not shot. The next morning he was found dead at a short distance from the place. He appeared very ferocious and fearless. Mr. Drayton made a correct drawing of him, and a number of measurements were taken. The hair was long over the whole body, and that about the neck and shoulders stood erect. It was a male, weighed fifteen pounds and three quarters, and measured, from nose to tip of tail, three feet six and three-fourths inches, and stood sixteen inches and a half high; colour of back, top of head and tail, gray, the latter with a tuft of black at its end; sides of head and outside of legs reddish brown; white between the legs and on the belly. Dr. Fox some days afterwards shot a female near the same place; she had attacked one of the men, and seized his pea-jacket.
The wolf is the only land animal that is a native of the soil, and is supposed the same as that described by Captain King. The natives have many dogs.
Of land birds, we found the upland goose, a most beautiful eagle, a few plover, and some small birds. There are great quantities of wild fowl, geese, ducks, and the usual sea birds, to be seen at all times in the harbour, where they find abundance of food among the kelp.
A number of burnt human bones were dug up in a cave; but whether the natives burn their dead or not, we had no opportunity of ascertaining.
Orange Harbour is an excellent place to obtain wood and water. The latter is easily procured and of good quality. Winter-bark may be obtained here in large quantities; scurvy-grass and wild celery are also plentiful around the shores ; and fish are in abundance.
As a resort for vessels in distress or affected with scurvy, &c. &c., this port may be recommended; and it is the only one on this coast that offers a safe and convenient harbour to supply, their wants.
On the 17th April, the time having expired for the return of the Relief, I concluded to leave Orange Harbour with the Vincennes and Porpoise. Believing the Relief had been detained, the Flying-Fish and Sea-Gull tenders were both left to await her arrival, for ten days, to take the scientific gentlemen on board, and join us at Valparaiso, in order to prevent detention by the slow sailing of that ship.
We got under way; but the wind drawing ahead, with appearances of bad weather, we anchored in Scapenham Bay. The weather becoming stormy, and thinking the place in which we were anchored too much exposed, we again got under way, ran back, and anchored in Orange Bay.
Before leaving these desolate and stormy regions, it may be expected that I should say a few words relative to the passage round the Cape. There are so many opinions relative to the best manner of proceeding in this navigation, that one in consulting them derives but little satisfaction, no two authorities agreeing in their views upon the subject. I am inclined to believe that as much depends upon the vessel, and the manner in which she is navigated, as the route pursued, whether the Cape is passed close to, or given a good berth: the object of all is to pass it as quickly as possible, and taking into consideration the difficulties to be incurred from boisterous weather, heavy seas, and ice, it is impossible to lay down any precise rule: that course which appears most feasible at the time ought to be adopted, keeping, however, in view, that there is no danger to be apprehended in navigating on the western coast of Terra del Fuego, as the current sets along its coast, and it is perfectly safe and practicable to navigate it as far as Cape Pillar. The great difficulty exists in passing the pitch of the Cape; there is none afterwards in getting to the westward. On the coast, the wind seldom blows long from the same quarter, but veers from southwest to northwest: the gales generally begin at the former quarter and end at the latter. Previous to the southwest gales, it would, therefore, in all cases, be advisable, when indications of their occurrence are visible, (which are known by the banks of cumuli in that quarter, some twenty-four hours previously,) to stand to the southward and westward in preference, with as much sail as well can be carried, that when the change occurs, you may be ready to stand on the other tack to the northward. One thing every navigator ought to bear in mind, that it requires all the activity and perseverance he may be possessed of, to accomplish it quickly.
On the 20th we took our final leave of these waters, and on the 21st lost sight of land, passing to the northward of the island of Diego Ramieres.
On the 23d, during a strong gale, we parted company with the Porpoise. On the 28th, found ourselves in longitude 78° 30' W., latitude 56° 30' S., when I kept away to the northward, it blowing violently from the southward and westward, with a heavy sea.
On the 30th, we had reached the latitude of 43° S., longitude 76° W., when the wind came out from the northward. It being a mild day, we caught with a small hook, several fine albatrosses, ten feet six inches from wing to wing. They were preserved as specimens.
Immediately after leaving Orange Harbour, dysentery made its appearance on board the Vincennes, and ran through the whole ship's company. Some of the officers were also affected.
It proved of a very mild type, and readily yielded to medical treatment. Upon our arrival at Valparaiso, it had entirely disappeared. The medical officers were unable to account for it, the health of the ship's company having been very good during our stay at Orange Harbour. It was not thought to be owing to the water, as they had been using it for two months without any bad effect, but I think must be imputed to the cold and wet we experienced in the first part of the passage.
On the 10th, we made the island of Mocha. The northerly wind continued until the 11th of May, when we had a gale for several hours. The barometer indicated this gale by a fall of .300 in. This gale seemed to break up our adverse winds, and we were shortly afterwards enabled to lay our course. This was the first fair wind for nine days, the head winds having continued from the 2d till the 11th instant.
On the 13th, in latitude 36° S., we took the trade-winds, Cape pigeons, and albatrosses still continuing with us.
On the 15th we made the land off Valparaiso, and before noon anchored in the bay, where we found the Peacock, and received tidings that the Relief had sailed with the store-ship Mariposa for Callao. The Porpoise arrived on the 16th, and the Flying-Fish reached Valparaiso on the 19th, after having experienced extremely boisterous weather.
CHAPTER I X.
APPROACH THE COAST-CORDILLERAS-VISIT TO AUTHORITIES OF VALPARAISO
LANDING OF INSTRUMENTS-CUSTOM-HOUSE OFFICERS-MR. COOD-OBSERVATORY
G. G. HOBSON, ESQ.-NORTHERS-PERCEPTIBLE CHANGE IN THE BAY-VALPARAISODESCRIPTION OF IT-ITS ORDER AND GOVERNMENT_TRAIT OF CHILIANS-POLICE
THEIR SIGNAL-SHOPS - AMUSEMENTS -CHINGANO-DANCES-SAMACUECA-HIGHER
CLASSES - DRESS - TASTE FOR MUSIC-FONDNESS FOR FLOWERS-GENERAL PRIETO
-HONOURS PAID HIM-BALL-DESCRIPTION OF IT.