Wednesday, 25th. Winds from the South to the West-North-West, the first part fresh Gales and Squally with some Rain; Middle, little wind with Hail and Rain; latter, fresh Gales and Hazey, with Showers of Rain. At 8 p.m. the Island of Evouts North-West, distant 3 or 4 miles. Variation, per morning Amplitude 21 degrees 16 minutes East. At 8 a.m. the Southermost low point of land seen Yesterday Bore South 74 degrees West, and a remarkable Peaked Hill to the Southward of it South-West; and soon after we discovered that the land which we took Yesterday to be a part of the Main or an Island, was three Islands, which I take to be Hermites. At Noon the South Point of the Southermost Island bore North-West by West distant 3 leagues, having then 58 fathoms Peble Stones. This Point is pretty high and consists of Peaked Craggy rocks, and not far from it lay several others high above Water. It lies in the Latitude of 55 degrees 53 minutes South and South-West 26 Leagues from Straits La Mair, and by some on board thought to be Cape Horn; but I was of another Opinion, and with good reason, because we saw land to the Southward of it about 3 or 4 leagues. It appeared not unlike an Island with a very high round Hummock upon it; this I believe to be Cape Horn, for after we had stood about 3 Leagues the weather cleared up for about a quarter of an hour, which gave us a sight of the land bearing West-South-West, but we could see no land to the southward or Westward of it, and therefore conclude that it must be the Cape, but whether it be an Island of itself, a part of the Southermost of Hermits Islands, or a part of Terra del Fuego, I am not able to determine. However, this is of very little Consequence to Navigation: I only wished to be Certain whether or no it was the Southermost Land on or near to Terra del Fuego; but the thick foggy weather and the westerly winds which Carried us from the land prevented me from satisfying my Curiosity in this point, but from its Latitude and the reasons before given I think it must, and if so it must be Cape Horn, and lies in the latitude of 55 degrees 53 minutes South and Longitude 68 degrees 13 minutes West from the Meridian of Greenwich, being the Mean result of Several Observations of the sun and moon made the day after we left the land, and which agreed with those made at Straits Le Mair, allowing for the distance between one place and the other, which I found means very accurately to determine. As we are now about taking our departure from the Land, which we are not likely to fall in with again, I shall give a more full Description of such parts of the Coasts of Terra del Fuego as hath fallen under my inspection. We fell in with this Coast 21 Leagues to the Westward of Straits Le Mair, and ranged the coast from thence to the Strait within 2 or 3 Leagues of the Land, and had soundings all the way from 40 to 20 fathoms, a Gravelly and Sandy Bottom. The land near the Shore is in general low but hilly, the face of the Country appears Green and Woody, but in land are Craggy Mountains; they appeared to be of no great height, nor were they Covered with Snow. The most remarkable land on Terra Del Fuego is a high Mountain in form of a Sugar Loaf, situated not far from the sea on the South-West side of the Land, and 3 hills called the 3 Brothers. They lay near the Shore and nine Miles to the Westward of Cape St. Diego, which is a low point that forms the North-West Entrance of Strait Le Mair, and are Contiguous to Each other. The Sugar Loaf lies from these Hills South-South-West, and when it was in this situation the Appearances of the Land is represented in the first View in the Chart, but it must be observed that from this point of View the Three Brothers appear far more Conspicuous than from any other; these land Marks are by some Voyagers thought very necessary to know Strait Le Mair by, but whoever coasts Terra Del Fuego within sight of land cannot possibly miss the Strait, it being of itself so very Conspicuous; and Staten Land, which forms the East side, is still more so from its very rugged appearance. One League and a half to the Westward of Cape St. Diego lies Cape St. Vincent, between these two Capes lies Vincent’s Bay, a Small Cove wherein is Wood and Water, and before which a Ship might Anchor with a Southerly or South-West wind, but the ground is none of the best, unless you go into the very Mouth of the Cove, which is on the East side of the first Bluff point from Cape St. Vincent, where there is Anchorage in 4 fathoms, a Sandy Bottom. In going in keep clear of the Sea Weed, and send a Boat Ahead to sound, and at best this is but a bad place for Shipping, and only recommended to such as are in want of Wood and Water, and have no Opportunity to put into the Strait, which in Prudence ought not to be attempted but with a fair wind or Moderate weather, and upon the very first of the Tide of Flood, which hapens here at the full and Change of the Moon about 1 or 2 o’clock, and then to keep as near to Terra Del Fuego Shore as the winds will permit. By using these Precautions you will be sure of either getting quite through the Straits in one Tide or to the Southward of Success Bay; and it may be more Prudent to put in there should the wind be Southerly, than to attempt to weather Staten Land with a Lee Wind and Current, for I believe this to be the Chief reason why Ships have run a Risk of being drove on that Island. Strait Le Maire is formed on the West by part of Terra Del Fuego, and on the East by the West end of Staten Land or Island; its Length and Breadth is about 5 Leagues each; about the Middle of the Strait is Success Bay, on Terra Del Fuego side, and about a 1/4 of a League more to the Northwards is Port Maurice, a little Cove, before which we Anchored in 12 fathoms.
January 25, 2012
Wednesday, 25th January, 1769
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