13th February 1769
Tierra del Fuego to Tahiti
The first part of these 24 Hours, moderate breezes and Cloudy; remainder, fresh Gales and loudy. P.M saw a great many Albetrosses and other Birds about the Ship; some were all white and about the size of Teal. Took several Observations of the sun and moon, the result of which gave 90 degrees 13 minutes West Longitude from Greenwich. The Variation of the Compass by the Mean of several Azimuths 17 degrees East. The Longitude by account is less than that by Observation, 37 minutes, which is about 20 Miles in these high Latitudes, and nearly equal to the Error of the Log line before mentioned. This near Agreement of the 2 Longitudes proves to a Demonstration that we have had no Western Current since we left the Land. Wind West, Northerly; course North 75 degrees West; distance 35 miles; latitude 49 degrees 35 minutes, longitude 90 degrees 37 minutes.
Remarks on Passage round Cape Horn
From the Foregoing observations it will appear that we are now advanced about 12 degrees to the westward of the Strait of Magellan, and 3 1/2 degrees to the Northward of it, having been 33* (* N.B. 23 days only from Success Bay.) days in Doubling Cape Horn or the Land of Terra del Fuego, and Arriving into the Degree of Latitude and Longitude we are now in, and without being brought once under our close Reef'd Topsails since we left Strait Le Maire, a Circumstance that perhaps never hapned before to any ship in those Seas so much dreaded for Hard gales of Wind; in so much that the doubling of Cape Horn is thought by some to be a mighty thing, and others to this day prefer the Straits of Magellan. As I have never been in those Straits I can only form my Judgement on a Carefull Comparison of the Different Ships' Journals that have passed them, and those that have sail'd round Cape Horn, particularly the Dolphin's two last Voyages and this of ours, being made at the same season of the Year, when one may reasonable expect the same Winds to prevail. The Dolphin in her last Voyage was three Months in getting through the Straits, not reckoning the time she lay in Port Famine; and I am firmly perswaided from the Winds we have had, that had we come by that Passage we should not have been in these Seas, besides the fatiguing of our People, the damage we must have done to our Anchors, Cables, Sails, and Rigging, none of which have suffer'd in our passage round Cape Horn.
From what I have said it will appear that I am no advocate for the Straits of Magellan, but it should be expected that I should say something of Strait le Mair, through which we passed, and this is the more incumbant on me as it was by choice and contrary to the Advice given by Mr. Walter, the ingenious Author of Lord Anson's Voyage, who advised all Ships not to go through this Strait but to go to the Eastward of Staten Land, and likewise to stand to the Southward as far as 61 or 62 degrees south before any Endeavour is made to get to the Westward. With respect to the Passing of Strait le Mair or going round Staten Land, I look upon of little Consequence, and either one or the other to be pursued according to Circumstances; for if you happen to fall in with the land to the Westward of the Strait, and the winds favourable for going through, it certainly must be a piece of folly to lose time in going round Staten Land, for by paying a little Attention to the Directions I have already given no ill Consequences can attend; but on the Contrary if you should fall in with the land to the eastward of the Straits or the wind should prove Boisterous, or unfavourable, in any of these Cases the going to the eastward of Staten Land is the most Advisable. And next, as to running into the Latitude of 61 or 62 degrees South before any Endeavour is made to get to the Westward, is what I think no man will ever do that can avoid it, for it cannot be supposed that anyone will steer south mearly to get into a high Latitude, when at the same time he can steer west, for it is not Southing but Westing that is wanting. But this way you cannot Steer because the Wind blows almost Constantly from that Quarter, so that you have no other Choice but to stand to the Southward, close upon a Wind, and by keeping upon that Tack you not only make Southing but Westing also, and sometimes not a little when the wind Varies to the Northward of West; and the farther you advance to the Southward the better Chance you have of having the Winds from that Quarter or Easterly, and likewise of meeting with finer weather, both of which we ourselves Experienced. Prudence will direct every man when in those high Latitudes to make sure of sufficient Westing to double all the lands before he thinks of standing to the Northward. When the winds was Westerly the Mountains on Terra Del Fuego were generally covered with dense Clouds, formed, as one may reasonably suppose, by Westerly
Exhalations and by Vapours brought thither by the Westerly winds. From that Quarter come frequent Showers of rain, hail, and Snow; and after we had left the land and were standing to the Southward, with the winds westerly, dark dence clouds were Continually forming in the Horizon, and rose to about 45 degrees, where they began to dissipate. These were generally attended with Showers of Rain, or hail, and Squals of Wind, but as we advanced to the Southward, these Clouds became less dence, and in the Latitude of 60 degrees 10 minutes, when we got the winds Easterly,
the weather was more serene and Milder; again as we advanced to the Northward we had a constant Clouded sky and dark gloomy weather, the whole time exceeding Cold.
Posted by Arborfield at 07:34