The wind still continuing strong from the west on the 6th, the admiral held a council to consider of a proper rendezvous for the fleet, in case of separation, or of being forced to winter, if these west winds should still continue to oppose their entry into the South Sea. Some proposed the Terra del Fuego, and others the Straits of Magellan. But the majority were of opinion, that it was best to wait two months for a fair wind, and to use their utmost endeavours to get into the South Sea. On the 8th they were in 61 deg. S. on the 14th in 58 deg., and on the 18th, 19th and 20th they had a fair wind at S.E. with warm weather, so that they were now in hopes of having accomplished their purpose. On the 24th they lost sight of the Maurice and David, the fleet being now reduced to seven sail; and the same evening they were in lat. 47 deg. S. The 25th, having still a fair wind and good weather, they reached 45 deg. S. and were then in great hopes of overcoming all difficulties. The 28th they got sight of the coast of Chili, bearing E.S.E. and in the evening were within a league of the shore, which appeared high and mountainous.
Transactions of the Fleet on the Western Coast of America.
The admiral was at this time confined to bed, and wished to have put into the port of Chiloe; but his instructions did not allow of this measure, requiring the performance of some action of importance against the Spaniards in Peru. It was therefore resolved to proceed for the island of Juan Fernandez, to make the best preparations in their power for attacking the Spanish galleons in the port of Arica, if found there, and to gain possession of that place, after which it was proposed to extend their conquests by the aid of the Indians. On the 1st April, being then in lat. 38 deg. 10’ S. the vice-admiral took to his bed, quite worn out with fatigue, so that they expected to lose both the admiral and him. On the 4th they had sight of Juan Fernandez, in lat. 33 deg. 50’ S. and next day came to anchor in sixty fathoms in a fine bay. The 6th orders were issued to provide all the ships with as many cheveaux-de-frize and pallisades as they could. The Griffin joined the fleet in the evening, not having been seen since the 2d February. She had been in the lat. of 60 deg. S. and had got into the South Sea without seeing Cape Horn. The Orange arrived on the 7th, having twice seen the southern continent on her passage, once in lat. 50 deg., and the other time in lat. 41 deg. S. The David came in on the 7th, bringing advice of the Maurice, both vessels having been five or six days beating about the island, but hindered from getting in by contrary winds.
[Footnote 138: No land whatever could be seen in these latitudes in the eastern Pacific, so that they must have been deceived by fog, banks, or islands of ice.—E.]
The larger and more easterly of the two islands of Juan Fernandez is in the latitude of 30 deg. 40’ S. five degrees west from the coast of Chili; this island being called by the Spaniards Isla de Tierra, and the smaller or more westerly island Isla de Fuera, which is a degree and a half farther east.