The Passage from Cape Pillar, at the Western Entrance of the Streight of Magellan, to Masafuero; with some Account of that Island.
I took my departure from Cape Pillar, which I make to lie in the latitude of 52 deg.45’S., and in the longitude 75 deg. 10’W. of the meridian of London, and as soon as I got clear of the streight, steered to the northward along the coast of Chili. Upon examining what quantity of fresh water we had now on board, I found that it amounted only to between four and five and twenty tons, which I thought not sufficient for so long a voyage as was probably before us; I therefore hauled to the northward, intending to make the island of Juan Fernandes, or Masafuero, that we might increase our stock before we sailed to the westward.
In the middle of the night of the 16th, we had the wind first to the S.S.E. and then to the S.E. with which we kept away N.W. and N.N.W. in high spirits, hoping that in a short time we should be in a more temperate climate: We had the misfortune, however, very soon to find ourselves disappointed, for on the 18th, the wind came to the N.N.W. and blew directly from the point upon which we were steering. We had now got about a hundred leagues from the streight’s mouth; our latitude was 48 deg.39’S., and we were, by account, 4 deg.33’W. of Cape Pillar; but from this time, till the 8th of May, the wind continued unfavourable, and blew a continued storm, with sudden gusts still more violent, and much rain and hail, or rather fragments of half-melted ice: At intervals also we had thunder and lightning, more dreadful than all the past, and a sea which frequently laid the whole vessel under water.
From the time of our clearing the streight, and during our passage along this coast, we saw a great number of sea-birds, particularly albatrosses, gannets, sheerwaters, and a thick lumpish bird, about as big as a large pigeon, which the sailors call a Cape-of-Good-Hope hen: They are of a dark-brown or blackish colour, and are therefore sometimes called the black gull: We saw also a great many pintado birds, of nearly the same size, which are prettily spotted with black and white, and constantly on the wing, though they frequently appear as if they were walking upon the water, like the peterels, to which sailors have given the name of Mother Carey’s chickens; and we saw also many of these.