On the 29th, we completed our ballast, which the strength of the tide, and the constant gales of wind, rendered a very difficult and laborious task; we also got on board another tun of water. On the morning of the 30th, the weather was so bad that we could not send a boat on shore; but employed all hands on board in setting up the rigging. It grew more moderate however about noon, and I then sent a boat to procure more water. The two men who first came up to the well found there a large tyger lying upon the ground; having gazed at each other some time, the men, who had no fire-arms, seeing the beast treat them with as much contemptuous neglect as the lion did the knight of La Mancha, begun to throw stones at him: Of this insult, however, he did not deign to take the least notice, but continued stretched upon the ground in great tranquillity till the rest of the party came up, and then he very leisurely rose and walked away.
On the first of December, our cutter being thoroughly repaired, we took her on board, but the weather was so bad that we could not get off any water: The next day we struck the tents which had been set up at the watering-place, and got all ready for sea. The two wells from which, we got our water bear about S.S.E. of the Steeple rock, from which they are distant about two miles and a half; but I fixed a mark near them, that they might be still more easily found than by their bearings. During our stay in this harbour, we sounded every part of it with great care, as high as a ship could go, and found that there is no danger but what may be seen at low water; so that now fresh water is found, though at some distance from the beach, it would be a very convenient place for ships to touch at, if it were not for the rapidity of the tide. The country about the bay abounds with guanicoes, and a great variety of wild fowl, particularly ducks, geese, widgeon, and sea-pies, besides many others for which we have no name. Here is also such plenty of excellent mussels, that a boat may be loaded with them every time it is low water. Wood indeed is scarce; however in some parts of this coast there are bushes, which in a case of necessity might produce a tolerable supply of fuel.
On Wednesday the 5th of December, I unmoored, in order to get out, but the best bower came up foul, and before we could heave short upon the small bower, the tide of ebb made strong; for at this place slack water scarcely continues ten minutes; so that we were obliged to wait till it should be low water. Between five and six in the evening, we weighed, and steered out E.N.E. with a fresh gale at N.N.W.
Course from Port Desire, in search of Pepys’ Island, and afterwards to the Coast of Patagonia, with a Description of the Inhabitants.
As soon as we were out of the bay, we steered for Pepys’ Island, which is said to lie in latitude 47 deg.S. Our latitude was now 47 deg.22’S. longitude 65 deg.49’ W.; Port Desire bore S. 66 deg. W. distant twenty-three leagues; and Pepys’ Island, according to Halley’s chart, E.3/4 N. distant thirty-four leagues. The variation here was 19 deg.E.