A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 12 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 760 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 12.


The Passage from Plymouth to Madeira, with tome Account of that Island.

Having received my commission, which was dated the 25th of May 1768, I went on board on the 27th, hoisted the pennant, and took charge, of the ship, which then lay in the bason in Deptford yard.  She was fitted for sea with all expedition; and stores and provisions being taken on board, sailed down the river on the 30th of July, and on the 13th of August anchored in Plymouth Sound.

While we lay here waiting for a wind, the articles of war and the act of parliament were read to the ship’s company, who were paid two months’ wages in advance, and told that they were to expect no additional pay for the performance of the voyage.

On Friday the 26th of August, the wind becoming fair, we got under sail, and put to sea.  On the 31st, we saw several of the birds which the sailors call Mother Carey’s Chickens, and which they suppose to be the forerunners of a storm; and on the next day we had a very hard gale, which brought us under our courses, washed overboard a small boat belonging to the boatswain, and drowned three or four dozen of our poultry, which we regretted still more.

On Friday the 2d of September we saw land between Cape Finisterre and Cape Ortegal, on the coast of Gallicia, in Spain; and on the 5th, by an observation of the sun and moon, we found the latitude of Cape Finisterre to be 42 deg. 53’ north, and its longitude 8 deg. 46’ west, our first meridian being always supposed to pass through Greenwich; variation of the needle 21 deg. 4’ west.

During this course, Mr Banks and Dr Solander had an opportunity of observing many marine animals, of which no naturalist has hitherto taken notice; particularly a new species of the oniscus, which was found adhering to the medusa pelagica; and an animal of an angular figure, about three inches long, and one thick, with a hollow passing quite through it, and a brown spot on one end, which they conjectured might be its stomach; four of these adhered together by their sides when they were taken, so that at first they were thought to be one animal; but upon being put into a glass of water they soon separated, and swam about very briskly.  These animals are of a new genus, to, which Mr Banks and Dr Solander gave the name of Dagysa, from the likeness of one species of them to a gem.  Several specimens of them were taken adhering together sometimes to the length of a yard or more, and shining in the water with very beautiful colours.  Another animal of a new genus they also discovered, which shone in the water with colours still more beautiful and vivid, and which indeed exceeded in variety and brightness any thing that we had ever seen:  The colouring and splendour of these animals were equal to those of an opal, and from their resemblance to that gem, the genus was called Carcnium Opalinum

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