The harbour of Rio de Janeiro is situated W. by N. 18 leagues from Cape Frio, and may be known by a remarkable hill, in the form of a sugar-loaf, at the west point of the bay; but as all the coast is very high, and rises in many peaks, the entrance of this harbour may be more certainly distinguished by the islands that lie before it; one of which, called Rodonda, is high and round like a hay-stack, and lies at the distance of two leagues and a half from the entrance of the bay, in the direction of S. by W.; but the first islands which are met with, coming from the east, or Cape Frio, are two that have a rocky appearance, lying near to each other, and at the distance of about four miles from the shore: There are also, at the distance of three leagues to the westward of these, two other islands which lie near to each other, a little without the bay on the east side, and very near the shore. This harbour is certainly a good one; the entrance indeed is not wide, but the sea-breeze, which blows every day from ten or twelve o’clock till sunset, makes it easy for any ship to go in before the wind; and it grows wider as the town is approached, so that a-breast of it there is room for the largest fleet, in five or six fathom water, with an oozy bottom. At the narrow part, the entrance is defended by two forts. The principal is Santa Cruz, which stands on the east point of the bay, and has been mentioned before; that on the west side is called Fort Lozia, and is built upon a rock that lies close to the main; the distance between them is about three quarters of a mile, but the channel is not quite so broad, because there are sunken rocks which lie off each fort, and in this part alone there is danger: The narrowness of the channel causes the tides, both flood and ebb, to run with considerable strength, so that they cannot be stemmed without a fresh breeze. The rockiness of the bottom makes it also unsafe to anchor here: Put all danger may be avoided by keeping in the middle of the channel. Within the entrance, the course up the bay is first N. by W. 1/2 W. and N.N.W. something more than a league; this will bring the vessel the length of the great road; and N.W. and W.N.W. one league more will carry her to the isle dos Cobras, which lies before the city: She should then keep the north side of this island close on board, and anchor above it, before a monastery of Benedictines which stands upon a hill at the N.W. end of the city.
[Footnote 77: Mr Barrow, during his stay at Rio de Janeiro, had an opportunity of ascertaining the height of the Sugar-loaf, as it is called from its conical appearance. It is, he says, 680 feet high, above the surface out of which it rises, and is a solid mass of hard sparkling granite. On the eastern side of the chasm which forms the entrance into the bay, there is a mountain of the same material, but so far different in form, that it slopes easily and gradually from the water’s edge to the summit, which however is about as high as the cone. This side is well defended by forts and batteries. Mr Barrow’s description of the magnificent scenery of this harbour, is perhaps somewhat poetically conceived, but may be advantageously consulted by the reader.—E.]