On Sunday the 22d of January, about two o’clock in the morning, having got our wood and water on board, we sailed out of the bay, and continued our course through the streight.
A general Description of the S.E. Part of Terra del Fuego, and the Streight of Le Maire; with some Remarks on Lord Anson’s Account of them, and Directions for the Passage Westward, round this Part of America, into the South Seas.
Almost all writers who have mentioned the island of Terra del Fuego, describe it as destitute of wood, and covered with snow. In the winter it may possibly be covered with snow, and those who saw it at that season might perhaps be easily deceived, by its appearance, into an opinion that it was destitute of wood. Lord Anson was there in the beginning of March, which answers to our September; and we were there the beginning of January, which answers to our July, which way account for the difference of his description of it from ours. We fell in with it about twenty-one leagues to the westward of the streight of Le Maire, and from the time that we first saw it, trees were plainly to be distinguished with our glasses; and as we came nearer, though here and there we discovered patches of snow, the sides of the hills and the sea-coast appeared to be covered with a beautiful verdure. The hills are lofty, but not mountainous, though the summits of them are quite naked. The soil in the valleys is rich, and of a considerable depth; and at the foot of almost every hill there is a brook, the water of which has a reddish hue, like that which runs through our turf bogs in England, but it is by no means ill tasted, and upon the whole proved to be the best that we took in during our voyage. We ranged the coast to the streight, and had soundings all the way from 40 to 20 fathom, upon a gravelly and sandy bottom. The most remarkable land on Terra del Fuego is a hill, in the form of a sugar-loaf, which stands on the west side not far from the sea; and the three hills, called the Three Brothers, about nine miles to the westward of Cape St Diego, the low point that forms the north entrance of the streight of Le Maire.
It is said in the account of Lord Anson’s voyage, that it is difficult to determine exactly where the streight lies, though the appearance of Terra del Fuego be well known, without knowing also the appearance of Staten Land; and that some navigators have been deceived by three hills on Staten Land, which have been mistaken for the Three Brothers on Terra del Fuego, and so overshot the streight. But no ship can possibly miss the streight that coasts Terra del Fuego within sight of land, for it will then, of itself, be sufficiently conspicuous; and Staten Land, which forms the east side, will be still more manifestly distinguished, for there is no land on Terra del Fuego like it. The streight of Le Maire can be missed only by standing too far to the eastward, without