The Passage through the Strait of Magellan as far as Cape Monday, with a Description of several Bays and Harbours, formed by the Coast on each Side.
We continued to make sail for Port Desire till Wednesday the 6th of February, when about one o’clock in the afternoon we saw land, and stood in for the port. During the run from Falkland’s Islands to this place, the number of whales about the ship was so great as to render the navigation dangerous; we were very near striking upon one, and another blew the water in upon the quarter-deck; they were much larger than any we had seen. As we were standing in for Port Desire, we saw the Florida, a store-ship that we expected from England; and at four we came to an anchor off the harbour’s mouth.
The next morning, Mr Dean, the master of the store-ship, came on board; and finding from his report that his foremast was sprung, and his ship little better than a wreck, I determined to go into the harbour, and try to unload her there, although the narrowness of the place, and the rapidity of the tides, render it a very dangerous situation. We got in in the evening, but it blowing very hard in the night, both the Tamar and the store-ship made signals of distress; I immediately sent my boats to their assistance, who found that; notwithstanding they were moored, they had been driven up the harbour, and were in the greatest danger of being on shore. They were brought back, not without great difficulty, and the very next night they drove again, and were again saved by the same efforts, from the same danger. As I now found that the store-ship was continually driving about the harbour, and every moment in danger of being lost, I gave up, with whatever reluctance, my design of taking the provisions out of her, and sent all our carpenters on board, to fish the mast, and make such other repairs as they could. I also lent her my forge to complete such iron-work as they wanted, and determined, the moment she was in a condition to put to sea, to take her with us into the strait of Magellan, and unload her there.