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

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 659 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels Volume 12.

At six o’clock, the wind being still fresh and squally at S.S.E. we weighed and steered W. by N. along the south shore.  At eleven, we were abreast of Cape Pillar, which by compass is about fourteen leagues W.1/2 N. from Cape Upright.  Cape Pillar may be known by a large gap upon the top, and when it bears W.S.W. an island appears off it which has an appearance somewhat like a hay-stack, and about which lie several rocks.  The strait to the eastward of the cape is between seven and eight leagues over; the land on each side is of a moderate height, but it is lowest on the north shore, the south shore being much the boldest, though both are craggy and broken.  Westminster Island is nearer to the north than the south shore; and, by the compass, lies N.E. from Cape Pillar.  The land on the north shore, near the west end of the strait, makes in many islands and rocks, upon which the sea breaks in a tremendous manner.  The land about Cape Victory is distant from Cape Pillar about ten or eleven leagues, in the direction of N.W. by N. From the cape westward, the coast trends S.S.W.1/2 W. to Cape Deseada, a low point, off which lie innumerable rocks and breakers.  About four leagues W.S.W. from Cape Deseada, lie some dangerous rocks, called by Sir John Narborough the Judges, upon which a mountainous surf always breaks with inconceivable fury.  Four small islands, called the Islands of Direction, are distant from Cape Pillar about eight leagues, in the direction of N.W. by W. When we were off this cape it was stark calm; but I never saw such a swell as rolled in here, nor such a surge as broke on each shore.  I expected every moment that the wind would spring up from its usual quarter, and that the best which could happen to us would be to be driven many leagues up the streight again.  Contrary, however, to all expectation, a fine steady gale sprung up at S. E. to which I spread all the sail that it was possible for the ship to bear, and ran off from this frightful and desolate coast at the rate of nine miles an hour; so that by eight o’clock in the evening we had left it twenty leagues behind us.  And now, to make the ship as stiff as possible, I knocked down our after bulk-head, and got two of the boats under the half-deck; I also placed my twelve-oared cutter under the boom; so that we had nothing upon the skids but the jolly-boat; and the alteration which this made in the vessel is inconceivable:  For the weight of the boats upon, the skids made her crank, and in a great sea they were also in danger of being lost.

It is probable, that whoever shall read this account of the difficulties and dangers which attended our passage through the Streight of Magellan, will conclude, that it ought never to be attempted again; but that all ships which shall hereafter sail a western course from Europe into the South Seas ought to go round Cape Horn.  I, however, who have been twice round Cape Horn, am of a different opinion.  I think that at a proper season of the year, not only a single

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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 12 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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