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.
vessel, but a large squadron might pass the streight in less than three weeks; and I think, to take the proper season, they should be at the eastern entrance some time in the month of December.[33] One great advantage of this passage, is the facility with which fish is almost every where to be procured, with wild celery, scurvy-grass, berries, and many other vegetables in great abundance; for to this I impute the healthiness of my ship’s company, not a single man being affected with the scurvy in the slightest degree, nor upon the sick list for any other disorder, notwithstanding the hardship and labour which they endured in the passage, which cost us seven weeks and two days, as we entered the streight on Sunday the 17th of February, and quitted it on Tuesday the 9th of April.  Wood and water are also to be procured almost at every anchoring-place beyond Freshwater Bay.  Our sufferings I impute wholly to our passing the streight just as the sun approached the equinox, when, in this high latitude, the worst weather was to be expected; and indeed the weather we had was dreadful beyond all description.

[Footnote 33:  Bougainville gives the same advice as to preferring the passage through the streights, from the month of September till the end of March, but at all other periods he recommends to go round Cape Horn.  He was 52 days in going the whole length of the streights, reckoning from Cape Virgin Mary to Cape Pillar, a distance of 342 miles, and he says that 36 hours of fair wind were sufficient to carry him from Port Gallant to the Pacific Ocean.  Captain Wallis, we shall see, did not realize this opinion, or the hopes formed on it—­he was almost four months in getting through the streights, although he attempted the passage at the very time recommended by Byron.  On the other hand, Captain Krusenstern doubled the cape in four weeks only, after his leaving St Catharine’s Island, which the reader will observe is considerably northward of the river La Plata, “a voyage,” says he, “which perhaps was never made in a shorter time.”  In weathering the cape, he took the advice of Cook, not to approach the land nearer than 30 or 36 miles, by which means he avoided the strong currents which, according to our great navigator’s assertion, seem to lose all their force at that distance.—­E.]


The Run from the Western Entrance of the Streight of Magellan to the Islands of Disappointment.

Having cleared the streight, we pursued our course to the westward, till Friday, April the 26th, when we discovered the island of Massafuero, bearing W.N.W.1/2 W. distant about sixteen leagues; but as to the northward it was hazy, the island of Don Juan Fernandez was not in sight.  During this run, the variation had gradually decreased from 22 deg. to 9 deg. 36’.  E.

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