We bore away for Masafuero, and at sun-set, being within about seven leagues of it, we brought-to, and afterwards kept the wind all night. At day-break the next day, we bore away again for the island, at the same time sending an officer, with a boat from each ship, to sound the eastern side of it. About noon, the middle of the island bore W. distant about three miles, and as I saw the boats run along the shore, without being able to land any where for the surf, I bore down to the north part of the island, off which a reef runs for the distance of about two miles, and lay by for them. This island is very high, and the greater part of it is covered with wood; but towards the north end, where I lay, some spots seemed to have been cleared, upon which great numbers of goats were feeding, and they had a green and pleasant appearance. When the boats returned, the officer informed me that he had found a bank, on the east side of the island nearest to the south point, at a considerable distance from the shore, where we might anchor, and opposite to which there was a fine fall of fresh water; but near the north point, he said, he could find no anchorage. The boats brought off a great quantity of very fine fish, which they had caught with hook and line near the shore; and as soon as we had taken them on board, which was late in the afternoon, we made sail, and worked to windward in the night.
[Footnote 34: “The commodore thought it more advisable to touch at this island than at Juan Fernandez; it being rather more secure than the latter, from any discoveries which the Spaniards might make of our designs; in consequence of which our voyage, and all our farther discoveries; might have been prevented.”]
At seven o’clock in the morning, we anchored with the small bower, on the bank which the boats had discovered, in twenty-four fathom, with black sandy ground. The extreme points bore from S. to N.W. and the fall of water bore S.S.W. distant about a mile from the ship’s station. This part of the island lies north and south, and is about four miles long: The soundings are very regular, from twenty to fifteen fathom, within two cables’ length of the shore. Soon after we were come to an anchor, I sent out the boats to endeavour to get some wood and water, but as I observed the shore to be rocky, and a surf to break with great violence upon it, I ordered all the men to put on cork-jackets, which had been sent with us to be made use of upon such occasions. By the help of these jackets, which not only assisted the men in swimming, but prevented their being bruised against the rocks, we got off a considerable quantity of water and wood, which, without such assistance, we could not have done: There was, however, another species of danger here, against which cork-jackets afforded no defence, for the sea abounded with sharks of an enormous, size, which, when they saw a man in the water, would dart into the very surf to seize him: Our people, however,