A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 11 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 783 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 11.

Intending to pass through the straits of Le Maire next day, we lay to at night that we might not overshoot them, and took this opportunity to prepare ourselves for the tempestuous climate in which we were soon to be engaged, with which view we were employed good part of the night in bending an entire new suit of sails to the yards.  At four next morning, being the 7th of March, we made sail, and at eight saw land, and soon after began to open the straits, at which time Cape St Diego bore E.S.E.  Cape St Vincent S.E. 1/2 E. the middlemost of the Three Brothers, hills so called on Terra del Fuego S. by W. Montegorda, a high land up the country appearing over the Three Brothers; S. and Cape St Bartholomew, the southernmost point of Staten Land, E.S.E.  I must observe here that, though Frezier has given a very correct view of that part of Terra del Fuego which borders on these straits to the westwards, he has omitted the draught of Staten Land, which forms the opposite shore of these straits, whence we found it difficult to determine exactly where the straits lay until they began to open upon our view; and hence, had we not coasted a considerable way along the shore of Terra del Fuego, we might have missed the straits, and have gone to the eastward of Staten Land before discovering it.  This has happened to many ships; particularly, as mentioned by Frezier, to the Incarnation and Concord, which, intending to pass through the Straits of Le Maire, were deceived by three hills on Staten Land, and some creeks, resembling the Three Brothers and coves of Terra del Fuego, so that they overshot the straits.

Though Terra del Fuego presented an aspect exceedingly barren and desolate, yet this island of Staten Land far surpasses it in the wildness and horror of its appearance, seeming to be entirely composed of inaccessible rocks, without the smallest apparent admixture of earth or mould, upon or between them.  These rocks terminate in a vast number of rugged points, which spire up to a prodigious height, and are all covered with everlasting snow; their pointed summits or pinnacles being every way surrounded by frightful precipices, and often overhanging in a most astonishing manner.  The hills which are crowned by the rugged rocks, are generally separated from each other by narrow clifts, appearing as if the country had been frequently rent by earthquakes; for these chasms are nearly perpendicular, and extend through the substance of the main rocks almost to their bases; so that nothing can be imagined more savage and gloomy than the whole aspect of this coast.

Having opened the Straits of Le Maire on the morning of the 7th March, as before mentioned, the Pearl and Tryal, about ten o’clock, were ordered to keep a-head of the squadron and lead the way.  We accordingly entered the straits with fair weather and a brisk gale, and were hurried through by the rapidity of the tide in about two hours, though they are between seven and eight leagues in length.  As these straits

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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 11 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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