After all our solicitude, and the numerous ills of every kind, to which we had been incessantly exposed for near forty days, we now had great consolation in the hope that our fatigues were drawing to a close, and that we should soon arrive in a more hospitable climate, where we should be amply rewarded for all our past toils and sufferings; for, towards the latter end of March, by our reckoning, we had advanced near ten degrees to the west of the westermost point of Terra del Fuego; and, as this allowance was double what former navigators had thought necessary to compensate the drift of the western current, we esteemed ourselves to be well advanced within the limits of the Southern Pacific, and had been, ever since then, standing to the northward, with as much expedition as the turbulence of the weather and our frequent disasters would permit. On the 13th of April, in addition to our before-mentioned westing, we were only one degree of latitude to the southward of the western entrance into the Straits of Magellan, so that we fully expected in a very few days to experience the celebrated tranquillity of the Pacific Ocean. But these were only delusions, which served to render our disappointment more terrible. On the morning of the 14th, between two and three o’clock, the weather, which till then had been hazy, fortunately cleared up, and the pink made a signal for seeing the land right a-head; and, as it was only two miles distant, we were all under the most dreadful apprehensions of running on shore; which, had either the wind blown from its usual quarter, with its wonted violence, or had not the moon suddenly shone out, not a ship of the whole squadron could possibly have avoided. But the wind, which some hours before blew in squalls from the S.W. had fortunately shifted to W.N.W. by which we were enabled to stand to the southward, and to clear ourselves of this sudden and unexpected danger, and were fortunate enough by noon to have gained an offing of near twenty leagues.
By the latitude of this land we fell in with, it was agreed to be that part of Terra del Fuego, near the south-western outlet of the Straits of Magellan, described in Frezier’s chart, and was supposed to be that point which he calls Cape Noir. It was indeed wonderful that the current should have driven us to the eastward with so much strength, for the whole squadron computed that we were ten degrees to the westward of this land; so that in turning, by our reckoning, about nineteen degrees of longitude, we had not in reality advanced half that distance: And now, instead of having our labours and anxieties relieved by approaching a warmer climate, and more tranquil seas, we were forced again to steer southwards, and had again to combat those western blasts which had already so often terrified us; and this too, when we were greatly enfeebled by our men falling sick and dying apace, and when our spirits, dejected by long continuance at sea and by this severe disappointment, were now much less capable