Besides these fish, we found one other delicacy in greater perfection, both as to size, quantity, and flavour, than is to be met with perhaps in any other part of the world. This was sea craw-fish, usually weighing eight or nine pounds each, of a most excellent taste, and in such vast numbers near the edge of the water, that our boat-hooks often struck into them in putting the boats to and from the shore.
These are the most material articles relating to the accommodations, soil, vegetables, animals, and other productions of the island of Juan Fernandez, by which it will distinctly appear how admirably this place was adapted for recovering us from the deplorable situation to which we had been reduced by our tedious and unfortunate navigation round Cape Horn. Having thus given the reader some idea of the situation and circumstances of this island, in which we resided for six months, I shall now proceed to relate all that occurred to us in that period, resuming the narrative from the 18th of June, on which day the Tryal sloop, having been driven out by a squall three days before, came again to her moorings, on which day also we finished sending our sick on shore, being about eight days after our first anchoring at this island.
Separate Arrivals of the Gloucester, and Anna Pink, at Juan Fernandez, and Transactions at that Island during the Interval.
The arrival of the Tryal sloop at this island, so soon after we came there ourselves in the Centurion, gave us great hopes of being speedily joined by the rest of the squadron; and we were accordingly for some days continually looking out, in expectation of their coming in sight. After near a fortnight had elapsed without any of them appearing, we began to despair of ever meeting them again, knowing, if our ship had continued so much longer at sea, that we should every man of us have perished, and the vessel, occupied only by dead bodies, must have been left to the caprice of the winds and waves; and this we had great reason to fear was the fate of our consorts, as every hour added to the probability of these desponding suggestions. But, on the 21st of June, some of our people, from an eminence on shore, discerned a ship to leeward, with her courses even with the horizon. They could, at the same time, observe that she had no sails aboard, except her courses and main-topsail. This circumstance made them conclude that it must be one of our squadron, which had probably suffered as severely in her sails and rigging as we had done. They were prevented, however, from forming more definite conjectures concerning her; for, after viewing her a short time, the weather grew thick and hazy, and she was no longer to be seen.