We enter this Sound between two rocky points, that lie E.S.E., and W.N.W. from each other, distant between three and four miles. Within these points the Sound widens considerably, and extends in, to the northward, four leagues at least, exclusive of the several branches toward its bottom, the termination of which we had not an opportunity to ascertain. But, from the circumstance of finding that the water freshened where our boats crossed their entrance, it is probable that they had almost reached its utmost limits. And this probability is increased by the hills that bounded it toward the land, being covered with thick snow, when those toward the sea, or where we lay, had not a speck remaining on them, though, in general, they were much higher. In the middle of the Sound are a number of islands of various sizes. The depth of water in the middle of the Sound, and even close home to some parts of its shore, is from forty-seven to ninety fathoms, and perhaps more. The harbours, and anchoring-places within its circuit, are numerous; but we had no time to survey them. The cove in which our ships lay is on the east side of the Sound, and on the east side of the largest of the islands. It is covered from the sea, but has little else to recommend it, being exposed to the S.E. winds, which we found to blow with great violence; and the devastation they make sometimes was apparent in many places.
The land bordering upon the sea-coast is of a middling height and level; but within the Sound, it rises almost every-where into steep hills, which agree in their general formation, ending in round or blunted tops, with some sharp, though not very prominent, ridges on their sides. Some of these hills may be reckoned high, while others of them are of a very moderate height; but even the highest are entirely covered to their tops with the thickest woods; as well as every flat part toward the sea. There are sometimes spots upon the sides of some of the hills which are bare; but they are few, in comparison of the whole, though they sufficiently point out the general rocky disposition of these hills. Properly speaking, they have no soil upon them, except a kind of compost, produced from rotten mosses and trees, of the depth of two feet or more. Their foundations are, therefore, to be considered as nothing more than stupendous rocks, of a whitish or grey cast, where they have been exposed to the weather; but, when broken, they appeared to be of a blueish grey colour, like that universal sort which were found at Kerguelen’s Land. The rocky shores are a continued mass of this; and the little coves, in the Sound, have beaches composed of fragments of it, with a few other pebbles. All these coves are furnished with a great quantity of fallen wood lying in them, which is carried in by the tide; and with rills of fresh water, sufficient for the use of a ship, which seem to be supplied entirely from the rains, and fogs that hover about the tops of the hills. For few springs can be expected in so rocky a country, and the fresh water found farther up the Sound, most probably arose from the melting of the snow; there being no room to suspect, that any large river falls into the Sound, either from strangers coming down it, or from any other circumstance. The water of these rills is perfectly clear, and dissolves soap easily.