24th, 25th & 26th Mar 1832

Bahia to Rio de Janeiro
These three days, like the weather, have passed away with quietness & enjoyment. — We are nearly 4 degrees from the coast of Brazil & about 2 from the Abrolhos, from which islands a long shoal extends itself. — The Lead has been regularly cast at every two hours. — today after finding no bottom at 230 fathoms we suddenly came on the bank with between 30 and 40. We are now steering for the islands.

I find living on board a most excellent time for all sorts of study; & I cannot imagine why anybody who is not sick should make objections on that score. There is little to interrupt one, for instance since leaving Bahia the only living things that we have seen were a few sharks & Mother Cary's chickens*. At night in these fine regions of the Tropics there is one certain & never failing source of enjoyment, it is admiring the constellations in the heaven. Many of those who have seen both hemispheres give the victory to the stars of the North. It is however to me an inexpressible pleasure to behold those constellations, the first sight of which Humboldt describes with such enthusiasm. I experience a kindred feeling when I look at the Cross of the South, the phosphorescent clouds of Magellan & the great Southern Crown.

*[Mother Cary's chickens = Storm Petrel]

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