12th March 1833

Over the next 10 days or so, there will be fewer postings to this Blog... due to, in Charles Darwin's phrase in his next Journal entry on the 24th March, "We have never before stayed so long at a place & with so little for the Journal." But stay with me... or, as I am always doing, re-read Darwin's early entries.

Captain Fitzroy’s Journal:
While walking the deck after dark, I sometimes saw flashes of light on the distant hills, which it was difficult to account for as 'ignes fatui,' because they were seen only on the heights, and momentarily, long intervals intervening between each faint flash. I once remarked similar instantaneous glimpses of feeble light, like the flashing of a distant pistol, near Pecket Harbour, in Magalhaens Strait, during a rainy night, but on the hills, at the south side of Berkeley Sound, I witnessed such lights repeatedly. They were never bright or lasting—merely a faint sudden glimmer—exactly as I have said, like the flash of a pistol, fired at a great distance. It has since occurred to me, that the phosphoric light spoken of by Bougainville may be of a nature similar to that which I saw, and that those momentary flashes might have been caused by the occasional fall of stones among ravines, near the summits of hills.

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