14th March 1833

Captain Fitzroy’s Journal:
My own employment obliged me to remain near the ship, but some of the officers made excursions into the interior, and to them and Mr. Brisbane I am indebted for most of the following notices of these islands.

Some very large bones were seen a long way from the sea-shore, and some hundred feet above the level of high water, near St. Salvador Bay. How they got there had often puzzled Mr. Vernet, and Brisbane also, who had examined them with attention; Brisbane told me they were whale's bones. The rocky summits of all the hills are amazingly broken up, like those of far higher elevations in Tierra del Fuego, and the fragments—some very large—have rolled down the nearest ravines, so that they look like the beds of dried-up torrents. The sand-stone, which is abundant, offers beautifully perfect impressions of shells, many of which were brought to England. In these fossils the minutest portions of delicate shells are preserved, as in a plaster of Paris cast, though the stone is now very hard. There are fine stalactites in some large caverns, but they are known only to a few sealers. The large muscles produce pearls of considerable size, though inferior quality, perhaps; Mr. Brisbane had a small bottle full. In one of the cottages I saw a heap of good whalebone, and was informed that some hundred pounds worth had been picked up on the coasts, and sold to whalers for a tenth part of its European value, in exchange for clothes, spirits, ammunition, and biscuit. On West Falkland there are beautiful pebbles, and on the heights fine crystals have been found.

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