20th January 1833

They left Windhond Bay ("W" on map, above) anchored at Goree Roads ("G" on map, above) and spent the next few days loading three whale-boats and the yawl with provisions. On 18 January 1833 Capt. FitzRoy took the three Fuegians, twenty-eight members of the crew, and Darwin, in the four boats down the Beagle Channel ("B" on map, above).

In the afternoon they headed into the eastern side of the Channel, and in a short time found a small cove hidden by a few little islets and camped there for the night. The next day they glided along the Beagle Channel under the watchful eyes of native Fuegians on shore. At their next camp the crew met with several natives who begged endlessly for the most trifling objects. Over the next few days they continued along the channel and camped near the northern point of Ponsonby Sound ("P" on map, above). The next morning several natives came to their camp, all of whom were very excited to see the strange "pale people" who have visited their land. (With thanks to www.aboutdarwin.com)

Beagle Channel
We began to enter to day the parts of the country which is thickly inhabited. As the channel is not generally more than three or 4 miles broad, the constant succession of fresh objects quite takes away the fatigue of sitting so many hours in one position. The Beagle channel was first discovered by Cap. FitzRoy during the last voyage, so that it is probable the greater part of the Fuegians had never seen Europeans. Nothing could exceed their astonishment at the apparition of our four boats: fires were lighted on every point to attract our attention & spread the news.

Many of the men ran for some miles along the shore. I shall never forget how savage & wild one group was. Four or five men suddenly appeared on a cliff near to us. They were absolutely naked & with long streaming hair; springing from the ground & waving their arms around their heads, they sent forth most hideous yells. Their appearance was so strange, that it was scarcely like that of earthly inhabitants.

We landed at dinner time; the Fuegians were not at first inclined to be friendly, for till one boat pulled in before the others, they kept their slings in readiness. We soon delighted them by trifling presents such as tying red tape round the forehead; it is very easy to please but as difficult to make them content; the last & first word is sure to be "Yammer-schooner" which means "give me". At night we in vain endeavoured to find an uninhabited cove; the natives being few in number were quiet & inoffensive.

Captain Fitzroy’s Journal:
We passed the clay cliffs, spoken of in the former volume, first visited by Mr. Murray. They narrow the channel to less than a mile, but, being low, were beneath the horizon of our eye at Cutfinger Cove:—westward of them the channel widens again to its usual breadth of two miles. Several natives were seen in this day's pull; but as Jemmy told us they were not his friends, and often made war upon his people, we held very little intercourse with them. York laughed heartily at the first we saw, calling them large monkeys; and Jemmy assured us they were not at all like his people, who were very good and very clean. Fuegia was shocked and ashamed; she hid herself, and would not look at them a second time. It was interesting to observe the change which three years only had made in their ideas, and to notice how completely they had forgotten the appearance and habits of their former associates; for it turned out that Jemmy's own tribe was as inferior in every way as the worst of those whom he and York called "monkeys—dirty—fools—not men."

We gave these 'Yapoos,' as York called them, some presents, and crossed over to the north side of the channel to be free from their importunities; but they followed us speedily, and obliged us to go on further westward than was at all agreeable, considering the labour required to make way against a breeze and a tide of a mile an hour. When we at last landed to pass the night, we found that the forests on the sides of the mountains had been burned for many leagues; and as we were not far from the place where a volcano was supposed to exist, in consequence of flames having been seen by a ship passing Cape Horn, it occurred to me that some conflagration, like that of which we found the signs, might have caused appearances resembling the eruption of a distant volcano: and I have since been confirmed in this idea, from having witnessed a volcano in eruption; and, not long afterwards, a conflagration, devouring many miles of mountain forest; both of which, at a distance, shewed lines of fire, fitful flashes, and sudden gleams.

Persons who have witnessed a forest burning on the side of a mountain, will easily perceive how, when seen from a distance, it may resemble the eruption of a volcano; but to those who have not seen fire on such a scale, I may remark that each gust of wind, or temporary calm; each thick wood, or comparatively barren space; augments or deadens the flames so suddenly, as the fire sweeps along the mountain side, that, at a distance of fifty miles or more, the deception may be complete.

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