30th April 1833

I rode a few miles round the town; the country is exceedingly similar to that of M: Video, but rather more hilly. We here have the same fine grass plain, with its beautiful flowers & birds, the same hedges of Cactus & the same entire absence of all trees. After pacing for some weeks the plank decks, one ought to be grateful for the pleasure of treading on the green elastic turf, although the surrounding view in both cases is equally uninteresting.

29th April 1833

I took up my residence on shore, & procured lodgings at a well-know old lady, by name Donna Francisca. The day was spent in vain efforts to make any sort of comfortable arrangements. The rooms are very high & large; they have but very small windows & are almost destitute of furniture. They are all on the ground floor & open into each other. The very existence of what an Englishman calls comfort never passed through the builders mind.

28th April 1833

By noon we arrived at the anchorage of Maldonado & found there, our Schooner, all safe & snug.

Captain Fitzroy’s Journal:
At noon on the 28th we moored the Beagle in Maldonado Bay, close to the little island of Gorriti. Our tender, the Adventure, had arrived on the 23d. My thoughts were at this time occupied by arrangements connected with her, besides the usual routine observations. I was extremely anxious to fit the schooner properly, and to set her to work, but at the same time to keep all our other operations in active progress. A decked boat was lying in Maldonado, just built, which her owner, Don Francisco Aguilar, offered to lend me for two months, if I would rig her for him, and this proposal exactly suited my views, as it would enable me to send for Lieutenant Wickham, and supply his place by Mr. Usborne, leaving Mr. Stokes to continue the survey about San Blas and the Colorado. Accordingly, the Constitucion, as this little craft was named by her owner, was hauled alongside, and Mr. Usborne with a party, set to work in preparing her for a trip to the River Negro.

27th April 1833

Montevideo to Maldonado
Having landed our French passengers & having received all parcels & letters; after dinner weighed anchor & made sail, with a fresh breeze for Maldonado.

25th - 26th April 1833

At daybreak we found a current had set us several miles to leeward of Maldonado; as the breeze was both strong & fair the Captain determined to run on to M: Video. We arrived there a little after noon. I went on shore & saw Mr Earl; he remained at this place, during our whole cruise, in hopes of recovering his health, in which respect, however, I am afraid he has had little success. In the evening received letters from home dated Sept. 12th, Octob 14, Novem. 12th & Decr 15th. During our absence, things have been going on pretty quietly, with the exception of a few revolutions.
Captain Fitzroy’s Journal:
At daylight on the 26th, land was seen near Maldonado, and at two, we anchored off Monte Video. In a few hours the French passengers were landed

24th April 1833

La Plata
We are off the mouth of the Plata. At night there was a great deal of lightning; if a hurricane had been coming, the sky could not have looked much more angry. Probably we shall hear there has been at M. Video a tremendous Pampero. Our Royal mast head shone with St Elmos fire & therefore according to all good sailors no ill luck followed. It is curious how the R. Plata seems to form a nucleus for thunder storms; phenomena which both to the South & North of it are comparatively rare.

22nd & 23rd April 1833

Approaching La Plata
Our usual alternation of a gale of wind & a fine day.

20th & 21st April 1833

Coast of Patagonia
It blew half a gale of wind; but it was fair & we scudded before it. — Our decks fully deserved their nickname of a "half tide rock"; so constantly did the water flow over them. At noon 300 miles from Maldonado, with a foul wind.

18th & 19th April 1833

Coast of Patagonia
The climate here is quite celestial; cloudless blue skys, light breezes & smooth water. — We hear that this has been a very fine season; how strange it is, that the short distance as compared to the whole surface of the globe of this country from T. del Fuego, should make so much difference. — so that, those rapid currents in the atmosphere, which have attained a velocity of from 60 to 100 miles per hour, should not even here be felt. — As the wind is too light, every one is grumbling at this fine weather; we have been slowly working up the bay of St Matthias to Port St Antonio, where we yet hope to find the Schooners.

All our plans have undergone a complete revolution. During the night the soundings were very irregular & in the same proportion dangerous, so that we were obliged to heave to and in consequence of this a current set us far to the South. In the morning a fresh NW breeze sprung up; from these various disadvantages the Captain gave up the attempt to find Mr Wickham or of landing me at Rio Negro, & made sail for Maldonado. — If the wind, that omnipotent & overbearing master, permits it, the Beagle will touch at Maldonado & proceed on to M. Video & Buenos Ayres. — I intend stopping at the former place, as it possesses the two great advantages of retirement & novelty. —

16th & 17th April 1833

Coast of Patagonia
We have been standing, during the day, across the great Bay of St Matthias; as the place is unsurveyed we heave to at night: — The weather has been beautiful but too light; the mild warm climate & blue sky is most throughily enjoyed by all of us after our boisterous cruize in the South. What we saw of the coast consisted entirely in horizontal cliffs; in these, the divisions of the strata run for miles together exactly parallel to the surface of the sea. — It looks an El Dorado to a Geologist; such modern formations must contain so many organic remains. We reached St Josephs Bay, this is a grand circular expanse of water, opening by a narrow mouth into St Matthias, the crook of land which forms it is a remarkable feature in a chart of the coast of Patagonia. — It was expected that Mr Wickham would have been here, but to our sorrow, & more especially to the French passengers, who are very anxious to arrive at M: Video, the little Schooners were not to be seen. The wind being very light & a strong tide setting into the bay, we were obliged to let go a stream anchor. This gave me a most delightful opportunity of taking a glimpse at the cliffs. — They abounded with fossil shells & were in many respects very curious & interesting. My visit was so short that there was only time to see how much was missed. At night, as soon as the tide turned, the anchor was weighed & we proceeded in pursuit of Mr Wickham. —

14th & 15th April 1833

Coast of Patagonia
In the middle of the day, a Sail was seen a long way off in the SW. — We immediately made chace & soon found to our joy it was the Schooner. — Mr Chaffers came on board & reported that the Schooner had made good weather of it; but that the gales had been very heavy. — The Captain altered his plans & ordered Mr Chaffers to proceed directly on to Maldonado in the Rio Plata, & there wait our arrival. Whilst we were beating up to our station at the mouth of the Rio Negro; a small Schooner was seen beating down to us. — Every one immediately declared, they knew by the cut of her sails, that she was Wickham's. It turned out differently; she was a trading vessel to Rio Negro & brought news of our little Schooners. They were all well a week since & were then ready to sail to the South to the Bay of St Joseph. They had suffered one loss in Williams, the marine, who fell overboard in the river & was drowned. As the distance at present is under 100 miles, the Captain determined to run down & pay the Schooners a visit. Mr Wickham will go in the Beagle to Maldonado & Mr Stokes will remain in command. — This arrangement has materially affected me as the Captain has offered that one of the little Schooners, should take me up to the Rio Negro, after staying a few days in the Bay of St Joseph. — For the sake of the geology this is of the highest interest to me; otherwise the passage in so small a vessel will be sufficiently uncomfortable. —

13th April 1833

[Patagonia Cliffs]

Coast of Patagonia
In the morning we were off the mouth of the Rio Negro. Nothing was to be seen of the Schooner. In vain we endeavoured, by firing a gun & hoisting a pilot signal to procure intelligence from the shore. We suppose the sea on the bar prevented the pilot from coming out. Thus during the whole day we continued to cruize backwards & forwards. It was exceedingly annoying; as every one was most anxious to hear that Wickham & his party were all well. The coast is like, what we saw so much of, about Bahia Bianca, either sandy dunes, or a horizontal line of low cliffs.

12th April 1833

South Atlantic
We expect to arrive at our destination tomorrow morning — the weather latterly has been tolerably good but there was too much sea to allow me to be comfortable.

Captain Fitzroy’s Journal:
Early on the 12th, we were off the river Negro; but baffling winds and a heavy swell (raised by the late gale), prevented our anchoring near the bar, or sending in a boat.

9th April 1833

East Falkland Island
The weather to day is beautiful; it is the first time for three months that studding sails have been set. We attribute all this sun-shine & blue sky to the change in latitude; small although it be. We are at present 380 miles from the Rio Negro.

7th April 1833

East Falkland Island
Our usual luck followed us in the shape of a gale of wind; being in the right direction we scudded before it; by this means we run a long distance, but it was miserable work; every place dark wet & the very picture of discomfort.

6th April 1833

East Falkland Island
After cruizing about the mouth of the Sound to complete the survey, we stood out to sea on our way to the Rio Negro.

Captain Fitzroy’s Journal:
Having embarked M. le Dilly, with some of his officers and crew, and lumbered our little ship with the spars and stores purchased from him, we sailed from the Falklands. Our passage to within sight of the river Negro was short, though stormy, a south-east gale driving us before it, under a close-reefed fore-topsail. As the sea ran high, it might have been more prudent to have 'hove-to', but time was precious, and our vessel's qualities as a sea-boat, scudding as well as 'by the wind,' were well known.

4th April 1833

East Falkland Island
Our Schooner sailed for Rio Negro, in order if possible to catch Mr Wickham before he & Mr Stokes set out in their little vessels on a surveying cruize. Mr Chaffers has at present the command. Mr Wickham will have it eventually. The chief cause of the Beagle's present delay is the Captain having purchased what remained of the Frenchmans wreck for refitting the schooner. During this time I have been very busy with the Zoology of the Sea; the treasures of the deep to a naturalist are indeed inexhaustible.
Captain Fitzroy’s Journal:
Our tender, the Adventure, sailed on the 4th of April, under the charge of Mr. Chaffers, who was desired to call off the River Negro, and thence go to Maldonado, moor his vessel close to Gorriti Island, land every thing, and commence her thorough refit.

2nd April 1833

Captain Fitzroy’s Journal:
The report of a gun usually alarmed the whole herd of cows, and off they went at a gallop; but the lordly bulls were not to be hurried, they would stand and face their enemies, often charge them; when a precipitate retreat behind a rock, or to the boat, or across a boggy place, which the bull would not try, was the only resource, if their hardy dog was not by, to seize the angry animal, and give time for a well-directed shot. In those excursions, also, while ashore at night in small tents, the foxes used to plague them continually, poking their unpleasant heads into the opening of the tent (while the man on watch was by the fire), stealing their provisions, and breaking their rest, after a fatiguing day's work. What with the foxes, the wild bulls, and the wild horses, it is thoroughly unsafe for a person to walk alone about the unfrequented parts of the Falkland Islands—even with the best weapons for self-defence against either man or beast. Several unfortunate people have been missed there, who wandered away from their parties.