13th February 1834

Straits of Magellan
Early in the morning we paid the Indians a visit in hopes of being able to obtain some Guanaco meat. They were as usual very civil: there is now married & living amongst them a native of Montevideo (by birth I should think 2/3 of Northern Indian blood) who has been four years with them. He tells us that they will remain here all the winter & then proceed up the Cordilleras; hunting for ostrich eggs; but that Guanaco meat never fails them in these parts. The Captain is thinking of exploring the R. Santa Cruz, & this man gave us some good news, viz that there are very few Indians in that part & that the river is so deep, that horses can nowhere ford it. In the R. Chupat, much further North, there are very many Indians; enemies to this tribe. But that all the Southern Indians 900 in number are friends. At this present time there were two boat Indians paying the Patagonians a visit (the men whom I have called foot Patagonians); they do not speak the same language; but one of this tribe has learnt their dialect. These Indians appear to have a facility in learning languages: most of them speak a little Spanish & English, which will greatly contribute to their civilization or demoralisation: as these two steps seem to go hand in hand. At mid-day we passed out of the first Narrows, & began to survey the coast. There are many & dangerous banks, on one of which we ran a very good chance of sticking; to escape it was necessary to get in three Fathom water.

No comments: