28th January 1835

Chonos Archipelago
Rising before day-break reached S. Carlos in the morning. We arrived on the right day, for in the evening heavy rain commenced. I have now well seen Chiloe, having both gone round it & crossed it in two directions.

27th January 1835

Chonos Archipelago
We left Castro early in the morning; after having entered for some time the forest, we had from a steep brow of a hill, (& it is a rare thing in this road) an extensive view of the great forest; over the horizon of trees the Volcanoes of Corcovado & Lagartigas stood out in proud preeminence; Scarcely another peak of the Cordilleras showed their snowy tops. I hope it will be long before I forget this farewell view of the magnificent Cordilleras of Chiloe. — At night we again bivouaced with a cloudless sky,

26th January 1835

Chonos Archipelago
We again embarked in the Peragua & crossed the lake: & then took to our horses. The whole of Chiloe took advantage of this week of unusually fine weather to clear the ground by burning: in every direction volumes of smoke were curling upwards: although the inhabitants were so assiduous in setting fire to every part of the wood, I did not see a single one which they had succeeded in making extensive. We dined with our friend the Commandante & did not reach Castro till after dark. I cannot give a better idea of the poverty of Castro, than the fact that we had great difficulty to buy a pound of sugar; & a knife which we wanted was quite out of the question. Don Pedro gave as a reason for this; that there being no money, goods could only be taken in exchange, so that a trader must at the same time be a merchant. A man wanting to buy a bottle of wine, carrys on his back an Alerce board!

25th January 1835

Chonos Archipelago
In the morning being left alone with the Indians, we soon ingratiated ourselves by presents of cigars & matte: a lump of white sugar was divided between all present & tasted with the greatest curiosity. — The Indians ended all their complaints by saying "& it is only because we are poor Indians & know nothing, but it was not so when we had a King". — I really think a boats crew with the Spanish flag might take the island of Chiloe.

The next day after breakfast we rode to P. Huantamò, a little way to the Northward; the road lay along a very broard beach, on which even after so many fine days a terrible surf was breaking. I am assured that after a gale the roar can be heard at night even at Castro, a distance of no less than twenty one sea miles across a hilly and wooded country. We had some difficulty in reaching the point owing to the intolerably bad paths; for every where in the shade, the ground in Chiloe soon becomes a perfect quagmire. The point itself is a bold rocky hill; it is covered by a plant allied I believe to the bromelias, with little recurved hooks on the leaves, and which the inhabitants call Chepones. In scrambling through the beds, our hands were very much scratched; I was amused by seeing the precaution our Indian guide took, in turning up his trowsers thinking them more delicate than his hard skin. — This plant bears a fruit, in shape like an Artichoke; in it a number of seed-vessels are packed together which contain a pleasant sweet pulp & are here much esteemed. I saw at Lowes Harbor the Chilotans making Chichi or cyder with this fruit; so true is it, that everywhere man finds some means to make intoxicating drink.

The coast to the Northward of P. Huantamò is exceedingly rugged & broken & is fronted by many breakers on which the sea is eternally roaring. — Mr King & myself were anxious to return, if it had been possible, on foot along this coast; but even the Indians say it is quite impracticable. — We were told that men have crossed by striking into the Woods from Cucao to S. Carlos, but never by the Coast. — On these expeditions the Indians only carry with them toasted corn; & of this they eat sparingly but twice a day.

I made some enquiries concerning the history of the Indians of Chiloe. They all speak the same language which is the Birliche or Williche: is different from that of the Araucanians; yet their method of address is nearly the same; the word being "Mari-Mari", which signifys "good morning". They recognize amongst themselves certainly some divisions: do not believe that the Ragunias or Chahues come (as Mr Douglass states) from the North, & only recognized the former name. They say the Bybenies formerly spoke quite a distinct language; the Commandante believes they came from the South. The Indian word, to the S. of C. Tres Montes, for the Potatoe is Aquina, here they have quite a distinct name. — These Indians of Cucao are said to have originally belonged to Isd [of] Huafo, & to have been brought over by the Missionaries. — In a similar manner the Missionaries finding the passage to the Chonos Islands difficult & dangerous tempted by presents the Inhabitants to come & live in Caylen. This agrees with what the Chilotans said in Lowes Harbor & it perfectly accounts for the deserted state of that Archipelago. — I before heard that the few remaining Bybenies chiefly lived in Caylen. Is it not probable that these are the original inhabitants of Chonos?

I understand since the time of the Patria, the Caciques have been entirely done away with.

24th January 1835

Chonos Archipelago
Don Pedro procured us fresh horses & offered himself to accompany us. We proceeded to the South, generally following the coast. We passed through several hamlets, each with its large barn-like chapel built of wood. — Near Castro we saw a remarkably pretty waterfall: it was very small: but the water fell in a single sheet into a large circular basin; around which stately trees from 100 to 120 feet high cast a dark shadow.

At Vilèpilli Don Pedro asked the Commandante to give us a guide to Cucao: The old gentleman offered to come himself; but for a long time he could not believe that anything could induce two Englishmen to go to such an out of the way place as Cucao. He repeatedly asked "but where are you really going?" & when Don Pedro answered to Cucao — He replied "a los infiernos, hombre; — what is the good of deceiving me?" — We thus were accompanied by the two greatest aristocrats in the country; as was plainly to be seen in the manner of all the poorer Indians. — But yet, it must not for a moment be imagined that either of these men had at all the air of a gentleman.

At Chonchi we struck off across the island and followed intricate winding paths, sometimes passing through magnificent forest & them opening into pretty cleared spots, abounding with corn & potatoe. crops. In this undulating woody country, partially cultivated, there was something which brought to mind the wilder parts of England, & hence to my eye wore a most fascinating aspect. — On the road we met a small herd of cattle which had just been collected at a "Rodeo"in the Pampas or Chili, where many hundreds are collected by a few men: here there were more men than cattle! — The cattle are hunted by dogs, which like our bull-dogs seize & hold them by the ears & nose, till men with lazos can come up & secure them. — At Vilinco, which is situated on the borders of the great lake of Cucao, only a few fields are cleared out of the forest, & the inhabitants appear all Indian. — This lake is twelve miles long & runs in an East & West direction: from local circumstances, the sea breeze blows very regularly during the day & during the night it falls calm. — This has given rise to strange exaggerations; for the phenomenon as described to us at S. Carlos was quite a prodigy.

The road to Cucao was so very bad, that we determined to embark in a periagua. The Commandante in the most authoritative manner ordered six Indians to get ready to paddle us over & without deigning to tell them whether they would be paid. The periagua is a strange roughboat, but the crew were still stranger: I do not think six uglier little men ever were in a boat together. — They pulled however very well & cheerfully; the stroke oar gabbled Indian & uttered strange crys, much after the fashion a pig-driver drives pigs. — We started with a light breeze against us, but yet reached after night fall the Capella de Cucao; having pulled at the rate of three miles an hour.— The country on each side of the lake is one unbroken forest. In the same Periagua with us, a cow was embarked; it would seem a puzzle how to get a cow into a small boat, but the Indians managed it in a minute. They brought the cow along side the boat, & heeling the gunwale towards her, placed two oars under her belly & resting on the gunwale; with these levers they fairly tumbled the poor animal heels over head into the bottom of the boat. — At Cucao we found an uninhabited hovel (which is the residence of the Padre when he pays this Capella a visit) where lighting a fire, we cooked our supper & were very comfortable.

The district of Cucao is the only inhabited part on the whole West coast of Chiloe. It contains about thirty or forty Indians, who are scattered along four or five miles of the shore, and without a single Spanish resident. — They are very much secluded from the rest of Chiloe & have scarcely any sort of commerce, excepting sometimes a little oil which they get from seal blubber. They are pretty well dressed in clothes of their own manufacture, & they have plenty to eat. — They seemed however discontented, yet humble to a degree which it was quite painful to behold. The former feeling is I think chiefly to be attributed to the harsh & authoritative manner in which they are treated by their rulers. Our companions, although so very civil to us, behaved to the poor Indians as if they were slaves rather than free men. They ordered provisions, & the use of their horses, without ever condescending to say how much, or indeed if the owners should at all be paid.

23rd January 1835

Chonos Archipelago
We started early in the morning & reached the pretty quiet town of Castro at 2 oclock. The governor who was here on the former occasion was dead, & in his place was a Chileno. — We had a letter of introduction to him; he had formerly been in much better circumstances, but was now very poor, & his Governorship only confers honor but no pay. — We found Don Pedro most exceedingly hospitable & kind; & a degree of disinterestedness which I believe to be as common in the Spanish character, as assuredly it is most rare in the present Creole race (i.e. in Chili).

22nd January 1835

Chonos Archipelago
Capt FitzRoy being anxious that some bearings should be taken on the outer coast of Chiloe, an excursion was planned that Mr King & myself should ride to Castro & from thence across the Island to the Capella de Cucao, situated close to the West coast. — Having hired horses & a guide, we set out on the morning of the 22nd. We had not proceeded far, before we were joined by a woman & two boys, who were bent on the same journey. Every one on this road acts on a "Hail fellow well met" fashion: and one may here enjoy the priviledge, so rare in S America, of travelling without fire arms. — In the first part the road lies across a succession of hills & valleys; nearer to Castro it crosses a plain.— The road is a very singular affair as I have formerly said, is almost entirely composed of logs of wood. — These are either broard slabs laid longitudinally or smaller ones transversely to the direction of the road. — Being summer time & fine weather the road is not so very bad; but in winter, when the wood is slippery with rain, by all accounts the travelling becomes quite dangerous. It is remarkable how active custom has made the Chilotan horses; in crossing bad parts of the road where the logs are displaced, the horse skips from one to the other with quickness & certainty of a dog. — In winter the road on each side of the line of logs is a perfect swamp & is in many places overflowed; so that the logs are fastened down by transverse poles, which are pegged into the earth on each side. — These same pegs render a fall from a horse more dangerous as the chance of alighting on one is not small. — On either hand of the road we have the forest of lofty trees, their bases matted together by the Canes. — When occasionally a long reach of this avenue could be seen, it presented a curious scene of uniformity; the white line of logs, narrowing in perspective, became hidden by the one colored forest, or it terminated in a zig zag line which ascended some steep hill. — The first opening of this road must have cost considerable labor. — I was told that many people had lost their lives in attempting to cross the forest, & that the first who succeeded was an Indian who cut his way through the canes in 8 days & reached S. Carlos. — He was rewarded by the Spanish government by a large grant of land. — The distance in a straight line is only 12 sea-leagues, yet from the nature of the forest the labor must have been excessive. — During the summer time many of the Indians wander about the woods, chiefly in the higher parts where it is not quite so thick, in search of half wild cattle, which live in the forest on the leaves of the Cane & various trees. It was one of these Indians who by chance found a few years since an English ship which had been wrecked on the West coast, the crew of which was beginning to fail in provisions: it is not probable [that] without the aid of this man, they would have been able to extricate themselves. — as it was, one of the men died of fatigue on their march. — The Indians in these excursions steer by the Sun & are very expert in finding their way; if however they have a continuance of cloudy weather, they cannot travel; This reminds one of the state which navigation must have been in before the invention of the compass.

The road to Castro will before very long become inhabited; we now meet 3 or 4 cleared spots, each with its house, in the interval between the two inhabited ends. — It is at this time of year much frequented; chiefly however by foot men, who carry on their backs heavy loads of corn &c &c & buy at S. Carlos clothese, Capsicum &c to sell in the country. These men perform the journey in less than two days.

The day was beautiful; the number of trees which were in full flower perfumed the air; yet even this could scarcely dissipate the gloomy dampness of the forest. The number of dead trunks, which stand like great white skeletons, never fails to give these primeval woods a character of solemnity which is wanting in those of countries long civilized, such as England.

I noticed in some particular tracts that nearly all the large trees were dead. — I cannot give any reason for this. — My guide cut the matter short by saying that a "bad wind" had killed them! Shortly after sunset, we bivouaced for the night. Our female companion was rather good looking; she belonged to one of the most respectable families in Castro. — She rode, however, without shoes or stockings & cross-legged. — I was surprised at the want of pride shown by both her & her brother; they brought food with them, but at all our meals sat watching Mr King & myself eating, till out of shame they compelled us to feed the whole party. — The night was cloudless; we enjoyed, & it is an high enjoyment, whilst lying in our beds the sight of the multitude of stars which brightened the darkness of the forest.

20th January 1835

Captain Fitzroy’s Journal:
In the night, or rather from two to three the following morning, Osorno was observed in eruption, throwing up brilliant jets of flame or ignited matter, high into the darkness, while lava flowed down its steep sides in torrents, which from our distance (seventy-three miles) looked merely like red lines. Daybreak diminished the effect, and as the light increased only a dark column of smoke could be discerned. This mountain is one of the most striking in form which I ever saw. It is not only quite conical from the base to the summit, but it is so sharply pointed that its appearance is very artificial. When seen from the sea, at a distance of ninety or a hundred miles, the whole of the cone, 6,000 feet in height* at least, and covered with snow, stands out in the boldest relief from among ranges of inferior mountains. The apex of this cone being very acute, and the cone itself regularly formed, it bears a resemblance to a gigantic glass-house; which similitude is increased not a little by the column of smoke so frequently seen ascending.

19th January 1835

Chonos Archipelago
Early in the morning the ship ran out to sound on the English bank. A boat put me on shore on P. Tenuy, where I found some very interesting geology. In the evening we returned to our old anchorage at P. Arena. — During this night the Volcano of Osorno was in great activity; at 12 oclock the Sentry observed something like a large star, from which state it gradually increased in size till three oclock when most of the officers were on deck watching it. — It was a very magnificent sight; by the aid of a glass, in the midst of the great red glare of light, dark objects in a constant succession might be seen to be thrown up & fall down. — The light was sufficient to cast on the water a long bright shadow. — By the morning the Volcano seemed to have regained its composure. —

Captain Fitzroy’s Journal:
As some soundings were still wanted near the English bank, and about the approach to San Carlos, we employed the 19th in taking them, on board the Beagle, accompanied by her boats, and returned to our usual anchorage, close to Point Arena, at dark. When sounding on the English bank, we repeatedly tried to ascertain its nature by forcing a very long iron lance downwards as far as possible. The instrument penetrated about two feet into sand in all instances but one, when it was stopped abruptly by a substance which bent the lance and turned its point. It did not, however, feel like rock, rather, I should say, like hard wood. This hard place was about a square yard in extent, and all around was sand.

18th Juanuary 1835

Chonos Archipelago
... by noon on the Sunday reached S. Carlos. — We found Mr Sulivan with the Yawl & Whaleboat, who had made a prosperous cruize.

17th January 1835

Chonos Archipelago
We ran along during the next day the Southern part of [the] outer coast of Chiloe; The country is similar to that on the inside coast viz a thickly wooded plain & white cliffs facing the sea: further to the North the coast becomes bolder. — We made during the night a good run and… [continued on the 18th]

Captain Fitzroy’s Journal:
On the 17th we sailed, and next day anchored off Point Arena, in San Carlos Harbour. Lieutenant Sulivan, with his party, had arrived a few days previously, after a very satisfactory cruise. We found his boats hauled up and refitted, his people lodged under their tents, and himself with Mr. Usborne busily occupied in my little observatory, laying down the work for which they had collected materials. Thus we were again assembled in safety, after being considerably divided, and, in consequence, exposed to numerous dangers which human prudence can neither foresee nor prevent.

15th & 16th January 1835

Chonos Archipelago
On the 15th we sailed & steered for the SW point of Chiloe; the next day it was attempted to survey the coast, but the weather again becoming bad, we bore up & run to an anchorage under Huafo. We had the misfortune to lose our best Bower anchor, which parted in bringing up the ship. — I went on shore in the evening, & extracted from the rock a good many fossil shells. — There are here some large caverns; one which I could by no means see the length of, had been inhabited some long time ago. — During the night it rained as if rain was a novelty; the rain in this country never seems to grow tired of pouring down.

Captain Fitzroy’s Journal:
We sailed from Port Low and went to Huafo once more, wishing to give Mr. Darwin an opportunity of examining it geologically. There are now no inhabitants on that island, though there are a good many sheep belonging to Chilotes, who live at Caylin. Formerly there were Indians called Huyhuen-che, upon Huafo; but the Spaniards obliged them to quit it, for fear they should give information or supplies to English ships. Near the Beagle, when at anchor, there was a square place, like an entrance to some cave, seemingly cut by man in the soft sand-stone rock; and I have since often reproached myself for having left the place without ascertaining its real nature. It may be the entrance to some cave, formerly used as a burying-place, similar to those explored by Low, and by the surgeon of the Wager.

10th January 1835

Captain Fitzroy’s Journal:
While lying at Port Low we caught plenty of fish with the seine; we obtained oysters from neighbouring creeks, and shot ducks and geese, so there was no want of fresh provision. Some piraguas from Chilóe were in the port: the Chilotes in them were in search of otters, seals, and nutria, and had come across the gulf of Huafo, in their ill-conditioned vessels, with no little trepidation.

On an outlying islet, near Port Low, I first saw the wild potato. Next to seeing a wild man, I recollect few objects which struck me much more than that group of wild potatoes:—but I have neither inclination nor space here to speak of my own sensations. The stems, leaves, and flowers of these vegetables were as large, and appeared to be as healthy, as those in an English garden, but the potatoes at their roots were small, watery, and insipid. It ought to be recollected, however, that we saw them early in January—corresponding to July—many weeks, at least, before one could expect to find eatable potatoes in an English field.

It was remarked in the Chonos islands, as well as in Tierra del Fuego, that the trees which grow in thin soil, lying upon slaty rocks, extend their roots so horizontally that it is not surprising to find, running through woodland, broad tracts whence the shallow-rooted trees have been swept away, partly by wind, partly by the action of mountain-torrents.* As wood grows even at the water's edge in those countries, where not exposed to the first attack of wind from seaward, and as there are so many loose overhanging masses of rock, one cannot be surprised at the vast quantities of drift-wood found in some places; or think it improbable for a quadruped to be occasionally precipitated into the sea, with a falling mass of rocks and trees, and afterwards drifted by wind and current to some other locality.

From Port Low we saw a notable mountain, one of the Cordillera of the Andes, having three points upon a small flat top, about eight thousand feet above the sea. I called it the Trident at that time; but afterwards learned that there are four peaks (one of which was hid by another from our point of view), and that it is called by the aborigines Meli-moyu, which in the Huilli-che language signifies four points.

Three other remarkable mountains, active volcanoes, are visible from the northern Huaytecas islands, as well as from Chilóe; I mean the Corcobado (hump-backed), of which I do not remember the Indian name; Yanteles (or Yanchiñu, which means 'having a shivering, and unnatural heat'), and Minchenmadom, which, in the Huilli-che tongue, means 'under a firebrand'; names so expressive and appropriate as to put to shame much of our own nomenclature. Wherever I have been able to discover the aboriginal name of a place in South America, and could ascertain its meaning, I have been struck by the extreme appositeness, as well as by the copious though condensed allusion usually conveyed.

In Chilóe and about the north-eastern Chonos Islands, almost all the aboriginal names are preserved, because there interpreters could be procured; but, of course, such advantages were generally unattainable in Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego. In Chilóe, as in Araucania, every corner and every conspicuous spot, whether land or water, has a particular and expressive name, a word usually compounded of two or three others: thus, Huapi-quilan means Three Islands: Calbu-co, Blue Water; Cauca-huapi, Gull Island; Huechu-cucuy, Point Cucuy, or Grandmother; Carel-mapu (Cara-el-mapu), Bad-city-country; Petu-cura, middle stone (a rock in Chacao Narrow), &c.

* The writer of Anson's voyage, speaking of Juan Fernandez, exactly describes the loose state of trees in such places, when he says, "The northern part of this island is composed of high, craggy hills, many of them inaccessible, though generally covered with trees. The soil of this part is loose and shallow, so that very large trees on the hills soon perish for want of root, and are then easily overturned, which occasioned the death of one of our sailors; who being upon the hills, in search of goats, caught hold of a tree upon a declivity, to assist him in his ascent, and this giving way, he immediately rolled down the hill; and though in his fall he fastened on another tree of considerable bulk, yet that, too, gave way, and he fell among the rocks, and was dashed to pieces. Mr. Brett likewise met with an accident, only by resting his back against a tree, near as large about as himself, which stood on a slope; for the tree giving way, he fell to a considerable distance, though without receiving any injury."

8th - 14th January 1835

Chonos Archipelago
Our week in this port passed rather heavily; the climate is so very bad & the country so very uniform in its character.

7th January 1835

Chonos Archipelago
We ran on during the night. The French ship most pertinaciously followed us; she supposed we were making for some Harbor; & a harbor on this lee-shore is a prize which a Whaler dare not herself look for. We found MrStokes had arrived a week before at this (Lowes Harbor) our rendevous. The islands here are chiefly of the same Tertiary formation as at Chiloe, & are beautifully luxuriant: The woods come down to the beach in precisely [the] same manner as an evergreen shrubbery over a gravel walk. We found here a Periagua from Caylen; the Chilotans had most adventurously crossed in their miserable boat the open space of the sea which separates Chonos from Chiloe. — I think this place will soon be inhabited; there is a great abundance of fine muscles & oysters; wild potatoes grow in plenty, one which I measured was oval, & its longest diameter two inches. — Mr Stokes & his party cooked & ate them & found them watery but good. — The Chilotans expected to catch fish, & the very great numbers of sea-otters shows to be the case.

We enjoyed from the anchorage a splendid view of four of the great snowy cones of the Cordilleras; the most Northern is the flat-topped Volcano, & next to this comes "el famoso Corcovado". The range itself is almost hidden beneath the horizon.

Captain Fitzroy’s Journal:
On the 7th we anchored in Port Low, and found Mr. Stokes just arrived, after a fagging cruise among the Chonos islands. His journal contains a great deal of information, from which I have extracted those passages most likely to interest the general reader.

His whale-boat was so loaded at starting (16th Dec.) that her gunwale amidships was but a foot above water. She was twenty-five feet long and six feet broad, and then carried seven men, besides instruments and a month's provisions. Of water she had only two 'barecas,' because on that coast fresh water is only too plentiful. In passing a promontory, the following day, while their boat was still deep, the swell became so great that Mr. Low said he had never before been in a boat exposed to greater danger.

In some places where they landed the woods were so thick that Mr. Stokes was obliged to climb trees to get angles; and not being able to tell previously which would answer his purpose, sometimes he made three or four useless ascents, before he could obtain a view: "but," he says "there is a pleasure I cannot express in roaming over places never visited by civilized man." On Rowlett Island potatoes were found growing wild; the largest dug up measured two inches in length, and an inch in thickness: they were quite tasteless.

At the east side of Ipun, on Narborough Island, an excellent small port was found, which was named Scotchwell Harbour. On the shore, near it, was a large bed of strawberries, like those that grow in English woods; and there was a sweet-scented pea, besides abundance of other vegetable produce, both herbage and wood, and plenty of water.

"Hitherto, all the islands we had seen were of slate-rock, some parts so soft, that I could break them easily with my finger, and I found that they blacked my hand, like plumbago; but Ipun is quite different in structure, being an earthy sandstone." (Stokes MS)

Syzygial high water at Ipun takes place at noon, and the tide rises six or eight feet. The flood-tide comes from the southward.

At May Harbour (which may be the Bello Dique of the Santa Barbara), many cypress trees were noticed, for the first time hereabouts, and a surprising number of otters. The tide rose seven feet. About the Huaytecas Islands, the northern-most of the Archipelago, quantities of excellent oysters were found, quite as good as any sold in London. No quadrupeds were seen, except nutria and otters, which were numerous. Their numbers, and the quantity of birds, show that Indians do not now frequent that quarter; indeed, no traces of them whatever were found by Mr. Stokes, or any of our party, among the Chonos islands.

6th January 1835

Chonos Archipelago
The Captain's faith is rewarded by a beautiful day & Southerly wind. After noon, the ship was hove to, & the Captain ran in his boat to reconnoitre some harbors. We passed a dead whale; it was not very putrid; the barnacles & great parasitical crabs being alive; the skin of this great mass of flesh & blubber was quite pink; I suppose owing to partial decomposition. (Note in margin: Outer thin skin having been removed.) In one of the harbors in P. Tres Montes, we found another cast up on the beach & of the same color. A sight of a Whale always puts me in mind of the great fossil animals; he appears altogether too big for the present pigmy race of inhabitants. He ought to have coexisted with his equals, the great reptiles of the Lias epoch.

During our absence, a French Whaler bore down on the Beagle & here we found her Captain on board. He had lately been at anchor when two other great ships; one of which was commanded by our old friend Le Dilly, who was wrecked in the Falklands. So that the French government are not tired of their expensive school to make Sailors.

5th January 1835

Chonos Archipelago
The Barometer says we shall have fine weather; & although we have at present a foul wind & plenty of rain, we stand out to sea.

4th January 1835

Chonos Archipelago
The NW winds continued to prevail & we only managed to cross a sort of great bay & anchored in an excellent harbor. — This is the place where the Anna Pink, one of Lord Anson's squadron, found refuge during the disasters which beset him.* A boat with the Captain went up to the head of the bay. The number of the Seals was quite astonishing; every bit of flat rock or beach was covered with them. They appear to be of a loving disposition & lie huddled together fast asleep like pigs: but even pigs would be ashamed of the dirt & foul smell which surrounded them. Often times in the midst of the herd, a flock of gulls were peaceably standing: & they were watched by the patient but inauspicious eyes of the Turkey Buzzard. — This disgusting bird, with its bald scarlet head formed to wallow in putridity, is very common on this West Coast. Their attendance on the Seals shows on the mortality of what animal they depend.

We found the water (probably only that of the surface) nearly fresh; this is caused by the number of the mountain torrents which in the form of cascades come tumbling over the bold Granite rocks into the very sea. — The fresh- water attracts the fish & this brings many terns, gulls & two kinds of cormorant. — We saw also a pair of the beautiful black- necked swans; & several small sea-otters, the fur of which is held in such high estimation. In returning we were again amused by the impetuous manner in which the heap of seals, old & young, tumbled into the water as the boat passed by. They would not remain long under, but rising, followed us with outstreched necks, expressing great wonder & curiosity.

The entire absence of all Indians amongst these islands is a complete puzzle. That they formerly lived here is certain, & some even within a hundred years; I do not think they could migrate anywhere; & indeed, what could their temptation be? For we here see the great abundance of the Indians highest luxury, seals flesh; I should suppose the tribe has become extinct; one step to the final extermination of the Indian race in S. America.

* The small merchantman or pink Anna accompanied Anson's fleet on the voyage in which after capturing the Spanish galleons laden with treasure from Manila, he completed the circumnavigation of the globe. Earlier in the voyage, after rounding Cape Horn in April 1741, the ships were scattered in a severe storm, and the badly damaged Anna was repaired here at Port Refuge before proceeding to the rendezvous with Anson at Juan Fernandez Island.

Captain Fitzroy’s Journal:
On the 4th we moved to Port Refuge, a safe, but out of the way place. In the "narrative of what befel the Anna Pink," given in Anson's Voyage, this harbour is described in very glowing colours; but we may remember that those who discovered it, were there saved from destruction; and naturally looked upon all things around them with excited feelings.* How the officers of the Santa Barbara made their survey of this port and its neighbourhood I am at a loss to know; a mere eye-sketch, drawn upon the spot, might have been much better than that which they gave to the world as a mathematical plan. In their distorted representation of Port Refuge, many soundings have been scattered, apparently at random, and quite at variance with truth. This is so unlike most Spanish works of a similar nature, some of which are very accurate, considering the date of their manufacture, and the means employed,—that I conclude the officers of that frigate, not understanding marine surveying, merely drew rough sketches of what they saw, which were afterwards 'cooked' into a more regular 'appearance,' by some one who was not on board with them. Had time allowed I should have explored the Gulf of San Rafael, at the back of Tres Montes Peninsula, but knowing that it could only be an object of geographical, not immediately practical interest to do so, I refrained from indulging mere curiosity, much as I desired to corroborate the account of Spanish missionaries who often went there, crossing the Isthmus of Ofqui, in search of Indians among the Guaianeco islands, and even farther south, of whom they might make converts to Christianity. Doubtless some of these voyages were undertaken and completed with benevolent and single-minded intentions; but I suspect that others were conducted on a different principle; and that their chief object was to procure able-bodied slaves to be employed in the mines of Chilóe or Southern Chile. I should be glad to learn that this suspicion is ill-founded.**

* Anson's Voyage, chapter iii.

** It is difficult to account for the present abandoned state of these regions, if no harsh usage was experienced by their former natives.

1st January 1835

Chonos Archipelago
The new year is ushered in with the Ceremonies proper to it in these regions: — she lays out no false hopes; a heavy NW gale with steady rain bespeaks the rising year. Thank God we shall not here see the end of it; but rather in the Pacific, where a blue sky does tell one there is a heaven, a something beyond the Clouds, above our heads.