30th June 1835

Captain Fitzroy’s Journal:
With the first dawn we drove the lazy boatmen to their barge, urging them alternately with money, entreaties, reproaches, and threats. The river was exceedingly swollen by late heavy rains, so that it was almost twice as wide, and quite as rapid, as usual. Our heavy ferry-boat was 'tracked' up it until it seemed possible for us to reach the other bank before the current swept us out to sea; but the appearance of the boat and men, and the utter uncertainty caused by a very thick fog, gave me no great hopes of reaching Concepcion in any reasonable time, though a vivid expectation of passing a few hours upon a sand-bank at the mouth of the river, if we escaped being hurried into the open sea. In this clumsily-built, flat-bottomed boat (a sort of large punt) were five horses, a troublesome young bull, six men, and three nominal boatmen, one of whom merely attempted to steer. With very long poles our unwieldy craft was pushed into the stream, and while the shore could be distinguished through the fog, made progress in a proper direction, though most crab-like was the movement. When fairly out of sight of land, the boatmen became alarmed and puzzled; but just then a large bell was heard tolling at Concepcion, which served to animate them, and to ensure our trying to go in the right direction. After an hour's unpleasant work, in a very cold morning, we landed about a mile below Concepcion, having started about as much above it on the opposite side. No time was then lost in galloping to Talcahuano, and going on board the Blonde, so that Captain Seymour's letter was delivered to Commodore Mason soon after ten.

I found that the commodore had engaged an American schooner to go in search of the crew of the Challenger; and that Mr. Usborne had been sent in her, with the second master of the Blonde,† three seamen of that ship, my coxswain, and the whale-boat which I took from the Beagle; she was a poor craft, and wretchedly found, though reputed to have sailed well, and to have been a fine vessel in her time. They left Talcahuano on the day after a gale from the north-west (on the 24th), which, by all accounts, was one of the severest that had been experienced during many years.
The Blonde sailed from Concepcion Bay on the 27th, the morning after I arrived; but unfortunately, during all that day, thick weather and half a gale of wind from the northward, prevented our having even one glimpse of the land, as we were running towards the entrance of the Leübu.

On the 29th, at daylight, the schooner Carmen was seen, and soon afterwards, through the haze, we made out Tucapel Head. At this time, neither Vogelborg (who was on board as local pilot) nor I, knew that the Heights of Tucapel Viejo were identical with the headland we recognized by the name of Tucapel Head. We both thought that Tucapel Viejo was in the bay where the river 'Lebo' is placed in the old Spanish charts. This error appears almost unaccountable to me now; though both he and I were then drawn into it by a variety of reasons unnecessary to detail here, and we therefore advised the commodore to run along-shore towards the supposed place of the Leübu (or Lebo), which he did; but the weather was so unfavourable, so thick and hazy, that nothing could be seen distinctly. Scarcely indeed could we discern the line of the surf, heavily as it was beating upon the shore; and at noon we were obliged to haul off, on account of wind and rain.

I should have mentioned that we spoke the schooner at eight in the morning, when Mr. Usborne said they had seen nothing in their run along-shore on the 26th, the only clear day they had had. After speaking us, he kept to the northward, intending, as we concluded, to close the land about Tucapel Head, and again run along-shore to the southward. In the haze we quickly lost sight of the schooner; but thinking that we should soon meet again in clearer weather, little notice was taken of this circumstance, which was afterwards so much regretted. Continual thick weather prevented any observations being taken, as well as the land from being seen.

29th & 30th June 1835

We gladly travelled down the valley to our former nights lodging; from the thence to near the "Agua amarga", where there is a bitter little well.

Captain Fitzroy’s Journal:
We reached 'Playa Blanca' as it got dusk. The heights near Point Coronel were difficult, in the dark, but we passed without worse disaster than a roll in the mud, from my girths breaking while struggling in a slough. Along the level lands of Don Juan de Dios Rivera we galloped briskly, until we were completely bewildered in the darkness. At last we found ourselves among enclosures, and by pulling up rails and breaking fences, made our way to a farm-house, where such information was obtained as enabled us to reach San Pedro, on the south bank of the Bio Bio, soon after midnight. No inducement could prevail upon the owner of the ferry-boat to let her take us across before daylight, so we sat down by a fire, after feeding our excellent horses, and dozed till daybreak.

28th June 1835

We continued gradually ascending as we followed the valley; this became more contracted & is called near to the Cordilleras Maricongo. We saw during the day some Guanacoes & the track of the Vicuna; also a great many Foxes; I presume these latter animals prey on the small gnawing animals which manage to find sustenance, & abound in the most sterile & dry spots. — The scenery on all sides showed desolation brightened & made palpable by a clear, unclouded sky. Custom excludes the feeling of sublimity & this being absent, such scenery is rather the reverse of interesting. — We bivouacked at the foot of the "primera Linea" or the first line of the partition of the waters; the streams however on the other side do not flow to the Atlantic, but into an elevated undulating district, in the middle of which there is a large Salina or salt-lake. Besides this ridge, there are two others to pass before arriving at the descent on the Eastern slope. — The outline of the Cordilleras in this part is very tame. — I climbed up on foot to very near the crest; from the Puna I experienced, I cannot suppose the elevation is less than 8,000 to 10,000 ft; There was a good deal of snow, which however only remains here in the winter months. The winds in these districts obey very regular laws; every day a fresh breeze blows up the valley & at night, an hour or two after sunset, the air from the cold regions above descends as through a funnel. — This night it blew a gale of wind, & the temperature must have been considerably below the freezing point, for water in a short time became a block of ice. No clothes seemed to oppose any obstacle to the air; I suffered much from the cold, so that I could not sleep, & in the morning rose with my body quite dull & benumbed.

In the Cordillera further Southward people lose their lives from snow-storms, here it sometimes happens from another cause. My guide, when a boy of fourteen years old, was passing with some others the Cordillera in the month of May, & while in the central parts a furious gale of wind arose, so that the men could hardly stick on their mules, & stones were flying along the ground; the day was quite cloudless & not a speck of Snow fell, but the temperature was low. — It is probable that the thermometer would not have stood very many degrees below the freezing point, but the effect on their bodies, ill-protected by clothing, would be in proportion to the rapidity of the current of cold air. — The gale lasted for more than a day; the men began to lose all their strength & the mules would not move onwards. — My guide's brother tried to return but he perished & his body was found two years afterwards, lying by the side of his mule near the road, with the bridle still in his hand. Two other men in the party lost their fingers & toes, & out of two hundred mules & thirty cows only fourteen of the former escaped alive. Many years ago a large party all perished from a similar cause; but their bodies to this day have never been discovered: the union of a cloudless sky, low temperature, & a furious gale of wind, I should think must be in all parts of the world an unusual occurrence.

Captain Fitzroy’s Journal:
Daylight found Seymour and myself still talking, though he had given me his bed. Partly at that time, and partly in subsequent conversations, he gave me the following account of the loss of the Challenger; but without mentioning his own exertions or conduct, which I heard of from his officers.

I will take this opportunity of mentioning that there is a large fox, called 'culpen,' in the Araucanian country, which was mentioned to me as being more like a wolf than a fox; but at that time I paid very little attention to the subject. Stevenson says, "the culpen is rather more foolish than daring, but not void of the latter quality. It will advance within eight or ten paces of a man, and after looking at him for some time, will retire carelessly." "Its colour is a dark reddish brown, with a long straight tail covered with shaggy hair; its height is about two feet.

27th June 1835

Set out early in the morning, by midday reached the ravine of Paypote, where there is a tiny rill of water, a little vegetation on its borders & some Algarroba (a Mimosa) trees. On this latter account formerly there was a smelting furnace here; we found a solitary man in charge of it, his sole occupation was hunting Guanacoes with a pack of large dogs. — At night it froze sharply, but we had plenty of firewood to make a good fire.

Captain Fitzroy’s Journal:
Captain Seymour was at the landing place. Old friends, meeting under such circumstances, can say but little. Hastening to the encampment, where all had turned out to hear the welcome news of assistance being at hand, we made their hearts rejoice by saying that the Blonde was at Talcahuano, and coming to their relief. With the officers, I found our excellent consul, Mr. Rouse.† At the first intimation of the Challenger's loss, he had hastened to the spot without an hour's delay; well aware how useful his influence and information would prove, and supposing that the officers would not be conversant in Araucanian habits and language, even if they should have made a slight acquaintance with those of Chile. His assistance proved to be of the utmost consequence, for not only did his explanations intimidate and discourage open or disguised enemies, who were not wanting, but his credit and influence procured daily supplies of provisions: while to his address and good sense every one of the shipwrecked crew was much indebted in many transactions.

26 June 1835

Copiapo to Agua-amarga
I hired a Vaqueano & 8 mules to take me into the Cordilleras by a more direct line than last time. As the country in this direction was utterly desert I took with me a cargo & half of Barley & Straw. About two leagues above the town, a broad valley called the "Despoblado" or uninhabited, branches off from the one by which I descended. This at first runs very Northerly, but then proceeds well Easterly & ends in a good pass to the other side. This valley is a very large one, both of great breadth & depth; it is however quite dry, perhaps with the exception of a few days during some very rainy winter. The sides of the crumbling mountains are but little furrowed with ravines & the bottom of the main valley level. No considerable river ever could have poured its waters over the bed of shingle, without leaving a channel similar to what is found in other valleys. I feel no doubt as we now see it, so it was left by the gradually retiring sea; The dry valleys, mentioned by Travellers in Peru probably in the greater number of instances owe their present form to the same origin.

We rode till an hour after sunset till we reached a side ravine with a small well called "Agua-amarga". The water deserves its name, for besides being saline, it is most offensively putrid & bitter; I suppose the distance is about 25–30 (English) miles from the river of Copiapo; in this distance there is not a drop of water & the country almost deserves the name of an absolute desert. Yet it is about half where the Indian houses at Punta Gorda are situated. I also noticed in front of some of the small side valleys which enter into the main one, two piles of stones a little way apart & in a direction to point up the valley. My companions knew nothing about them & only answered my queries by their "Quien sabe".

Captain Fitzroy’s Journal:
Religion had so much influence over the minds of the earlier Spaniards, and was so warped and misinterpreted by the priests of their day, that actions, in themselves most unjustifiable, found defenders and active supporters among churchmen, and energetic performers among those who trusted their consciences to other men's keeping. An enthusiastically religious feeling, strengthened them to persevere under all trials and disappointments, and helps to account for the wonderful energy and constancy, shown in discovering, exploring and subduing the New World. This high sentiment of religion, urging them to conquer in order to convert to Christianity, and to honour God by serving their king, was an impelling motive in the minds of the early adventurers, at least as strong as the desire of riches. I here allude to those leaders who first opened the roads, which crowds of inferior men afterwards followed. One proof of this feeling is the fact, that the last of Valdivia's faithful companions who fell, was his chaplain, without whom, it appears, he did not even go to battle.

But I must return to the banks of the Leübu, which we were approaching as fast as our tired horses could drag their hoofs through deep, loose sand, when a solitary light moving on the dark side of the opposite high land, showed the place where our countrymen were anxiously waiting for assistance: we had heard that their encampment was under Tucapel Heights, and close to the river's mouth.

As soon as we arrived at the water side, I hailed as loudly as I could call, but no answer was returned. Again I hailed "Challenger's a-hoy," and a faint 'hallo' repaid us for every difficulty. "Send a boat!" I called. "Aye, aye!" echoed from the hills. Lights appeared directly coming down the hill: a little boat came across the river, and very soon we were embarked in the Challenger's dinghy, the only boat saved. The master and one man were in her, from whom we heard that all the party were well, and that they had not yet been molested by natives.

25th June 1835

Captain Fitzroy’s Journal:
His account and the chances of an attack being made by the Indians, increased our anxiety to proceed; it would, however, have been worse than useless to attempt finding our way in a dark night, while it was raining fast and blowing very hard; but at daybreak in the morning we saddled, and soon afterwards were splashing along the low flat tract of land extending from Arauco westward towards Tubul. Heavy rain during the night had almost inundated the low country, and to our discomfort appeared likely to continue during the day. In half an hour after starting we were soaked with mud and water; but being well warmed by galloping, we felt indifferent to the rain, and to a heavy gale of wind that was blowing.

Arauco, famous in Spanish song and history, is simply a small collection of huts, covering a space of about two acres, and scarcely defended from an enemy by a low wall or mound of earth. It stands upon a flat piece of ground, at the foot of the Colocolo Heights, a range of steep, though low hills, rising about six hundred feet above the sea.

In the sixteenth century, Arauco was surrounded by a fosse, a strong palisade, and a substantial wall, whose only opening was secured by a gate and drawbridge. Now the ditch, dug by the old Spaniards, is filled up, and the remains of their drawbridge have disappeared, having been used probably as fuel. This was the first place assaulted by the Indians, after their grand union against the Spaniards, at the end of the sixteenth century.

Leaving the low land near the sea, we ascended sloping hills, and found ourselves in a beautiful country. Though I did not see it distinctly until my return, I will endeavour to describe it in this place: — the outer range of hills, near the sea, is a succession of downs, free from wood, except here and there in the valleys, and every where covered with short sweet grass: — there is no sandy or barren rocky land. Numbers of fine cattle were seen grazing in the neighbourhood, but very few sheep. In-shore of the downs is a very luxuriant country: gradually rising hills, every where accessible; extensive valleys, woods of fine timber trees, very little encumbered with underwood; spaces of clear grass-land, like fields; beautiful lakes, and numerous streams of excellent water, together with a rich soil clothed with sweet grass, disposed me to think this the finest country I had ever seen.

Generally speaking, the soil is clayey; but there is every where a layer of vegetable mould upon the surface; which indicates that the country was covered with wood until the Indians partially cleared it by burning. While they were so numerous as they are said to have been in the sixteenth century, large tracts of ground must have been cultivated by them, or cleared for their sheep. In riding across this now unemployed land, regretting at every mile that it should be so neglected, fine bullocks often crossed our path; or wild-looking, but well-conditioned troops of horses. These animals must be very nearly wild: for restrained by no fences, looked after by nobody, they are free to roam and feed where they please. Once only in a year they are driven together, if they can be found, to be counted, marked, or killed. Here and there a stray cottage, or rather hut, was seen, with a high thatched roof, like those of Chilóe. But for these cottages, and a field or two near them, this excellent country would have appeared to be quite deserted by the human race, though possessing every desirable quality. We passed over no hills of any consequence as to height, though generally we were ascending or descending. An in-shore circuit was taken, to avoid crossing three rivers, which, near the sea, are difficult to pass; and having lost our way (notwithstanding the alleged excellence of our guide), a native, almost Indian, was easily prevailed upon to run by the side of our horses until he put us into the right track. Before running through the bushes, he carefully tucked up his loose trousers as high as possible; thinking, I suppose, that his skin was less likely to be torn than the trousers; and thus bare-footed and bare-legged he ran before us for several miles with the greatest ease. At the cottage from which he came, a very good horse, in excellent condition, and well cleaned, was standing in a yard. I asked the owner to let me hire or buy him, but he would consent to neither; alleging that, in the Indian country, his life depended upon having a good horse close at hand. Three thousand Indians had assembled, he told me, and were expected to make an attack upon the Chilian frontier; but on what particular part was quite uncertain. They had heard of the wreck, and were actually going to the place to plunder the crew, when accidentally met and driven back by Colipi, with his friendly tribe. Dogs seem to be kept at these cottages for the same purpose as those at the 'ranchos,' in the Pampas, namely, to give warning of the approach of enemies. Small parties of Indians seldom or ever attack a house without reconnoitring carefully; and this they cannot effect if there are many dogs about.

After our running guide had left us, though put into the right track, we were soon at a loss again; so numerous were the tracks of horses and cattle in this rich pasture land. The professed guide whom we had brought from Arauco, was more useful in recovering half-tired horses, than from knowing the way: no sooner did he get upon a horse, which one of my party could not persuade to go out of a walk, than he started off at full gallop, exulting in his skill. Perhaps his secret lay in a sharp pair of iron spurs: for the thick skin and coarse hair of horses, so roughly kept as these, is proof against ordinary spurs, used with humanity.

Going very much by chance, often losing our way, and often taking a cast round to look for the most frequented track, we at last arrived at Quiapo, a hamlet consisting of five huts only, just in sight of one another on neighbouring hills. To which of them the name belongs, I know not, as 'Todo es Quiapo,' was all the answer I could get from my guide.
Riding up to the nearest hut, we tempted a young man who occupied it, to sally forth in the rain in search of fresh horses. This exertion was caused by the sure stimulant — money. We might have talked of the wreck, and the Indians, until that day month, without exciting our acquaintance to move; but the touch of dollars at once overcame the apathy with which he listened to our first request for food and horses. His wife told us to kill a fowl, if we could, for there was nothing else to be had; so forth we sallied, and as each understood that the permission applied to himself, great was the confusion among the poultry. To the dismay of our hostess, we soon reappeared, each with a fowl; but a certain silver talisman quickly hushed her scolding, and set her cooking. Meanwhile the rancho was ornamented with our wet clothes hanging about it to be dried; but rain came through the roof in so many places that our trouble was useless. Dripping wet, having been soaked since the morning, and of course cold, we could not go near the fire, because of the smoke; so with a long pole we poked a hole through the thatch, which let the smoke out, and then closing round the fire, we surprised the good woman by our attack upon her half-roasted fowls.

All these huts are much alike. Under one thatched roof, there is a place where all the family (including the dogs, cats, and pigs) eat, while sitting or lying round the fire, which is on the ground in the middle; and there is a kind of 'dais,' where the same party afterwards seek that sound sleep from which none of the insect tribe appear to awake them, however much they may plague others. Sometimes there is a sort of bedstead, and a slight partition for the older people; but the others take their rest upon the raised part of the floor, wrapped in sheep-skins, or goat-skins, and rough woollen clothes. A large heap of potatoes occupies one corner of the hut, and another is filled by a granary, curiously contrived with stakes about six feet in length, driven into the ground in a circle of perhaps six feet diameter. Rough wicker-work unites the stakes, and forms a bottom about half a foot from the ground. Straw is then inserted into the wattled-work, until there is enough to prevent any corn from falling through. This large fixed basket is filled at harvest time, and supplies the family during the whole year: neither rat or mouse can get at it without making a rustling noise, which instantly alarms each cat and dog.

Before our host returned with horses it was evening. He would have detained us until the next morning, could his arguments have availed, but finding that with or without him, on we were resolved to go, he set out at a good pace towards Leübu. Less rain and wind encouraged hopes of a fine night, so we trotted or galloped along while day-light lasted, but as the night grew dark rain again poured down: and, obliged then to go slowly, we followed one another as close as possible, placing the guide in front with a white poncho. While in the open country we got on pretty well, but, after two hours easy work, we found that the track was taking us through thick woods. My first intimation of the change was being nearly knocked off my horse by the bough of a tree, so pitchy dark was the night; and after this I kept my head on the horse's neck, trusting to his eyes entirely, for I could see nothing. That our guide could find the way has been matter of astonishment to me ever since: he never failed once. Some of the defiles through which he led were knee-deep in clayey mud, so stiff that the horses could hardly move. Often we were set fast in such places, obliged to get off, and feel for the track,—knee-deep, and up to our elbows in mud,—for it was upon hands and knees that we went, oftener than upon our legs. Our guide knew we were in the right track, but each of us was obliged to seek safe footing for himself and his horse, in the defiles among steep ravines and streams, swelled by heavy rains. Passing these streams was dangerous, and there only did the guide hang back. At one brook which seemed by the noise, to be deep and large, he refused to cross, saying his horse would not go on, and that we could not get over in the dark. However, Vogelborg was not to be so stopped. Leaving his own horse stuck fast in a slough, he scrambled through, hauling my horse after him by the bridle. Holding by my horse's long tail, and driving him on, I scrambled after: Vogelborg then went back, and with the guide brought the others over. In several places, while in the ravines, I had recourse to the tail of the guide's horse for my support and dragged my own animal after me, for it was hopeless to remain on his back, so often was he stuck fast or down in the mud. The last man, Fuller, fared the worst, as he had no one behind him to drive his horse on; and frequently we were obliged to stop and holla to one another, to avoid parting company. At last we emerged from the wood and from those horrible ravines. Before us we could then see that there was space, nothing interfering between our eyes and the clouds; but while under the trees and in the water courses, utter blackness surrounded us to a degree I never witnessed in any other place. Our eyes were not of the least use, for I could not even see the white poncho of our guide, though close before me. Feeling and hearing alone availed. Heavy rain during the whole time prevented the mud from forming too thick a coat upon us. Another hour brought our small party to an Indian settlement, near the river Leübu; and as we rode by the huts, our guide talked to those within at the utmost pitch of his voice, as if determined no one should be ignorant of his adventure. Hearing their conversation carried on in the Indian language, was rather an impressive novelty. We continued our route, and at last reached the Leübu.

The north side of this river (on which we were), is low and sandy near the sea, but the south side rises to a high, remarkable headland, called the 'Heights of old Tucapel. The breadth of the river is about one hundred yards. Tucapel was the name of one of the more powerful caciques who united under Caupolican, to resist and expel the Spaniards. In his district and near his usual residence, which bore the same name, the daring but avaricious Valdivia was overwhelmed by numbers and taken prisoner, though not until every one of his small party had desperately fought and devotedly died for the cause which many among them considered that of God and their king.

24th June 1835

Captain Fitzroy’s Journal:
Perched on a height overlooking the sea, and directly above a very snug little anchorage, is the hamlet called Colcura; and thither we hastened, inattentive to the complaints of our guide (who was likewise guardian of the horses), and trusting to Vogelborg's recollection of the road. Riding into a sort of field entrenchment at the top of Colcura hill, we were accosted by a sly-looking, sharp-visaged character, whose party-coloured jacket appeared to show that its owner held some office of a military nature, but whether that of 'cabo,' or a higher, I could not determine until I heard him say he could give us a good meal, and that he had three fine horses near the house; when at once styling him 'gobernador' I rebuked myself for having thought ill of his physiognomy, and proceeded to unsaddle. Disappointed, however, by a scanty bad meal, we thought to regain our tempers upon the backs of our host's horses; but not an animal had he sent for; nor, to our further vexation, could any inducement tempt him to lend one of those fine horses, which, he still said, were close by. The Indians, he declared, were expected daily; he knew not the moment he might have to fly for his life; on no condition would he lend a horse: no, not if a fleet of ships were wrecked, and I were to offer him an ounce of gold for each mile that his horse should carry me.

Every Chilian residing on the frontier endeavours to keep by him a good horse, on which to escape, in case of a sudden attack of the Indians; for, as they never give quarter, and approach at a gallop, it is highly necessary to be always prepared. Those who can afford to do so, keep horses solely for the purpose of escape, which are the finest and the swiftest they can procure. I remember hearing, that when General Rosas was carrying on a war of extermination against the Pampa and Patagonian Indians, on the banks of the rivers Colorado and Negro, he had with him horses so superior, that it was said he could always ensure escape, if by chance he should be pursued: and one of them was invariably led about, saddled and bridled, near his tent.

Saddling our own steeds, and quitting the thin-faced dispenser of tough hens and sour apples, we set off at a gallop, leaving the lazy guide whom we brought from Talcahuano, to return there with the two worst animals (it was fortunate indeed we had brought with us a spare one), and in two hours we reached the foot of Villagran; that hill so famed in Araucanian story.

Being a natural barrier, it was a spot often chosen by the Araucanians, at which either to lie in ambush for the Spaniards, or openly oppose them. In one battle, the brave Villagran, after whom this ridge of hills is named, and a small Spanish force, opposed a multitude of Indians who had hemmed them in on every side. The only opening by which Villagran could escape, was stopped up with a barrier of branches and fallen trees, behind which the Indians stood discharging arrows and slinging stones.

We ascended the heights by winding narrow paths, up which our horses were led, in order to spare them as much as possible, and met a small party of Chilians, on their way from the wreck of the Challenger towards Concepcion, from whom we heard that the wreck had been abandoned, and that the officers and crew were entrenched in a secure position, on the height of 'Tucapel Viejo,' close to the mouth of the river Leübu. We were also told that the Indians increased in number daily, and that great fears of their hostility were entertained.

From the summit of Villagran we had an extensive view, reaching from Tumbes Heights, at the west side of the Bay of Concepcion, to Cape Rumena. The low island of Santa Maria, with its sandy spit, shaped like an arm, seemed to be within a few miles of us, though distant several leagues. I could trace the long, low, and almost straight beach of Laraquete till ended by the white cliffs of Tubul: I could distinguish the height immortalized by Colocolo's name, and under it smoke arising from the classical Arauco. Southward, a large extent of fertile, level, and rather woody plains reached to distant ranges of hills, which showed only a faint blue outline. Time allowed no delay, but with a hasty glance, as we mounted our horses and cantered along the summit, I saw a schooner* in the distance, off the Paps of Bio Bio, working her way to the southward.

Descending the hill, we reached 'Chivilingo,' a village near a small river which runs through a 'hacienda' belonging to the 'Santa Maria' family. We called at the door of their large, barn-like dwelling, to ask if horses could be spared. The mistress of the house happened to be at home, having lately arrived from Concepcion; and directly she heard my story she ordered every horse to be put in requisition; but, unfortunately, two only were within reach, one of which was lame. All the others had been sent to grass at a distance. After acknowledging her kindness, and paying her 'mayor domo' for the hire of the horse, we pushed on with that one and two of the least jaded of our own animals.

Between Chivilingo and the rivulet called Laraquete is a hill, unimportant at present, though it may hereafter become of consequence, as it contains coal. Some that I carried away with me was thought to be almost equal to cannel coal, which it very much resembled. The little river Laraquete, which will admit a large boat at high water, runs at the foot of the hill, and there is no surf where it enters the sea. Very glad I was then to see nothing like a hill between us and Arauco. We urged our horses along the dead level, and reached a pass of the Carampangue river as the sun was sinking below the horizon. From his sickly appearance and the black gathering clouds, I thought we should not be long without heavy rain, and that the sooner we could house ourselves the better. The Carampangue is shallow, except in the middle, but wide. Men and animals are carried over it on a 'balsa,' made of several logs of light wood fastened together, and pushed or poled across with their burdens by one man. These contrivances are very convenient where the water is shallow near the bank, and where the bank itself is low: for a horse can walk upon them from the shore without difficulty, or any scrambling; and as soon as they ground on the opposite side, it is equally easy to disembark. Where wood is not plentiful, balsas are made of rushes tied together in bundles; or of hides sewn up and inflated, or made into a rough kind of coracle.

The last few miles had been slowly accomplished by dint of whip and spur; but from the river to Arauco was a long league over unknown ground, in the dark, and while rain fell fast. Heavily we toiled along, uncertain of our way, and expecting each minute to be bogged; our horses, however, improved as we neared their anticipated resting place, and almost tried to canter as lights appeared twinkling within an open gateway in the low wall of Arauco. We asked for the house of the 'comandante,' and were directed to a rancho rather higher and larger than the rest. Without a question we were received, and told to make the house our own. That we were wet and tired, was a sufficient introduction to the hospitable Chilian.

Before thinking of present comfort, it was necessary to secure horses for the next day's journey, and dispose of our own tired animals; but money and the willing assistance of the comandante (Colonel Ger. J. Valenzuela), soon ensured us both horses and a guide. In the colonel's house, a barn-like building, entirely of wood, and divided into three parts by low partitions, I was surprised to see an arm-chair of European make, which in no way corresponded to the rest of the furniture. Some large shells, not found in these seas, also caught my eye, and tempted me to ask their history. They had been brought only the previous day from the wreck of the Challenger, and were given by Captain Seymour to Don Geronimo, who had himself but just returned from assisting the shipwrecked party.

23rd to 25th June 1835

It is however a miserable looking place; I never saw so few houses furnished with any comforts. Every soul appears to be endeavouring to make money & see how soon (& in this they are quite right) they can leave it. Every person is more or less directly concerned with mines — & mines & ores are the sole subjects of conversation. Necessaries of all sorts are very dear. The town being 18 leagues from the sea port & the land carriage so expensive alone would nearly cause this. — A Fowl costs from 5 to 6 shillings; the fire wood or rather sticks are brought on donkeys from two & three days journey in the Cordilleras. Meat is nearly as dear as in England & pasturage for Animals a shilling per day; this for South America is wonderfully exorbitant.

Captain Fitzroy’s Journal:
Yet this was the house of a man of large property; and not by any means a bad one, compared with others in that country. Many reasons might be adduced to explain why Chilian gentlemen are reluctant to expend either time, trouble, or money in building good houses. Earthquakes are very frequent; property is yet insecure; and the country has been occupied, but so lately that there has not been any leisure time in which to think of more than the first necessaries of life. Noble trees surround this 'casa de hacienda.' No underwood impedes your riding at a rapid pace in any direction: and beyond the woody spaces, extensive plains stretch towards the sea and to the bank of the river. These plains are intersected by numerous streams, and adorned with irregular clumps or thickets of trees: smaller indeed than those which shade the 'casa de hacienda,' but of a size sufficient to shelter cattle.

This estate, which is not considered a large one in that country, comprises, besides many square leagues of wild hilly country, more than one hundred square miles of excellent land, well watered, abundantly wooded, and most pleasantly as well as conveniently situated. The owner is said to be a most worthy man, and numerous instances of his active goodness as well as excellent disposition, have been related to me at different times; one of which I must stop to relate.

My attendant, Vogelborg, passed near the door of Don Juan de Dios Rivera, while executing a commission entrusted to his most speedy despatch. Stopping a moment to ask the way, Don Juan remarked that he looked ill, and had better rest. Vogelborg thanked him, but explained the necessity of hastening onwards: in truth he was ill and very tired, though anxious to proceed. Don Juan then suggested the quicker method of forwarding the letters, entrusted to Vogelborg, by his own confidential servant, and forthwith despatched him upon one of his own horses, desiring Vogelborg to take possestion of an excellent bed; where he remained two days under the kind care of Don Juan de Dios and his wife, who till that time, had never seen him.

Abreast of Negra Beach is an anchorage, sheltered from the north and north-west winds by Point Coronel, but exposed to the southerly and west winds. Here, as well as in coves further south, much smuggling was carried on in the time of the Spaniards.

Leaving the sea-shore, and some slippery rocky places over which we were obliged to lead our horses, we ascended the heights of Colcura. For our reward, after a muddy scramble up to the top of a steep hill, we looked down upon a fine though but partially wooded country, forming an agreeable succession of valleys and high grounds; while to seaward there was an extensive view of the coast, with the island of Santa Maria in the distance.

22nd June 1835

The lower part of the valley is broarder & near to the town it is a fine plain resembling that of Aconcagua or Quillota. — I staid three days here with Mr Bingley. — Copiapò covers a considerable space of ground, each house possessing more or less Garden.

Captain Fitzroy’s Journal:
Before the dawn of day we were looking for the watermen; and, as the sun rose, succeeded in getting their boat, or rather flat-bottomed barge, into motion. We rode into the river, about two hundred yards, until we reached the barge, then lying close to an overflowed bank. By some persuasion of voice, whip, and spur, the horses were made to leap out of the water, over the gunwale and into the boat. They certainly showed more sense than horses usually have, in understanding so readily how to behave; but whether their owners showed more than asses, in having so clumsy a ferry-boat, may be doubted. In leaping in the horses nearly knocked down, or trod upon, those who were dismounted; and when leaping out again, they made such a splashing of the water in the leaky ferry-barge as effectually washed our faces. The river is wide, deep, and rapid; and there are many sand-banks. The boatmen use oars as well as long poles; but are slow and awkward to a degree I could scarcely have believed, had I not witnessed their progress. The breadth at the ferry is about a quarter of a mile, when the river is low, but upwards of half a mile when flooded, as at this time. The south bank is steep; and from San Pedro, a little village at the ferry, the land rises in a southeast direction, towards a lofty range of hills; but towards the south-west, it is low, level, and firm. Across this excellent galloping ground we tried our horses, and made the miles seem short, till we reached a low range of hills over Point Coronel. There, dismounting, we used our own legs until the hills were passed, and before us lay two long sandy beaches, called 'Playa Negra,' and 'Playa Blanca.' In our gallop we passed the house of Don Juan de Dios Rivera, whose estate on the south side of the Bio Bio is mentioned by Captain Hall as an instance of the progressive tran-quillization of the Indians. Several large barn-like buildings spread over about two acres of ground, enclosed by a high fence of rough posts and rails, showed an eye accustomed to the country, that the proprietor held in his own hands a large estate: but that collection of thatched irregular roofs, and the utter absence of any thing like outward neatness or regularity, brought to my mind a very neglected rick-yard, near which not even a cottage appears.

[The next few entries in Fitzroy's Journal are not dated, but I will endeavour to post in some sort of logical order...]

21st June 1835

Returned to the Hacienda of Potrero Seco, & from there a long days ride to the town of Copiapò.

Captain Fitzroy’s Journal:
Anchored in the bay of Concepcion, off Talcahuano, at noon. As soon as I could get a boat I landed, and hastened to obtain information, horses, and a guide, as the commodore wished me to go to Captain Seymour, and concert measures for removing the crew and the remaining stores.

The captain of the port told Commodore Mason that the part of the coast on which the Challenger went shore, is quite inaccessible in any weather, but that boats had entered the mouth of the river Leübu, near Molguilla.

Lieutenant Collins (of the Challenger) had been at Talcahuano, trying to procure a vessel, in which the shipwrecked crew might embark by means of boats, at the Leübu, but not succeeding he had returned to his shipmates; whom he expected to find at the mouth of the river. It was said that a large body of Indians was in motion towards them, that the crew were short of provisions, and that they were becoming sickly. Assisted by the governor of Talcahuano, horses and a native guide were soon obtained; but I wanted a more energetic assistant, and engaged a Hanoverian who was used to the half Indian natives of the frontier, and well known among them. This man was Vogelberg, or Vergara, already mentioned. With orders and letters from Commodore Mason, accompanied by Vogelberg and H. Fuller, and provided with five horses, I left Talcahuano the same evening.

Being personally acquainted with the Yntendente, and his second in command, I hastened immediately to their houses at Concepcion, wishing to get an order to pass the Bio Bio River that night, and to procure a circular letter to the local authorities. Not a minute was lost by either of those zealous officers in attending to and complying with my requests. Alemparte left his dinner to write a circular letter, in his own hand; and neither he nor Colonel Boza would return to their respective parties, until they had ascertained that I was properly provided with horses and a guide, and that I required no further assistance.

Although orders were issued and the ferry-boat at her station, no crew were to be found, and only those men who belonged to the boat knew how to cross over safely. Vexatious as the delay seemed, I was afterwards glad of it; for judging by the work in day-light, I doubt our having ever reached the opposite bank with our horses, in a dark night.

While talking to Colonel Boza I remarked a watchful, wild-looking, young Indian, in a Chilian half-uniform, standing in the house. Something unusual in his manner attracted my notice though hurried, and I have since regretted losing that opportunity of acquainting myself with the son of Colipi, a famous cacique, who is the principal, and a very powerful leader of the northern Araucanians, though at present a friend to the Chilians. Colipi is a very tall and unusually strong man; his onset and his yell are talked of with a shudder, by those who have suffered from Indian hostility. Educating his son at Concepcion is one of the methods used to conciliate the 'Barbaro.'

20th June 1835

Staid there the following day. I found an abundance of petrified shells & wood. It is amusing to find the same subject discussed here as formerly amongst the learned of Europe concerning the origin of these shells, whether they really were shells or were thus "born by Nature". At night a stranger came in & asked permission to sleep there: it turned out he had been lost & wandering about for the last 17 days. he started from Guasco alto, with baggage mules & servants, expecting to find (without a guide) his way in two days to the valley of Copiapo. Missing his track he became involved in a labyrinth of mountains & could not escape. Some of his mules fell over the precipes & if it had not been for the good fortune of meeting a herd of cattle he would have been obliged to have killed his mules to eat. They could not fairly leave the mountains, on account of not knowing in the more level country the few spots where water is found. I mention this as a proof of the impracticable nature of the country; It is a constant subject of surprise to me, whenever I reflect about it, how the Spanish soldiers, who at the time of the Conquest marched, & many on foot, from Peru to Chili, did ever survive the dangers of these deserts. That many perished is well known, but enough escaped to continue a war with numerous tribes of the native Indians.

19th June 1835

Returned down the ravine to las Amolanas.

18th June 1835

Pursued our course, the valley becoming more fertile; we passed only one house. At midday seeing the valley ran in a very Northerly direction for a long distance, I did not think it worth while to proceed; so we turned back & again chose a snug spot to bivouac. This ravine is one of the passes of the Cordilleras. At night it appeared like an approaching rain storm. We experienced a trifling shock of an Earthquake. We were at a considerable elevation although the ascent from the sea is only just perceptible. With a clear sky it froze sharply every night.

Captain Fitzroy’s Journal:
Weighed at three in the morning and cleared the port before daybreak. A northerly, freshening wind favoured us much when in the offing.

17th June 1835

I hired mules & a guide to penetrate a little way in the Cordilleras. A few leagues beyond the Hacienda, the valley of Copiapò is divided into three branches; the Southern one, Mamflas, has a long course skirting the Cordilleras & is inhabited during much of its length; — the other two arms each only have one or two houses. — I entered the one called Jolquera, it was very barren & uninhabited, slept where there was a little pasture.

Captain Fitzroy’s Journal:
At the Post-office I obtained a large packet, directed to our vice-consul, the moment the post-master opened the mail bag; and hastening to the consul's office, I was surprised to find it shut, and to hear that no one would be there for an hour or two. Such apathy — upon such an occasion! Not choosing to break the seals, though I saw by the direction what were the contents (Despatches by Challenger), I went in search of the proper person to open the packet: took the Commodore's letters, and hastened with them to the Blonde. Every doubt was then ended. The Challenger was lost on the night of the 19th of May, at the spot described by the Swede: but all her crew were saved except two; and on the 26th of that month, Captain Seymour, the officers and men were encamped near the wreck, at a place called Molguilla. The Blonde prepared for sea: an offer of such assistance as I could render was accepted by the commodore; and, having arranged the Beagle's affairs, as far as then necessary, I went on board the Blonde, taking with me Mr. Usborne, J. Bennett, and a whaleboat. Lieut. Wickham was to forward the Beagle's duty during my absence, and take her to Copiapo, Iquique, and Callao, before I should rejoin her.

16th June 1835

I staid there the ensuing day & found him most hospitable & kind; indeed I defy a traveller to do justice to the goodnature with which strangers are received in this country.

Captain Fitzroy’s Journal:
By the post which arrived from Santiago this morning, an English merchant received a laconic account of the total loss of his Majesty's ship Challenger. This report spread as quickly as bad tidings are wont to do: but no official information arrived during that day, or the ensuing night. Recollecting that a Swedish ship had come lately into Valparaiso, whose officers had seen what they described as "an American brig" cast away near Mocha; I found out the ship and questioned the master and mates. They had arrived at Valparaiso on the 25th of May, and all agreed in stating that on the 20th of that month, they saw a large vessel ashore on the coast of the mainland, to the northward and eastward of Mocha. They saw her at daylight, but as they had light airs of wind and a very heavy swell until three in the afternoon, to save themselves from danger they were obliged to make all sail away from the land, and lost sight of the wreck.

The vessel looked large, with fore and main masts standing, and top-gallant masts an end until eight o'clock, when the fore-topmast went over the side, or was struck: her fore-topsail yard remained across; no main-top-gallant yard was seen; the main-top-gallant mast was standing all day, and there was a large ensign at the mast-head: white and red were seen, therefore it was thought to be American. Her bow was to seaward, as if she had anchored; her sails were loose all day; people were seen on the after part of what appeared to be a roundhouse painted green. Bulwarks very high — ports very large — no boats on deck or at the quarters — no guns on upper deck. Looking at her end on, with the masts nearly in a line — all her upper deck could be seen, though very indistinctly, owing to hazy weather, the additional haze caused by spray thrown up from a furious surf, and their own distance from the wreck; which was never less than four miles.

The log of the Swedish ship was produced, which exactly corroborated their statement. The master said he could not lower a boat, so great was the swell; and during five hours of almost calm, he was drifting helplessly towards the wreck, and expecting to share her fate. The two masts and red and white ensign, caused them to consider her an American brig, and as such she was reported to the consul for the United States.

A few of the preceding data convinced me they had seen the poor Challenger, but I was more strongly assured of the fact by pointing to the Conway, then at anchor near us, and asking whether she was like that ship — and near her size? Yes, sir, they replied. The green roundhouse abaft, seemed to have been a deception caused by looking at the curved green taffrail of the Challenger. I concluded that the mizen-mast had been cut or carried away; perhaps used as a raft: that the boats had been lowered, and that the ensign was St. George's, (Sir G. E. Hamond's flag being white at the mizen) but did not fly out, as there was no wind. The quarter-deck guns were close to the side, or perhaps below. Such were my thoughts, but other persons were of a totally different opinion. I was astonished that the Commodore did not hear officially from Santiago — particularly as the merchant's private notice was received through our Consul-general.

15th June 1835

Proceeded up the valley towards the Cordilleras; its course was however very oblique, running about SSE instead of East. I dined at a hospitable old Spaniard, Don Eugenio Matta, at whose house General Aldonati was staying. He was governor of Chiloe during the time of Capt. Kings Voyage & well known to the officers. I found him the pleasantest gentleman I have met in Chili. The valley continued much as I have described it; & always pleasant to behold. — At night fall we reached the Hacienda of las Amolanas to the owner of which Don Benito Cruz I had a letter of introduction.

13th & 14th June 1835

Staid here two days, employed in geologizing the huge surrounding mountains.

Captain Fitzroy’s Journal:
Arrived at Valparaiso on the 14th of June, and immediately began the arrangements necessary for our preparations to quit Chile. The liberal assistance rendered by Don Francisco Vascuñan, in lending me his own vessel, without any kind of agreement or remuneration whatever, had enabled me to look forward to adding much of the coast of Chile to our gleanings in hydrography; for I well knew that Lieutenant Sulivan would not only make despatch, but extremely correct work.

Here I may remark, that if little is said henceforth about places so well known as the coasts of Chile, Peru, and other countries often described, it is because I feel bound to avoid mere repetition as far as possible, and because the limits of my narrative are fixed. For the present, leaving the Beagle to get her stores and provisions on board, I must turn to another scene.

12th June 1835

By noon we arrived at the Hacienda of Potrero Seco in the Valley of Copiapò. I was heartily glad of it; it is most disagreeable to hear whilst you are eating a good supper, your horse gnawing the post to which he is tied & to know that you cannot relieve his hunger. — the whole journey is a source of anxiety to see how fast you can cross the Traversia. To all appearance however the horses were quite fresh & no one could have told they had not eaten for the last 55 hours.

This Hacienda belonged to one of the British associations; their affairs when bankrupt were purchased by some English merchants; one of these, Mr Bingley, came out as managing agent. — I had a letter of introduction to him & by good luck he came from the town this day to the Estate. — To his credit, there is no land in the whole valley which looks in such good order. — At one time the whole was rented at 500 dollars now one mere part is let 1,800, & another 400.— He reserving the best part for himself. This is a specimen of the management of those mad associations. — This estate is called 14 leagues (perhaps 25 English miles) long: it is of course very narrow, seldom a mile & often of no breadth, that is the valley in some parts cannot be irrigated. — Generally it has a width of two fields. The whole is cultivated with the Clover of the country for the Pasturage of Mules. Mr Bingleys business is the shipment of Copper ores, but everything depends on the carriage of the ores to the Port. — There is so little land in the whole valley, that mules sufficient for the mines cannot be pastured. It would sound odd in England, the whole value of a mining business depending on the quantity of pasturage to be obtained by any individual. — The scarcity of cultivated land does not depend so much on the inequality or unfitness for irrigation, as on the little water. The river this year is remarkably full; at this Hacienda it reaches up to a horses belly, is about 15 yards wide & rapid; of course it grows gradually decreasing till it reaches the sea. This however happens rarely; for a period of 30 years not a drop ever entered the Pacifick. The inhabitants watch a storm in the Cordilleras with great interest; one good fall of snow secures water for the ensuing year. — This is of infinitely more consequence than rain in the lower country. With the latter, which often does not fall for two & even three years together, they are enabled to pasture the mules & cattle for some time in the mountains; but without Snow in the Andes desolation extends over the whole valley. — It is on record that three times nearly all the inhabitants have been obliged to emigrate to the South. The valley is said to contain 12,000 souls, but its produce is sufficient only for three months in the year; the rest being drawn from Valparaiso & the South. — Before the discovery of the famous Silver Mineral of Chanuncillo, Copiapò was in a rapid state of decay; now it is in a very thriving condition. The town which was completely over-thrown by an Earthquake has been rebuilt.

The valley of Copiapò runs in a very Southerly direction, so that it is of considerable length to its source in the Cordillera; it forms a mere green ribbon in a desert. Both the valleys of Guasco & Copiapò may be considered as islands to the Northward of Chili, separated by deserts in the place of Salt water. Beyond these, there is one other very miserable valley called Paposo, which contains about 200 people. Then we come to the real desert of Atacama, a far worse barrier than the most turbulent sea. At the present time there is plenty of water & every man irrigates his land as much as he likes; when it is scarce guards are sent to the sluices of all the Azequis to see they do not take more than their allotted number of hours in the week. — In consequence of this abundance & the rich nature of soil, which is much less gravelly than in the other valleys, the stripe of Vegetation is very luxuriant. But when the latitude 27° is considered, & that it is nearly in the same parallel with St Catherines on the coast of Brazil, it is surprising that there is no trace of a Tropical character in the Vegetation.

11th June 1835

Rode for 12 hours without stopping, till we reached a spot where there was water & firewood. Formerly there had been a smelting furnace here. Our horses again had not anything to eat, being shut up in an old Corrall. The whole line of road was hilly; any view of the distant landscape was interesting from the various colors of the bare mountains & splendid weather. It is a pity to see the sun so constantly bright over so useless a country; such shining days ought only to brighten a prospect of fields, cottages & gardens.

10th June 1835

Instead of going from this place direct to the town of Copiapò, I determined to take a guide & fall into the valley higher up. We rode all day over an uninteresting country. I am tired of repeating the epithets barren & sterile. These words, however, as commonly used, are comparative. I have always applied them to the plains of Patagonia, yet the vegetation possesses spiny bushes & some dry prickly grasses, which is luxuriant to anything to be seen here. There are not many spots where in 200 yds square, some little bush, plant, Cactus or Lichen can not be discovered, & in the ground seeds lie buried ready to spring up during the first rainy winter. In Peru absolute deserts are to be met with over a large extent of country.

In the evening we came to a little valley in which the bed of a little streamlet was damp — following this up for a mile we came to water & that not very bad. During the night the stream flows a league lower down than in day, before it is evaporated & absorbed. There was plenty sticks for firewood, so that for us it was a good place of bivouac; but the poor animals had not a mouthful to eat. Even here there were two cottages of Indians with a troop of donkeys, employed in carrying firewood &c &c to the mines; these donkeys are without any inaccuracy supported on the stumps of the dry twigs of the Bushes. There is not a plant of any sort for them to eat. I believe every now & then they are taken to feed for a short time in the valleys of the Cordilleras, but generally, what I have stated is their sole support. The fact of the gnawed stumps proved the truth & quite astonished me.

9th June 1835

I staid the day here. Ballenar is a considerable town, nearly as large as Coquimbo & well built; it is only sprung up in late years & owes its prosperity entirely to the Silver mines. The produce of the valley is not sufficient to support the inhabitants. Ballenar takes its name from Ballenagh in Ireland, the birthplace of the family of O’Higgins, who were presidents & generals in Chili. Freyrina likewise takes its name from a General Freyre. — Ballenar is rather a nice & pretty town: the valley & indeed all the valleys in Chili are well worth visiting.

8th June 1835

Rode up to Ballenar; as the rocky mountains on each side were concealed by clouds, the terrace-like plains caused the valley to have a very similar appearance to that of S. Cruz in Patagonia. The quantity of cultivated ground is small.

6th & 7th June 1835

I staid here on account of my animals two days, & lived with Mr Hardy, an owner of Copper mines. — One of the days I rode down to the Port. — On a dear day the view up the valley is very fine; the opening being nearly straight is terminated at a great distance by the distinct outline of the snowy Cordillera; on each side an infinity of crossing lines blend together in a beautiful haze. The foreground is singular from the number of parallel & extensive terraces; & the included strip of green valley abounding with its willow bushes is contrasted on each hand by the naked hills. — From Capt. B. Halls description I had expected a valley luxuriant as those at C. de Verde, but it appears to me that all Capt. Halls beautiful descriptions require a little washing with a Neutral tint — it may partly destroy their charm but I am afraid will add to their reality. — But it may be well imagined how bare the hills must have been, since a shower had not fallen for 13 months. The inhabitants heard with the greatest envy of the rain in Coquimbo: From the looks of the weather they had strong expectations of equally good fortune and a fortnight afterwards this was verified. I was at Copiapo at the time, & there the people with equal envy talked of the abundant rain at Guasco. After two or three very dry years, that is perhaps with not more than one shower during the whole time, a rainy year generally follows, & this does more harm than even the drought. — The river swells & covers with gravel & sand the narrow strip of ground which alone is fit for cultivation; the flood also injures the irrigating ditches: great devastation had thus been caused three years ago. I called in the evening at the house of the "Governador"; the Signora was a Limerian & affected blue-stockingism & superiority over her neighbours. Yet this learned lady never could have seen a Map. Mr Hardy told me that one day a coloured Atlas was lying on a Pianoforte & this lady seeing it exclaimed, "Esta es contradanca". This is a country dance! "que bonita" how pretty! — On the other hand, the good people at Valdivia hearing so much about our making Charts thought everything a map. As they mistook a Sextant & artificial horizon, doubtless a piece of Music would have gone under the same name.

Captain Fitzroy’s Journal:
The Beagle left Herradura, and sailed towards Valparaiso. Anxious, however, to communicate with Don Diego Portales, who was staying at his country-house, near Papudo, I touched there in my way.

5th June 1835

This Sauce is a little way out of the direct road — from it to Freyrina we had to cross some mountains, — every days march to the Northward the vegetation becomes more scanty; here a few tiny bushes were coated by a filamentous green Lichen & the large Candlestick-like Cactus was succeeded by a much smaller species. During the winter months both in Chili & Peru a thin but uniform stratum of clouds hangs at no great height over the Pacifick. — From the above hill we had a striking view of this great white & brilliant field; from it arms entered all the valleys, leaving Islands & promontories precisely in the same manner as the sea intersects the land in the Chonos Archipelago. — We reached Freyrina early in the day to the great joy of ourselves & poor horses. — In the valley of Guasco, beginning at the mouth we have the little village at the port — a spot entirely desert & without water immediately at hand. — 5 leagues up is the village of Freyrina, consisting of one long straggling street; the houses white washed & generally decent. — 10 leagues further up is the principal town — Ballenar. — And again near the Cordilleras there is Guasco alto, an agricultural or rather Horticultural village, famous for its dried fruit. — Ballenar & Freyrina depend chiefly on the mines. —

4th June 1835

Carizal to Sauce
Continued to ride over a desert plain tenanted by some large herds of Guanaco. — This plain is crossed by the valley of Chañeral, the most fertile one between Guasco & Coquimbo. — it is however very narrow & although green produces very little. — Pasture for animals at this time of year could not be procured. — At Sauce we found a civil old gentleman superintending a Copper-smelting furnace. — as an especial favor he allowed me to purchase ata high price an armfull of dirty straw, which was all the poor horses had for supper after their long days work. — There are very few smelting furnaces still employed in Chili; it is found more profitable to ship the ore to England, owing to the extreme scarcity of fire-wood & the loss of metal from the clumsy Chilian method of reduction.— The poor Chilenos think that England is quite dependant for her Copper to Chili; they will scarcely believe that all the quantity which is imported there must again be exported to other countries.

Captain Fitzroy’s Journal:
On the 4th, having hastily reconnoitred the coast nearly as far as Coquimbo, we ran into Herradura Cove, and moored ship securely. It was my intention to refit there thoroughly, and prepare the Beagle for receiving a large supply of stores and provisions at Valparaiso, which would enable her to run down the coast to the Galapagos, and thence cross the Pacific to Sydney in Australia. In Herradura she lay quietly close to the land until the 6th of June: and all her crew were encamped on shore near the ship, while she was thoroughly cleared out, re-stowed, and painted.

At Coquimbo (or Serena) we always met with a hearty welcome whenever duty required that we should go there, or when we went for our own amusement. The Yntendente, Yrrisarte, the kind-hearted Mr. Edwards and his family, and others, will not easily be forgotten by the Beagle's officers.

As another real benefactor to the public service, I may be allowed to mention Don Francisco Vascuñan, who lent me a vessel of thirty-five tons, called the Constitucion, to be employed in forwarding the survey. This craft was built in the River Maule, and bore a very high character as a sea boat. Lieutenant Sulivan, Mr. King, Mr. Stewart, and Mr. Forsyth volunteered to go in her; so giving them a boat's crew, a small boat, a native pilot with his balsa, and as good an outfit as my means would allow, I despatched this new tender to examine a portion of coast near Coquimbo, which the Beagle had not seen sufficiently, and directed Lieut. Sulivan, if he found the vessel efficient, to continue afterwards surveying along the coast of Chile, as far as Paposo, whence he was to repair to Callao.

3rd June 1835

Yerba-buena to Carizal
During first part of day crossed a mountainous rocky desert, like near Conchalee, then a long deep sandy plain covered with broken marine shells. — There is very little water & that little saline; the few streamlets are bordered on each side by white encrustations, amongst which the succulent, salt-loving plants grow. The whole country from the coast to the Cordillera is a desert & uninhabited. — I saw only traces of one living animal in abundance; this was a Bulimus, the shells of which were collected together in extraordinary numbers in the driest parts. In the Spring, & at the dawn of day when the ground is damp with the dew these animals are crawling about in all parts. As they are never seen excepting in the early morning, the Guassos think they are born from the dew. — I have noticed in other places that the driest & very sterile districts are most favourable to an extraordinary increase of land-shells. — At Carizal there are a few cottages, some brackish water & a trace of cultivation; with difficulty we purchased a little corn & straw for the Horses.

2nd June 1835

Set out for the valley of Guasco, taking with me a guide for the road. — The Beagle was to sail for Valparaiso a few days afterwards, from thence to Copiapò to pick me up & then to Peru. Capt FitzRoy hired a small vessel & left a party under the command of Mr Sulivan to survey the Northern coast of Chili & to rendezvous at Lima. — We rode this day to a solitary house, called Yerba-buena, where pasture for the animals can be bought. — On the whole road we passed only one other house or inhabited spot. — There are two roads from Coquimbo to Guasco, one near the sea coast, the other in the interior; in this latter there is nothing for the animals to eat during the whole time. I therefore followed the former line. — The shower alluded to a fortnight ago had reached about half way to Guasco, we had therefore in this first part a slight tinge of green, just sufficient to remind me of the freshness of the turf & budding flowers in the Spring of England. — Travelling in these countries, like to a prisoner shut up in gloomy courts, produces a constant longing for such scenes.