27th July 1835

Captain Fitzroy’s Journal
The Blonde touched at Cobija, Arica, and Islay — hapless arid dwelling-places for either man or beast, as I have ever seen. From near Iquique to Arica the precipitous coast is so lofty, and approaches so much to the character of enormous cliffs, about a thousand feet high, that it is really sublime. Near Islay, the land is in several places covered with a whitish powder, or dust, which lies many inches thick in hollows or sheltered places, but is not found abundantly in localities exposed to wind. Much difference of opinion has arisen about this powder. People who live there say it was thrown out of a volcano near Arequipa a great many years ago: other persons assert that it is not a volcanic production, and appertains to, or had its origin, where it is found. My own idea was, before I heard any thing of the controversy, that there could be no doubt of its having fallen upon the ground within some hundred years, for it was drifted like snow, and where any quantity lay together, had become consolidated about as much as flour which has got damp in a damaged barrel.

No comments: