Page:Darwin Journal of Researches.djvu/226

This page has been validated.
204
[CHAP. X.
TIERRA DEL FUEGO.

 

CHAPTER X.

Tierra del Fuego, first arrival—Good Success Bay—An account of the Fuegians on board—Interview with the savages—Scenery of the forests—Cape Horn—Wigwam Cove—Miserable condition of the savages—Famines—Cannibals—Matricide—Religious feelings—Great gale—Beagle Channel—Pousonby Sound—Build wigwams and settle the Fuegians—Bifurcation of the Beagle Channel—Glaciers—Return to the ship—Second visit in the Ship to the Settlement—Equality of condition amongst the natives.

TIERRA DEL FUEGO.

December 17th, 1832.—Having now finished with Patagonia and the Falkland Islands, I will describe our first arrival in Tierra del Fuego. A little after noon we doubled Cape St. Diego, and entered the famous strait of Le Maire. We kept close to the Fuegian shore, but the outline of the rugged, inhospitable Staten-land was visible amidst the clouds. In the afternoon we anchored in the Bay of Good Success. While entering we were saluted in a manner becoming the inhabitants of this savage land. A group of Fuegians partly concealed by the entangled forest, were perched on a wild point overhanging the sea; and as we passed by, they sprang up and waving their tattered cloaks sent forth a loud and sonorous shout. The savages followed the ship, and just before dark we saw their fire, and again heard their wild cry. The harbour consists of a fine piece of water half surrounded by low rounded mountains of clay-slate, which are covered to the water's edge by one dense gloomy forest. A single glance at the landscape was sufficient to show me how widely different it was from any thing I had ever beheld. At night it blew a gale of wind, and heavy squalls from the mountains swept past us. It would have been a bad time out at sea, and we, as well as others, may call this Good Success Bay.

In the morning the Captain sent a party to communicate with the Fuegians. When we came within hail, one of the four natives who were present advanced to receive us, and began to