Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 46.djvu/94

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ings, the pier, and woodpile. The wood was all brought from Montserrat aboard the sloop. An engine and pump raised water from the sea to the cliffs above, to serve as ballast for the buckets of the tramway whenever passengers or goods were to be taken up.

Entering a boat manned by two negroes, we were rowed along the western side of the island from one end to the other. The cliffs on this side showed a beautiful system of stratification, consisting of alternate layers of solid trap rock and coarse volcanic sand extending from the sea up the whole face. These strata were not horizontal, but in the form of broad arches, the largest of which could only be compared to the rainbow for magnificence of extent. In one place was to be seen a fault, where the upward pressure which formed the arches had caused one to break and the trap rock had been forced upward through three other strata. At the southwest side of the island the sea was gradually washing out the lowest stratum of sand, leaving low arched caverns like the entrances to vaults.

At several points about the island masses of rock resembling the pinnacles and buttresses of a Gothic cathedral appeared to have been thrust up by the upheaval which had caused the bending of the strata. Rude, arched openings extended into them or through them, and one cavern at the north end, nearly forty feet in height, seemed the portal to the very center of the rock. The sea dashed into this opening with a loud noise, and, as an unusually large wave thundered against the innermost walls, a jet of water gushed outward from a small blow-hole in the western cliff, about forty yards from the mouth of the cavern and at a man's height above the sea.

The colors of the cliffs were various shades of gray and ferruginous. The smaller of the two peaks was of a light ferruginous, while the main peak was grayish white.

Perched upon the rocks, and sitting in rows along the gunwales of the lighters, were hundreds of birds. Terns were the most numerous, and were apparently limited to two species which congregated in different parts of the cliff. A black and white species chose the western side, while a blue species, resembling in color a blue pigeon, built its nests on the southern. The nests were mere bunches of grass and feathers, and were so carelessly placed on the shelves of rock that both eggs and young were often found on the beach. Ducks with black bodies and white heads were plentiful, and frigate birds with wide-spreading wings sailed overhead, reminding me of our osprey or fishhawk.

The sea around Redonda was very clear, and Captain H—— gave us an opportunity to look through a water glass. The instrument consisted of a long, narrow box, open at one end, and