29th October 1768

Cape de Verde Islands to Brazil
Fresh Breezes and pleasant weather. Variation of the Compass 2 degrees 25 minutes West. Wind East-South-East; course South by West; distance 101 miles; latitude 5 degrees 25 minutes South, longitude 32 degrees 48" West.

Joseph Banks Journal
Wind East very pleasant, we now gave up all thoughts of the Island. This Evening the sea appeard uncommonly bea[u]tifull, flashes of light coming from it perfectly resembling small flashes of lightning, and these so frequent that sometimes 8 or ten were visible at the same moment; the seamen were divided in their acco[u]nts some assuring us that it proceeded from fish who made the light by agitating the salt water, as they calld it, in their darting at their prey, while others said that they had often seen them and knew them to be nothing but blubbers (Medusas). This made us very Eager to procure some of them, which at last we did one by the help of the landing net. They prov'd to be a species of Medusa which when brought on board appeard like metal violently heated, emitting a white light; on the surface of this animal a small Lepas was fixd exactly the colour of it, which was almost transparent not unlike thin starch in which a small quantity of blue is disolv'd. In taking these animals three or 4 species of Crabbs were taken also but very small, one of which gave light full as much as a glow-worm in England tho the Creature was not so large by 10/9ths; indeed the sea this night seemd to abound with light in an uncommon manner, as if every inhabitant of it furnishd its share, which might have been the case tho none kept that property after being brought out of the water except these two.

No comments:

Post a Comment