25th January 1769

Tierra del Fuego
Off Cape Horn
Winds from the South to the West-North-West, the first part fresh Gales and Squally with some Rain; Middle, little wind with Hail and Rain; latter, fresh Gales and Hazey, with Showers of Rain. At 8 p.m. the Island of Evouts North-West, distant 3 or 4 miles. Variation, per morning Amplitude 21 degrees 16 minutes East. At 8 a.m. the Southermost low point of land seen Yesterday Bore South 74 degrees West, and a remarkable Peaked Hill to the Southward of it South-West; and soon after we discovered that the land which we took Yesterday to be a part of the Main or an Island, was three Islands, which I take to be Hermites. At Noon the South Point of the Southermost Island bore North-West by West distant 3 leagues, having then 58 fathoms Peble Stones. This Point is pretty high and consists of Peaked Craggy rocks, and not far from it lay several others high above Water. It lies in the Latitude of 55 degrees 53 minutes South and South-West 26 Leagues from Straits La Mair, and by some on board thought to be Cape Horn; but I was of another Opinion, and with good reason, because we saw land to the Southward of it about 3 or 4 leagues. It appeared not unlike an Island with a very high round Hummock upon it; this I believe to be Cape Horn, for after we had stood about 3 Leagues the weather cleared up for about a quarter of an hour, which gave us a sight of the land bearing West-South-West, but we could see no land to the southward or Westward of it, and therefore conclude that it must be the Cape, but whether it be an Island of itself, a part of the Southermost of Hermits Islands, or a part of Terra del Fuego, I am not able to determine. However, this is of very little Consequence to Navigation: I only wished to be Certain whether or no it was the Southermost Land on or near to Terra del Fuego; but the thick foggy weather and the westerly winds which Carried us from the land prevented me from satisfying my Curiosity in this point, but from its Latitude and the reasons before given I think it must, and if so it must be Cape Horn, and lies in the latitude of 55 degrees 53 minutes South and Longitude 68 degrees 13 minutes West from the Meridian of Greenwich, being the Mean result of Several Observations of the sun and moon made the day after we left the land, and which agreed with those made at Straits Le Mair, allowing for the distance between one place and the other, which I found means very accurately to determine.

Joseph Banks Journal
Wind today Northwest: stood in with some Islands which were large, we could not tell for certain whether we saw any part of the main. The little Island mentiond yesterday was in view, and beyond that the land made in a bluf head, within which another appeard tho but faintly which was farther to the Southward; possibly that might be Cape Horn, but a fog which overcast it almost immediately after we saw it hinderd our making any material observations upon it, so all we can say is that it was the Southermost land that we saw and does not ill answer to the description [of] Cape Horn given by the French, who place it upon an Island and say that it is composd of two bluff headlands.

Sydney Parkinson’s Journal
We saw Cape Horn, at about five leagues distance, which, contrary to our expectations, we doubled with as little danger as the North Foreland on the Kentish coast; the heavens were fair, the wind temperate, the weather pleasant, and being within one mile of the shore, we had a more distinct view of this coast, than perhaps any former voyagers have had on this ocean.

The point of the Cape is very low; and at the S. E. extremity there are several islands, called, by the French, Isles d'Hermitage; and near it are several ragged rocks. The Cape is in latitude 55° 48' S. and longitude 67° 40'` W. We sounded in fifty-five fathom, and sound round stones, and broken shells.

1 comment:

  1. It is so interesting to read a first hand account of a Cape Horn voyage from 1769. It is unbelievable that almost 250 years later I am planning a trip there myself. I have always been interested in doing a cape horn cruise and my dream is finally coming true. Hopefully I can write something just as interesting after my adventure to Cape Horn!