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drew to the southward of west, though it did not blow very hard from that quarter. This leads me to suppose, that if a heavy north-west gale is not to be followed by a south-west one, it will not be indicated by the barometer, and that if there is a slight south-west gale following the north-west, the barometer will only fall in proportion to the strength of the south-west wind; but of course these two instances are not sufficient to give this opinion any importance.
During the month of February it blew a gale on fifteen days out of the twenty-eight, the remainder thirteen being generally very fine, with north-west winds occasionally drawing round the compass, or dying away for a few hours. The thermometer generally ranged from 45° to 55°, and on two or three occasions rose to 60° and 64°. During the south-west gales, at the beginning of the month, it was from 40s to 50°. Rain fell on nine days, principally in showers during the south-west winds, but there was not one rainy day for the month.
During the first twelve days in March it blew a gale on eight days, two or three of these days being very severe; the first gale commenced at north-east and blew hard, though the barometer only fell from 29-70 to 39-54, it continued to blow for three days after, drawing round to the south-west, but died away for a few hours during each night. On the 6th the weather was fine, but the barometer again fell from 29-80 to 29-21, and the next day a gale commenced at southwest, and blew very hard for three days, moderating at nights; the barometer which rose rapidly as the gale increased, fluctuated between 29-55 and 29-80 as the gale veered a point or two to the southward or westward of south-west, falling as it veered to the westward, and rising as it veered to the southward:—rain fell on only three days of the twelve, and then only in showers.
I have entered into these particulars, to show the ground-work on which I have formed the following opinion of the climate of the Falklands. But at the same lime I must remark, that by those who have visited several seasons at the islands, I am informed that this season has been a very severe one; and that the previous summer was very much finer, so much so, that they were in the habit of wearing white trousers frequently, whereas this summer it was not required ; and that the gales this summer were more frequent than usual. This agrees with Capt. Filz Roy's remark, "that the only opinion that can be formed is, that if a season is fine one year it will be bad the next." Those who know the islands best, consider that the only exception to this rule is, that October is generally the finest, and March the worst month in the year.
There is much less variation in temperature than is usual in climates situated in the same latitude. At all seasons a southerly wind brings heavy showers of hail and sleet with a south-west wind ; the hail showers are less numerous in the summer, but heavy rain showers are frequent. The south-east winds bring snow and sleet, and are, I think, the coldest winds that blow. The only fog there during the five months was with a light south-east wind. Easterly and north-east winds bring thick rain which ceases as the wind draws to the westward of north: it is astonishing how very soon a north-east wind, however light, alters the appearance of the weather; when the day is perfectly fine, and the sky cloudless; if the breeze draws round to the eastward, and north-east, in the afternoon (which it generally does for a short time in fine weather) the clouds begin to gather round the hills and rain falls within half an hour; but if the breeze draws to the westward of north it is instantly fine.
Northerly winds occasionally bring a slight rain, but it is seldom sufficient to pass the hills; this appears to be the reason that less rain falls to the southward than at Berkley Sound, which being between the ranges of hills it is generally cloudy there when the hills are covered by elouds, while the low land to the southward of the hills has the sun shining on it; the same reason makes it colder also, as the southerly winds blow directly over the highest range of hills, which in cold weather are generally white with snow or sleet.
On several occasions, to the southward of the hills we found the northerly winds cause the thermometer to fall, and make us feel the cold more than we did with the southerly winds. I have no doubt myself that more snow falls, and that the mean temperature is less at Berkley Sound than to the southward of the high range, and also that there is less sunshine. With the wind from the N.N.W. to west the sky is generally cloudless, and the weather beautifully fine, exactly resembling that of the plains of Patagonia, over which these winds blow, but directly the wind gets to the westward, and blows from Tierra del Fuego, showers become frequent, and sometimes drizzling rain for a short lime, but between the showers the weather is nearly as clear and fine as with the north-west winds. The situation of these islands with respect to Patagonia, must be the cause of the dryness of the climate. Being situated to the south-east, the north-west winds (which prevail so much, and which answer to the south-west winds in the northern hemisphere, and are therefore generally those which bring most rain in latitude of these islands,) blowing from such a dry climate, have not space of water sufficient to collect much moisture, but the more northerly the wind blows and consequently the longer the space of water for it to blow over, the more damp the air becomes. The scarcity of easterly winds, (which are the only winds that bring continued rain,) is another cause, and as I was assured by a person who had been many years on the island, that he never knew north-east winds so prevalent as they were this summer; it is likely that we did not experience drier weather than is usual, but most probably the contrary.
One of the most remarkable things at these islands is the scarcity of lightning. Except a few very distant flashes, we only once experienced any, and that nothing more than a few flashes which accompanied a heavy squall of rain and hail during a south-west gale, and which passed close over Port Louis. The most singular thing is, that a vessel should have been struck. This happened to a small schooner laying off Port Louis,—her mainmast was damaged by it, and one of her pumps split in pieces.
Another remarkable thing is the fineness of the nights. I seldom went on deck in the middle of the night without finding the sky cloudless, and the stars as bright as in a tropical climate. About daylight a low mist often bung over the land, accompanied by drizzling rain, but this generally disappeared shortly after sunrise.
Soil—The northern part of East Falkland is occupied by two parallel ranges of hills, entirely composed of a compact Quartz Rock. Between the east ends of these ranges lies Berkley Sound, which mm about sixteen miles to the westward, where a narrow neck of low lani separates it from Port Salvador, which is a deep inlet that has forctd a passage through the northern range of hills, and then runs east and west between the two ranges. This neck of land is composed of ridgts of sand-stone and clay slate, principally the former. The breadth of this low land to the junction of the Quartz Rock on each side is ateut three miles, its extent the other way is from one to three miles. On the eastern part of this land stands the settlement of Port Louis; the greater part of this tract of land is free from swampy ground, except in the hollows between the ridges, in nearly all of which a small stream runs, and the ground on each side for a few yards is swampy. The surface of this land appears to be generally a dark vegetable soil, from six inches to two feet thick, resting on a yellow earth which is in some places gravelly, and in others resembles clay; it is the surface of the yellow sand-stone decomposed. The ground is covered by a long grass mixed with numerous small shrubs, the roots of which are thickly malted together for a few inches under the surface. Directly you approach the rise of the Quartz Hills, on each side the ground becomes spongy and swampy, and the whole of the sides of the hills, and even the very summits, are one continued swamp, which is only passable in a few places even in summer for a man on horseback; for if there has been sun enough to dry the ground it remains a loose spongy mass, into which the horses sink to their knees; this extends entirely over the space between the north side of Berkley Sound and the north coast of the island, and I think it will be utterly useless to attempt to improve it, draining is out of the question, as it retains the water like a sponge. As this tract of land is very extensive, it makes it a very difficult thing to recover cattle that have once strayed on it, and catching them there is almost impossible, even in summer, for the horse cannot follow them with a man on his back;—the Gauchos who accompanied me oveT the ground, assured me that it is enough to kill any horse, and thai it would require five men to take care of the same number of cattle at the settlement, in consequence of their having this land to run to, that one man could manage on the dry land to the southward of the hills. This will, I think, entirely prevent Port Louis being ever made the head quarters of any agricultural or grazing establishment, beyond what is necessary for supplying ships that may touch for refreshments; for which purpose, it will always from its situation, be far superior to any other part on the islands, the piece of good land on which it stands will always be sufficient for this purpose, and from the appearance of the garden this season I have no doubt that every kind of vegetable may be raised there that grows in England.
In consequence of the fall of snow in the beginning of December, the young crops of radishes, &c. were destroyed, but cabbages, potatoes, turnips, beans, peas, &c, were as fine as 1 ever saw them, and the previous summer they did riot lose the smallest plant. Every thing requires great protection from the strong winds, which until trees can be raised may be done by high walls of turf.
I have heard it doubted if corn could ever ripen; not knowing the requisite degree of heat necessary, I cannot give an opinion on this subject, but I can safely say that, it would have as much, if not more hours sun on it than ever occurs in England, and in the hollows sheltered from the strong winds it feels very powerful. The greatest drawback to its ever proving a corn country, would be that the whole extent of land to the southward of the hills is so nearly level that there is no shelter from the numerous gales which no corn could withstand; but the sides of the ravines are sheltered from the winds, and would have the full force of the sun. The greater part of this extent of land is composed of sandstone; the soil is black, and generally from one to two feet thick. For a few miles from the high range of hills, the soil in some places, rests on a bed of clay, and where it does so it is very boggy after rain, the clay preventing the water soaking in, and forming pools on the surface: this is the case in the neighbourhood of Port Pleasant, but more to the south-west round the shores of Choiseul Sound it is much drier, and the bottoms of the ravines are the only places where any swampy land is to be found. The whole country is thickly strewed with fresh water lakes, the shores of which are the favorite resort of the cattle. In some valleys between Choiseul Sound and the hills there are chains of these lakes joined by rivulets, and this part seems more thickly covered with cattle than the south side of Choiseul Sound, where the lakes are less numerous. It is also so intersected by creeks which run inland from Mare harbour and Port Pleasant that large tracts may be found nearly surrounded by water, and therefore affording very desirable places for forming cattle farms.
The land on the south side of Choiseul Sound is not so well supplied with water as the other parts; in the summer many of the rivulets and ponds are dried up, and very few cattle are to be seen, though their foot marks show that in other seasons they are numerous. The low land at the head of Choiseul Sound, and on the south side of Grantham Sound, is thickly covered with cattle, and I was informed that to the northward of Grantham Sound, particularly on the shores of Port St. Carlos they are numerous. All those people on the island, who know Port St. Carlos, consider it superior to any other part for either a grazing or agricultural establishment as the soil is very rich, particularly in the valley at the head of the port, through which a river runs navigable for several miles in boats. Not having been there myself I cannot give an opinion on it.
Of all the places I visited, I think Port Pleasant and Mare Harbour, are the best adapted for forming establishments of that kind.
A Voyage From The Havana To Vera Cruz, Tampico, And Savana. By Mr. W. Mooneij, male of II.MS. Thunder.
(Concluded from p. 583.)
On the 11th January we left the river, and without accident, arrived in the middle of a heavy norther at Vera Cruz. Not having room to lay-to we were obliged to run before it, at the risk of being swallowed up every moment, so high is the sea even on soundings. Having remained the required time and received the despatches, mails, &c, we joyfully turned our head homewards, " sed Deus aliter visum " as the sequel will show. In fine weather, the approach of a norther can be always ascertained, by the manner in which the land wind veers; if from west towards south, fair weather continues, but if it once gets to the northward of west, it invariably freshens up to a gale in the season of the norther, and just before it commences the scud can be perceived progressing at no small pace from south-east to north-west. Although it may appear a risk, I think it better for a vessel to keep as near the land as possible on these occasions. The wind blows more along shore, if weather and sky is clear, observations can be obtained; and if the land is known, bearings can be taken. It is a comfort to know where you are, although you cannot make use of the wind. The longitude can be guessed roughly by the soundings, and there are no dangers within three miles of the shore, till you pass to the northward of Tuopau. The gale first lulls inshore, and the heavy dense bank can be seen, about twenty or twenty-five miles out, and there it hangs until the gale breaks altogether, enveloping many a hapless helpless vessel in utter darkness, whilst their more inshore neighbours enjoy comparatively fine weather.
On the 15th of January we took our departure from Vera Cruz, at the same moment in which the "Sheldrake" packet arrived from England, without communication however. We were set to the southeast by light north-east winds, and thereby escaped a gale which blew to the northward of us. We had the concomitant swell as long and as heavy as usual, but as we had only light winds, odd puffs, and dark lowering weather, we made up at the expense of our bones and want of rest, the quantum of annoyance, which a heavy gale would have given. The current setting to the north-eastward about one mile per hour, we were occasionally favoured with a cross sea, which effectually saved us the trouble of either washing ourselves or the deck. We again struck on the Campeche bank, about forty miles to the northward of our departure from it, and found the current as before, setting in very nearly three miles per hour. Sounding as we proceeded, we passed to the southward of Arenas Cay, about one mile distant, to the westward of which island, at three miles distance, we discovered a shoal having seven and eight fathoms on it; there might be less, but we could not spare time to examine, but rated the chronometers as we passed. Taking the line of 100 fathoms as the boundary of the bank, it does not extend so far to the northward as laid down in the charts now in use, 22° 56' 30" north, and 89° 49' west, being its boundary in one particular spot, then by curtailing its extent to the northward about twenty-five miles, from thence it trends to the north-eastward. We had a very tedious passage of sixteen days to Havana. Here we arrived on the evening of the 31st, in want of everything, having been supplied on the previous day with a little biscuit and water by a Spanish brig, whose captain was so kind as to send a present of cigars, and about three gallons of excellent Catalonia wine, not at all out of season. The next morning we had the satisfaction of being put in quarantine, lest that cleanest, most wholesome, and sweet scented city,