12th December 1832

Bay of San Blas to Tierra del Fuego
It continued to blow fresh & in the middle of the day suddenly freshened into the heaviest squall I have ever seen. Luckily it gave us good notice, so that every thing was furled & the ship put before the wind; it is always interesting to watch the progress of a squall; the black cloud with its rising arch which gives passage to the wind; then the line of white breakers, which steadily approaches till the ship heels over & the squall is heard whistling through the rigging. The climate during the few last days has undergone a complete change. The Temp. varies from 45° to 50°, & the air has the bracing feel of an English winter day: But the most curious thing is to see the hammocks piped down at 1/2 after seven & the sun some way above the horizon. It is a spectacle, we have not beheld for the last 15 months.

Captain Fitzroy’s Journal:
We passed through a space of sea, many miles in extent, where the water was of a very much lighter colour than usual; not of a light-green or muddy hue, such as one sees near land, but of a milky white tint. Being in soundings, one naturally attributed such a change of colour to some peculiarity in the ground; but I have since thought differently, and am now inclined to believe that the light-coloured water came from a distance, in one of those great, though slow-moving currents, which sweep past the Falkland Islands, and thence northwards: but to what cause its unusual whiteness is to be attributed, I know not. The dissolution of a huge iceberg, or of many icebergs, might alter the colour, and certainly would change the temperature of a considerable body of water; but in this case, a thermometer immersed in the sea did not indicate a degree lower than that of the previous or following day. During the three days, our soundings varied only from fifty to sixty fathoms. The lead certainly brought up fine grey sand while the water was light-coloured, and dark sand at other times; but I can hardly think that so decided a change—different from any I noticed elsewhere—could have been caused in fifty fathoms water by so small an alteration in the quality of the bottom.

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