We anchored at night not far from the entrance of St Blas. Within a few miles the two Schooners were at anchor. Mr Wickham came on board & reports all well in the vessels. They had a fine passage from Bahia Blanca; but during the month they have been surveying these coasts, there has been much dirty weather; & a little wind soon raises a great sea. The report of the Bay of San Blas is so bad, that I suppose we shall not enter it.
Captain Fitzroy’s Journal:
Soon after daylight we saw the very low islands, just to the northward of San Blas. I wished to have made Point Rubia, but was set twenty miles northward, during the night, by the flood tide. We stood directly towards the shore, but when eight miles from it found a wide breadth of discoloured water, and the depth shoaled suddenly from ten to three fathoms in a few casts of the lead. Hauling off, we steered southward, with the ebb tide. There was no ripple on the banks, but the water was quite yellow, and at the time we altered our course, in consequence of such shallow water, the nearest land was, at least, eight miles distant.
While tracing the outer edge of this bank we descried our cock-boats coming out to meet us, and soon afterwards Mr. Wickham came on board. He gave us gratifying news with little drawback; but had he been half-roasted his own appearance could hardly have been more changed. Notwithstanding the protection of a huge beard, every part of his face was so scorched and blistered by the sun that he could hardly speak, much less join in the irresistible laugh at his own expense. His companions were similarly sun-burned, though not to such a degree. They had been much occupied in sounding extensive banks and harbours, under a hot sun, and while a fresh wind kept them constantly wet with spray. But this inconvenience was trifling; one of more importance was excessive sea-sickness, in consequence of the short and violent movements of such small craft under sail among the tide-races and eddies so numerous on that coast.
In other respects all had prospered so well, that I determined to give Mr. Wickham fresh orders, enlarging considerably his share of surveying operations. He was desired to continue exploring the coast, even as far as Port Desire, until the Beagle's return from her visit to Tierra del Fuego and the Falkland Islands.
As the weather promised well, an anchor was dropped where we were, outside the banks, but the schooners sought shelter in the harbour of San Blas.