The Beagle got underweigh at 4 o’clock in the morning & ran up the river to take in fresh water. We are now becalmed within sight of the Mount. The Adventure is at anchor close to us. May kind fortune for once favor us with fine weather & prosperous breezes.
On the 6th, Lieutenant Wickham remarked, while at anchor between San Blas and the River Negro, off Point Rasa, that the stream of tide began to set northward at half flood, and continued to run in that direction until half ebb, by the shore. "It is not at all uncommon on this coast," he says, "to see wrecks of vessels above high-water mark, and spars strewed along the beach where the sea does not touch them." These wrecks took place during south-east gales, when the sea was raised above its usual level in fine weather: and were the vessels spoken of in the previous chapter, as having been entrusted to ignorant or careless prize-masters, who ran for San Blas or the River Negro, not then knowing that so fine a port as Blanco Bay existed. Strong tides, shoals, a low coast, and bad weather would have perplexed professed seamen; but those difficulties were insurmountable to such unpractised craftsmen as those who were in charge of them, and most of the prizes were lost. One large ship of four or five hundred tons was taken, by a wiser master, to Port Melo, and there her cargo was discharged into small craft, which landed it safely in the River Negro. Many of these ill-fated vessels were never afterwards heard of; but from the numerous wrecks seen along the coast between the Colorado and the Negro, it may be inferred that they and their unfortunate crews perished in the surf occasioned by south-east gales, or were capsized by sudden pamperoes.