28th February 1835

On the next day (28th), by noon, there was less surf & she was brought off. — Early in the last night a strong jerk was felt at our anchor, more cable being veered she remained all fast; but this morning we found the anchor snapped right in two. — This is most unfortunate; we have now only one anchor; & instead of being able to survey the coast, it will be necessary after touching at Concepcion to run up to Valparaiso to purchase a fresh stock.

Chilean Earthquake

Well, this is certainly going to be the longest post since this weblog of Darwin's Diary started with the departure of the Beagle from Devonport in December 1831. But with the terrible earthquake yesterday in Chile, I am posting the whole of Captain Fitzroy's account of the equally terrifying quake of February 1835. Although the posting is very long it bears reading in its entirety.
The next few postings will cover Darwin's descriptions of, and reactions to, what he saw in Concepcion, coincidentally almost the epicentre of the 2010 quake. They do not make happy reading, and perhaps should prompt us to help all we can to assist the authorities in Chile to recover and rebuild.

Captain Fitzroy’s Journal:
Shocks of earthquakes were frequently felt, more or less severely; sometimes I thought that the anchor had been accidentally let go, and the chain was running out; and while at anchor, I often fancied the ship was driving, till I saw that there was neither swell, current, nor wind sufficient to move her from the anchorage. We naturally concluded that some strange convulsion was working, and anxious for the fate of Concepcion, hastened to Talcahuano Bay as soon as our duty would allow: arriving there on the 4th of March—to our dismay—we saw ruins in every direction.
The following account of this catastrophe was subsequently obtained:—
At ten in the morning of the 20th of February, very large flights of sea-fowl were noticed, passing over the city of Concepcion, from the sea-coast, towards the interior: and in the minds of old inhabitants, well acquainted with the climate of Concepcion, some surprise was excited by so unusual and simultaneous a change in the habits of those birds,* no signs of an approaching storm being visible, nor any expected at that season. About eleven, the southerly breeze† freshened up as usual—the sky was clear, and almost cloudless. At forty minutes after eleven,‡ a shock of an earthquake was felt, slightly at first, but increasing rapidly. During the first half minute, many persons remained in their houses; but then the convulsive movements were so strong, that the alarm became general, and they all rushed into open spaces for safety. The horrid motion increased; people could hardly stand; buildings waved and tottered—suddenly an awful overpowering shock caused universal destruction—and in less than six seconds the city was in ruins. The stunning noise of falling houses; the horrible cracking of the earth, which opened and shut rapidly and repeatedly in numerous places;§ the desperate heart-rending outcries of the people; the stifling heat; the blinding, smothering clouds of dust; the utter helplessness and confusion; and the extreme horror and alarm, can neither be described nor fully imagined.

This fatal convulsion took place about a minute and a half or two minutes after the first shock; and it lasted for nearly two minutes, with equal violence. During this time no one could stand unsupported; people clung to each other, to trees, or to posts. Some threw themselves on the ground; but there the motion was so violent that they were obliged to stretch out their arms on each side, to prevent being tossed over and over. The poultry flew about screaming wildly. Horses and other animals were greatly frightened, standing with their legs spread out, and their heads down, trembling excessively.

After the most violent shock ceased, the clouds of dust which had been raised by falling buildings, began to disperse; people breathed more freely, and dared to look around them. Ghastly and sepulchral was the sight. Had the graves opened and given up their dead, their appearance could scarcely have been more shocking. Pale and trembling, covered with dust and perspiration, they ran from place to place, calling for relations and friends; and many seemed to be quite bereft of reason.

Considerable shocks continued to harass and alarm at short intervals. The earth was never long quiet during that or the next day, nor indeed for the three days following the great shock; and during many hours after the ruin, it was tremulous, and the shocks were very frequent, though not severe. Many of these, but not all, were preceded by a rumbling, subterranean noise, like distant thunder. Some compared the sound to the distant discharge of many pieces of artillery. These noises came from the south-west quarter, and preceded the shock by one or two seconds; sometimes, but not often, the sound was unaccompanied by any shock.

It was the general opinion that the motion was from south-west to north-east. Some whole walls, whose direction was south-east and north-west, were laid flat, the bricks still maintaining their relative position, though end-wise, without being scattered upon the ground. These walls fell, without exception, to the north-east.* Others were scattered as they fell; but still the greatest masses of brick-work were thrown towards the north-east. Walls standing in the opposite direction, north-east and south-west, suffered far less: none fell bodily or in masses; fragments were shaken or torn off; and some of the walls were very much cracked,† but others suffered little. Houses built of 'adobes,'‡ became confused heaps, and roofs fell in every where. The cathedral, whose walls were four feet in thickness, supported by great buttresses, and built of good brick and mortar,§ suffered more than other buildings. Adhering to the remains of the walls were left the lower parts of some buttresses—the upper parts of others—while in one place a buttress stood on its own foundation, separated entirely from the wall.

The city of Concepcion stands upon a plain, very little higher than the level of the river Bio Bio. The soil is loose and alluvial. To the eastward and northward lie rocky irregular hills: from the foot of which the loose earth was every where parted by the great convulsion, large cracks being left, from an inch to more than a foot in width. It seemed as if the low land had been separated from the hills, having been more disturbed by the shock.

Women washing in the river near Concepcion were startled by the sudden rise of the water—from their ankles to their knees—and at the same moment felt the beginning of the convulsion. It was said that the dogs avoided the ruin, by running away before it occurred. This, though known with certainty to have been the case at Talcahuano, wants confirmation with respect to Concepcion. Of nine men who were repairing the inside of a church, seven were killed, and two severely hurt. One of these poor fellows was half-buried in the ruins, during five days, with a dead body lying across him, through which it was necessary to cut, for his release. A mother, escaping with her children, saw one fall into a hole; a wall close to her was tottering; she pushed a piece of wood across the hole, and ran on; the wall fell, covering the hole with masses of brick-work; but, next day, the child was taken out unhurt. Another woman missed a child; saw that a high wall was tottering, but ran for her son, and brought him out. As she crossed the street, the wall fell, but they were safe; when the tremendous crash came, the whole street, which she had just crossed, was filled up with part of the ruins of the cathedral. Besides a waving or undulatory movement, vertical, horizontal, and circular or twisting motions were felt. An angular stone pinnacle was particularly noticed, which had been turned half round, without being thrown down, or leaving its base.

Persons riding at the time of the great shock, were stopped short; some, with their horses, were thrown to the ground: others dismounted, but could not stand. So little was the ground at rest after the great destruction, that between the 20th of February and the 4th of March, more than three hundred shocks were counted.

Much misery was alleviated by the good conduct and extreme hospitality of the inhabitants of Concepcion. Mutual assistance was every where rendered, and theft was almost unknown. The higher classes immediately set people to work, to build straw-covered huts and temporary houses of board, living meanwhile in the open air under trees. Those who soonest obtained or contrived shelter, collected as many about them as they could assist, and in a very few days all had a temporary shelter, under which they tried to laugh at their misfortunes and the shifts to which they were reduced.

At Talcahuano the great earthquake was felt as severely on the 20th February as in the city of Concepcion. It took place at the same time, and in a precisely similar manner: three houses only, upon a rocky foundation, escaped the fate of all those standing upon the loose sandy soil, which lies between the sea-beach and the hills. Nearly all the inhabitants escaped uninjured; but they had scarcely recovered from the sensations of the ruinous shocks, when an alarm was given that the sea was retiring! Penco* was not forgotten; apprehensive of an overwhelming wave, they hurried to the hills as fast as possible.

About half an hour after the shock, when the greater part of the population had reached the heights,—the sea having retired so much, that all the vessels at anchor, even those which had been lying in seven fathoms water, were aground, and every rock and shoal in the bay was visible,—an enormous wave was seen forcing its way through the western passage which separates Quiriquina Island from the mainland. This terrific swell passed rapidly along the western side of the Bay of Concepcion, sweeping the steep shores of every thing moveable within thirty feet (vertically) from high water-mark. It broke over, dashed along, and whirled about the shipping as if they had been light boats; overflowed the greater part of the town, and then rushed back with such a torrent that every moveable which the earthquake had not buried under heaps of ruins was carried out to sea. In a few minutes, the vessels were again aground, and a second great wave was seen approaching, with more noise and impetuosity than the first; but though this was more powerful, its effects were not so considerable—simply because there was less to destroy. Again the sea fell, dragging away quantities of woodwork and the lighter materials of houses, and leaving the shipping aground.

After some minutes of awful suspense, a third enormous swell was seen between Quiriquina and the mainland, apparently larger than either of the two former. Roaring as it dashed against every obstacle with irresistible force, it rushed—destroying and overwhelming—along the shore. Quickly retiring, as if spurned by the foot of the hills, the retreating wave dragged away such quantities of household effects, fences, furniture, and other moveables, that after the tumultuous rush was over, the sea appeared to be covered with wreck. Earth and water trembled: and exhaustion appeared to follow these mighty efforts.

Numbers of the inhabitants then hastened to the ruins, anxious to ascertain the extent of their losses, and to save some money, or a few valuable articles, which, having escaped the sweep of the sea, were exposed to depredators.

During the remainder of the day, and the following night, the earth was not quiet many minutes at a time. Frequent, almost incessant tremors, occasional shocks more or less severe, and distant subterranean noises, kept every one in anxious suspense. Some thought the crisis had not arrived, and would not descend from the hills into the ruined town. Those who were searching among the ruins, started at every shock, however slight, and almost doubted that the sea was not actually rushing in again to overwhelm them. Nearly all the inhabitants, excepting a few who went on board vessels in the harbour, passed the night upon the hills, without shelter: and next day they began to raise sheds and huts upon the high grounds, still dreading the sea. It was said, and generally considered certain, that every dog at Talcahuano had left the town before the shock, which ruined the buildings, was felt.

Without explanation it appears astonishing how the shipping escaped destruction. There were three large whale-ships, a bark, two brigs, and a schooner, very near the town, in from four to seven fathoms water: they were lying at single anchor,* with a good scope of cable:† one only was well moored.

With the southerly breeze, which was rather fresh at the time of the earthquake, these vessels lay to seaward‡ of their anchors, having their sterns towards the sea; and were left aground in this position. The captain of the port, D. Pablo Delano, was on board one of the whale ships at the time, with the hatches battened down, and dead lights shipped. All hands took to the rigging for safety. The first great wave came in an unbroken swell to the stern of the vessel, broke over and lifted her along without doing any material harm, more than sweeping her decks: and the slack chain dragging over the mud checked her gradually, as the first impetus of the wave diminished. Whirling her round, the water rushed out to seaward again, leaving the vessel stranded nearly in her former position. From two fathoms, when aground, the depth alongside increased to ten, as the water rose highest during the last swell. The two latter waves approached, and affected the shipping similarly to the former: all withstood their force, though the light anchors were dragged. Some of the vessels were thrown violently against others; and whirled around as if they had been in the vortex of a whirlpool. Previous to the rush of waters, the Paulina and Orion, two merchantmen, were lying a full cable's length apart; and after it had passed they were side by side, with three round turns in their cables. Each vessel had therefore gone round the other with each wave: the bow of one was stove in: to the other little damage was done. A small vessel* was on the stocks, almost ready for launching; she was carried by the sea two hundred yards in-shore, and left there unhurt. A little schooner, at anchor before the town, slipped her cable, and ran out in the offing as the water fell. She met the wave, unbroken, and rose over it as an ordinary swell. The Colocolo was under sail near the eastern entrance of the bay—she likewise met the wave, as a large swell, without inconvenience.

Many boats put off from the shore before the sea retired: some met the advancing waves before they broke, and rose safely over them; others, half swamped, struggled through the breakers. The fate of one little boy was extraordinary. A servant woman had taken refuge with him in a boat; the boat was dashed against an anchor, lying on the shore, and divided. The woman was drowned, but the half of the boat containing the child § was carried out into the bay. It floated, and the boy held firmly. He was picked up afterwards, sitting upright, holding steadily with both hands, wet and cold, but unhurt. The boy's name is Hodges: his father is an Englishman, well known at Talcahuano, and was an officer in the British navy.

For several days the sea was strewed with wreck; not only in the Bay of Concepcion, but outside, in the offing. The shores of Quiriquina Island were covered with broken furniture and wood work of all kinds; so much so, that for weeks afterwards, parties were constantly at work collecting and bringing back property. During three days succeeding that of the ruin the sea ebbed and flowed irregularly, and very frequently: rising and falling for some hours after the shock two or three times in an hour. Eastward of the island of Quiriquina the swell was neither so large nor so powerful as that which swept over Talcahuano. Having more room to expend its strength in the wider and deeper part of the bay may perhaps have been the reason why the sea swelled rapidly, without breaking, near Lirquen, in the south-east part of the bay; and why it broke over Tomé* with violence, though not so furiously as over Talcahuano. The great waves, coming from the sea, appear to have been divided, at the entrance of Concepcion Bay, by the island of Quiriquina, and turned aside both ways, one part taking its course along the Tumbes, or western shore, towards Talcahuano; the other across the eastern opening, towards Tomé. While the bay of Concepcion was agitated by the great waves, it was noticed by Captain Walford (from his house at Lirquen), that the Colocolo was swept to and fro remarkably. She was under sail near the eastern entrance of the bay. Two explosions, or eruptions, were witnessed while the waves were coming in. One in the offing, beyond the island of Quiriquina, was seen by Mr. Henry Burdon and his family, who were then embarked in a large boat, near Tomé; it appeared to be a dark column of smoke, in shape like a tower. Another rose in the middle of the bay of San Vicente, like the blowing of an immense imaginary whale: its disappearance was followed by a whirlpool which lasted some minutes: it was hollow, and tended to a point in the middle, as if the sea was pouring into a cavity of the earth. At the time of the ruin, and until after the great waves, the water in the bay appeared to be every where boiling; bubbles of air, or gas, were rapidly escaping; the water also became black, and exhaled a most disagreeable sulphureous smell. Dead fish were afterwards thrown ashore in quantities; they seemed to have been poisoned, or suffocated; and for days together the shores of the bay were covered with fine corvinos, and numerous small fish. Black stinking water burst up from the earth, in several places; and in Mr. Evans's yard, at Talcahuano, the ground swelled like a large bubble, then bursting, poured forth black, fetid, sulphureous water. Near Concepcion similar outbursts of water were seen, and similarly described.

By a marked part of the wall of Captain Delano's house, it was ascertained that the body of water reached twenty-five feet above the usual level of high water. It penetrated into the 'altos,'* and left sea-weed hanging to the remains of roofs, or to the tops of broken walls. But this must not be taken as the general height of the wave. A body of water, rushing upon a sloping beach with such force, would naturally preserve its impetus for some time, and run up the inclined plane, to a great height. Those who watched the waves coming in, considered them, while beyond the shipping, about as high as the upper part of the hull of a frigate; or from sixteen to twenty feet above the level of the rest of the water in the bay. Only those parts of the wave which encountered opposition broke, until within half a mile of the beach, when the roar became appalling. Persons who were standing on the heights, overlooking both bays, saw the sea come swelling into San Vicente at the same time that it advanced upon Talcahuano. The explosion in San Vicente, and the sea advancing from both sides, made them think that the peninsula of Tumbes was about to be separated from the main land, and many ran up the hills until they had reached the very highest point.

Strange extremes of injury and harmlessness were among the effects of these overwhelming waves. Buildings were levelled, heavy twenty-four pound guns were moved some yards, and upset; yet a child was carried to sea uninjured; and window-frames, with the glass in them, were thrown ashore upon the island of Quiriquina without a pane being broken! According to a register, kept by Captain Delano, it appears that his barometer fell four or five tenths of an inch between the seventeenth and eighteenth of February, and was still falling on the morning of the eighteenth, after which it rose again. So great† and sudden a fall, not followed by bad weather, may have been connected with the cause of the earthquake; but some doubt hangs over these observations. The barometers on board the Beagle, at that time in Valdivia, did not indicate any change. Still, at so great a distance, it does not follow that the mercury should move similarly; and (notwithstanding doubts excited by persons at Concepcion who had frequently looked at Captain Delano's barometer,) I am hardly inclined to disbelieve the extract from his register which he gave me.

In a river near Lirquen, a woman was washing clothes at the time of the great shock. The water rose instantaneously, from her feet half way up her legs; and then subsided gradually to its usual level. It became very muddy at the same time. On the sea-beach the water swelled up to high-water mark, at the time of the shock, without having previously retired. It then began to retire, and continued falling about half an hour, before a great wave was seen approaching.

For some days after the devastation the sea did not rise to its usual marks, by four or five feet vertically. Some thought the land had been elevated, but the common and prevailing idea was, that the sea had retired. This alteration gradually diminished, till, in the middle of April, there was a difference of only two feet between the existing, and former high-water marks. The proof that the land had been raised exists in the fact, that the island of Santa Maria was upheaved some feet more than other places.

In going through the narrow passage which separates Quiriquina from Tumbes, the great waves had swept the steep shores to a height of thirty feet (vertically) above high-water mark; but this elevation was attained, in all probability, only at the sides of the passage, where the water met with more obstruction, and therefore washed up higher. That passage is nearly one mile in width, and has ten fathoms water in the middle; but the rocks on the western side diminish its navigable width to half a mile.

Wherever the invading waves found low land, the destruction was great, from those lands being in general well cultivated, and the site of many houses. The low grounds lying at the bottom of Concepcion Bay, particularly those of the Isla de los Reyes, were overflowed, and injured irreparably: quantities of cattle, horses, and sheep were lost. Similar effects, in an equal or less degree, were felt on the coasts between the river Itata, and Cape Rumena. Large masses of earth and stone, many thousand tons in weight, were detached from the cliffs, and precipitous sides of the hills. It was dangerous to go near the edge of a cliff, for numerous chasms, and cracks in every direction, showed how doubtful was the support. When walking on the shore, even at high-water, beds of dead muscles, numerous chitons and limpets, and withered sea-weed, still adhering, though lifeless, to the rocks on which they had lived, every where met the eye—proofs of the upheaval of the land.

Besides suffering from the effects of the earthquake and three invading waves, which, coming from the west round both points of the island, united to overflow the low ground near the village, Santa Maria was upheaved nine feet. It appeared that the southern extreme of the island was raised eight feet, the middle nine, and the northern end upwards of ten feet. The Beagle visited this island twice—at the end of March and in the beginning of April: at her first visit it was concluded, from the visible evidence of dead shell-fish, water-marks, and soundings, and from the verbal testimony of the inhabitants, that the land had been raised about eight feet. However, on returning to Concepcion, doubts were raised; and to settle the matter beyond dispute, one of the owners of the island, Don S. Palma, accompanied us the second time. An intelligent Hanoverian, whose occupation upon this island was sealing, and who had lived two years there and knew its shores thoroughly, was also passenger in the Beagle.

When we landed, the Hanoverian, whose name was Anthony Vogelborg, showed me a spot from which he used formerly to gather 'choros,'* by diving for them at low tide. At dead low water, standing upon the bed of 'choros,' and holding his hands up above his head, he could not reach the surface of the water: his height is six feet. On that spot, when I was there, the 'choros' were barely covered at high spring-tide.

Riding round the island afterwards, with Don Salvador and Vogelborg, I took many measures in places where no mistake could be made. On large steep-sided rocks, where vertical measures could be correctly taken, beds of dead muscles were found ten feet above the recent high-water mark. A few inches only above what was then the spring-tide high-water mark, were putrid shell-fish and seaweed, which evidently had not been wetted since the upheaval of the land. One foot lower than the highest bed of muscles, a few limpets and chitons were adhering to the rock where they had grown. Two feet lower than the same muscles, chitons and limpets were abundant.

An extensive rocky flat lies around the northern parts of Santa Maria. Before the earthquake this was covered by the sea, some projecting rocks only showing themselves: after it, the whole surface was exposed; and square acres (or many quadras) of the rocky flat were covered with dead shell-fish, the stench arising from which was abominable. By this elevation of the land the southern port of Santa Maria was almost destroyed: there remained but little shelter, and very bad landing: the soundings having diminished a fathom and a half every where around the island.

At Tubul, to the south-east of Santa Maria, the land was raised six feet. The waves did not enter that river's mouth until about one o'clock; and then in greater number, but with less force, six or seven having been counted. Might not this be owing to the meeting of the divisions of the great wave which passed around Santa Maria.

At the island of Mocha the shock of the earthquake was so strong that people could not stand. The sea washed over the rocks at the end of the island, higher than it had ever reached in a heavy gale of wind. Anthony Vogelborg was on one of those rocks, or rather on an islet at the south end of Mocha, at the time, with a party who were sealing. Their boat was hauled up on the top of the rocky islet, and, expecting to be washed off, they held by it in readiness. The boat was lying nearly east and west. During the earthquake some water in her bottom ran as fast from one end of the boat to the other as if some one were quickly lifting one end off the ground and letting it down again. It did not wash from side to side at any time. Two forked sticks were stuck in the ground, about three yards apart; another lay across them for hanging things to dry. These sticks also were nearly east and west of one another: and during the shock they waved to and fro till the forks touched, and the cross stick fell. Strong shocks were felt by vessels under sail near Mocha; and between Mocha and Concepcion, the same was experienced by several vessels, not only on the 20th, but during following days.

At anchor off Mocha on the 24th, a shock was felt by me, which resembled the sudden dragging of the anchor over rocks. Under way on the 2d of March, it was thought that a chain-cable was running out at the hawse. In one vessel they supposed she had run ashore: on board of another, that the ship had passed over a whale. Vogelborg thought that the land had been upheaved about two feet; and from his accuracy in other matters, I am inclined to trust to his opinion.

At Valdivia the shock began gently, increased gradually during two minutes, was at its strongest about one minute, and then diminished. The motion was undulating and regular, like waves rolling from west to east, but strong; and it lasted nearly ten minutes. There was no difficulty in standing or walking, but the houses waved and cracked. The stone church tottered, but was not injured; its roof was very light. All the dwelling-houses being strongly built of wood, withstood the shock. Most people thought the motion was from south-west to north-east, but Mr. Darwin and a person with him at the time, thought the reverse.

The river increased, or rose, at the same time, and rapidly fell again to its former height. In the port the sea swelled suddenly upon the shore to high-water mark, though it was then nearly the time of low-water, and quickly fell again. Both sea and river rose and fell frequently during the remainder of the day. The river never fell below its usual height, neither did the sea retire beyond its proper place, at that time of tide; but each swelled from time to time and again sunk down. This happened once or twice in an hour. After the great convulsion, other slighter shocks occurred at intervals of a few minutes during an hour. In the afternoon, at about five, a smart shock was felt, which made the people run out of their houses.* One man and one woman were drowned by the sudden rise of the sea near Niebla: it was supposed that they were upon the rocks gathering shell-fish. Excepting in this instance, no injury was done at Valdivia. No noise preceded or accompanied any of the shocks.

This great earthquake extended to the island of Chilóe, and probably still farther to the southward. The shock was there slight, but lasted during six or eight minutes; it was neither preceded nor followed by any subterranean noise. At about thirty-four minutes after eleven,‡ the beginning of the shock was felt. The motion was undulating and not strong. The swell of the sea was felt there, but I know not at what time. A man was going to leave the shore§ in his boat; he went a short distance to fetch something, and returning found the boat aground and immoveable: puzzled and vexed he went away, but had not gone many yards before his son called to him that it was afloat.

In the small port of Coliumo, close to the northward of Concepcion Bay, the waves rose about as high as at Tomé, nearly fourteen feet before they reached the shore. The little village of Dichato shared the general calamity; but, standing rather higher and more distant from the sea than Talcahuano, it escaped the ravages of that element.

At the mouth of the Maule the force and height of the waves must have been considerably diminished; for no particular effect was noticed at the time, nor were there any marks upon the shore by which the height of the wave could be afterwards ascertained. That the sea should not there have occupied attention is not surprising, when one considers the locality of La Constitucion, as the port and town are called. On level low land, at the south side of the river, lies the town; between which and the sea there is high land, and a distance of about a mile. The river winds round the northern promontory of the high land, and then fights its way to sea over a bar, on which there are always breakers. There are no houses on the seashore; and, without going half a-mile up the hill, the sea cannot be seen; naturally then, for some time after the town was ruined by the earthquake, the inhabitants would be engaged in saving and sheltering their property, rather than looking at the ocean. I could not ascertain whether the river had risen or not: and having previously heard that the waves were very powerful at the mouth of the Maule, I was a good deal surprised to find they had been almost unnoticed: but all attention seemed to have been engrossed with the earthquake.

A vessel, lying close under the promontory mentioned above, was obliged to move as quickly as possible, when the shocks began, so serious was the shower of stones which rattled down the hill and fell about, and on board of her. I was assured by the governor, by the chief pilot, and by other residents, that instead of the land having been elevated at all, they considered that it had sunk about two feet. The pilot said he had found two feet more water on the bar, since the great shock, and that he was certain the banks of the river were lower, though he could not say exactly how much. A rush of water might have shifted the loose sands of the bar; but whether the land had sunk seemed to me very doubtful. Certainly, however, it had not risen.

The island of Juan Fernandes was very much affected. Near Bacalao Head an eruption burst through the sea, in a place about a mile from the land, where the depth is from fifty to eighty fathoms. Smoke and water were thrown up during the greater part of the day, and flames were visible at night. Great waves swept the shores of the island, after the sea had retired so much that old anchors were seen at the bottom of the anchorage.

This earthquake was felt at all places between Chilóe and Copiapó: between Juan Fernandes and Mendoza. On the sea-coast, within those limits, the retiring and swelling of the ocean was every where observed. At Mendoza the motion was evenly gentle. Copiapó, Huasco, and Coquimbo felt similar, although rather more forcible undulations. Towns, and houses which lay between the parallels of thirty-five and thirty-eight, suffered extremely; nearly all were ruined; but northward and southward of those latitudes, slight injury was done to any building. In the parallel of thirty-three and a-half, Juan Fernandes suffered, yet Valparaiso, opposite, escaped uninjured.

As to the state of neighbouring volcanoes, so various were the accounts of their action, both after and before the earthquake, that I had no means of ascertaining the full truth; but I heard from Valdivia that directly after the earthquake all the volcanoes from Antuco to Osorno, inclusive, were in full activity.

27th February 1835

The Captain at last effected a landing through a heavy surf; during his observations the tide fell, & it was found impossible to launch the boat again.

25th February 1835

This island of Mocha has been an island of trouble to us. This day we sailed round it making a plan; in the evening the swell prevented us anchoring. — A gale from the North followed, & the wind, instead of changing to the South, continued in this unlucky point.

24th February 1835

[Mocha - Google Maps]
Valdivia to Mocha
24th In the evening came to an anchor under the lee of the island of Mocha: we had an unusual spectacle in seeing five ships under sail at once. They are Whalers cruizing for fish.

Captain Fitzroy’s Journal:
Late on the 24th we anchored at Mocha, and the following week was occupied in surveying its shores and the space between them and the mainland.

23rd February 1835

Valdivia to Mocha
We have not been very lucky with the survey; during part of each day there has been a fog: I suppose this fog is heavy rain in Chiloe; we now are in a land of blue skys.

22nd February 1835

We finally sailed from Valdivia & continued the survey up the coast. About thirty miles to the Northward the country becomes lower & more level, neither is it quite so concealed in forest. — We saw much cattle; & several groups of Indians on horseback appeared to watch with interest our movements. Seeing us so close to the land, they perhaps hoped we should be wrecked; a fate which happened not long since to a French Whaler, the crew of which were robbed of every single thing in a very short time. — It is said that the country of these Araucanians is the most fertile in Chili; my friend the Padre at Cudico bitterly regretted that it should be so wasted & wished with Christian humanity, that all the provinces would unite & make a complete end of the Indian race.

This is a dangerous coast; shoal water extends to some distance in the offing, & a heavy swell is constantly setting right on shore. A ship in a calm in such a situation is most awkwardly placed. — The swell lost us an anchor & 16 fathoms of cable; We only anchored for an hour, & in heaving up, the jerks were so violent that the cable snapped in two. — This is the sixth anchor since leaving England!

Captain Fitzroy’s Journal:
I was informed that there is coal in many places about Valdivia; but I did not see any. We sailed on the 22d, after receiving, on all occasions, the kindest treatment from the residents.

As we passed along the low coast about the river Tolten, numbers of Indians on horseback, and armed with lances, were seen riding along the shore, evidently watching our movements. This part of the coast is shoal, and at night would be dangerous, for the low land projects considerably, and would not then be readily seen. We could not distinguish the mouths of either the Tolten or the Imperial (or Cauten) quite satisfactorily, but as they are bar rivers—useless to shipping—I would not risk anchoring on so exposed a coast, or sending a boat away into such a surf as we saw breaking, without having more time at my disposal and a higher object in view.

On the Cauten was the city called Imperial—celebrated in Araucanian story—and near its site now live the Boroa tribe, some of whom have light-coloured eyes, fair complexions, and even red hair. I saw one of these Indians at Valdivia, who had blue eyes, but dark hair. She told me that in her own country, 'Boroa,' there were many with eyes like her's; that some were 'rubios,' that is, of a red and white complexion, and that a few had red hair. Her parents had told her, she said, that those people were descended from the 'Huincas.'* How the red hair originated is rather curious; I have heard of it from good authorities at other times, while in Chile.

* An Araucanian name for the Spaniards, signifying assassins.

Syms Covington Journal:
Sailed from Valdivia THE 22nd OF February.

21st February 1835

We moved our anchorage to one nearer the mouth of the harbor. — during the last week there has been an unusual degree of gaiety on board. — The Intendente paid us a visit one day & brought a whole boat full of ladies: bad weather compelled them to stay all night, a sore plague both to us & them. — They in return gave a ball, which was attended by nearly all on board. Those who went returned exceedingly well pleased with the people of Valdivia. — The Signoritas are pronounced very charming; & what is still more surprising, they have not forgotten how to blush, an art which is at present quite unknown in Chiloe.

20th February 1835

This day has been remarkable in the annals of Valdivia for the most severe earthquake which the oldest inhabitants remember. — Some who were at Valparaiso during the dreadful one of 1822, say this was as powerful. — I can hardly credit this, & must think that in Earthquakes as in gales of wind, the last is always the worst. I was on shore & lying down in the wood to rest myself. It came on suddenly & lasted two minutes (but appeared much longer). The rocking was most sensible; the undulation appeared both to me & my servant to travel from due East. There was no difficulty in standing upright; but the motion made me giddy. I can compare it to skating on very thin ice or to the motion of a ship in a little cross ripple.

An earthquake like this at once destroys the oldest associations; the world, the very emblem of all that is solid, moves beneath our feet like a crust over a fluid; one second of time conveys to the mind a strange idea of insecurity, which hours of reflection would never create. In the forest, a breeze moved the trees, I felt the earth tremble, but saw no consequence from it. At the town where nearly all the officers were, the scene was more awful; all the houses being built of wood, none actually fell & but few were injured. Every one expected to see the Church a heap of ruins. The houses were shaken violently & creaked much, the nails being partially drawn. — I feel sure it is these accompaniments & the horror pictured in the faces of all the inhabitants, which communicates the dread that every one feels who has thus seen as well as felt an earthquake. In the forest it was a highly interesting but by no means awe-exciting phenomenon.

The effect on the tides was very curious; the great shock took place at the time of low-water; an old woman who was on the beach told me that the water flowed quickly but not in big waves to the high-water mark, & as quickly returned to its proper level; this was also evident by the wet sand. She said it flowed like an ordinary tide, only a good deal quicker. This very kind of irregularity in the tide happened two or three years since during an Earthquake at Chiloe & caused a great deal of groundless alarm. In the course of the evening there were other weaker shocks; all of which seemed to produce the most complicated currents, & some of great strength in the Bay. The generally active Volcano of Villa-Rica, which is the only part of the Cordilleras in sight, appeared quite tranquil. I am afraid we shall hear of damage done at Concepcion. I forgot to mention that on board the motion was very perceptible; some below cried out that the ship must have tailed on the shore & was touching the bottom.

Captain Fitzroy’s Journal:
Many of us were in the town on the 20th of February, at the time of that great earthquake, which ruined so many places besides the city of Concepcion: an awful event.

Syms Covington Journal:
February 20th we felt a very severe shock of an earthquake; this happened when we were lying on the ground, resting ourselves. The sensation was something like a ship in a gentle seaway, the trees could be perceived to wave a lot too and fro in a north easterly direction; the sea came up of a sudden six feet, and as suddenly retired, but there was done here no damage.

18th February 1835

[Fort Niebla in 2007]
I crossed over to the Fort called Niebla, which is on the opposite side of the bay to the Corral where we are at anchor. — The Fort is in a most ruinous state; the carriages of guns are so rotten that Mr Wickham remarked to the commanding officer, that with one discharge they would all fall. The poor man trying to put a good face on it, gravely replied, "No I am sure Sir they would stand two!" The Spaniards must have intended to have made this place impregnable. There is now lying in the middle of the court-yard a little mountain of mortar, which rivals in hardness the rock on which it lies. — It was brought from Chili & cost seven thousand dollars. The revolution breaking out prevented its being applied to any purpose; but now it remains a monument to the fallen greatness of Spain. — I wanted to go to a house about a mile & half distant; my guide said it was quite impossible to penetrate the wood in a straight line; but he offered to lead me by the shortest way, following obscure cattle tracks: after all, the walk took no less than three hours! This man is employed in hunting strayed cattle; yet well as he must know the woods, he was not long since lost for two whole days & had nothing to eat. These facts convey a good idea of the impracticability of the forest of these countries. — A question often occurred to me, how long does any vestige of a fallen tree remain? This man showed me one which a party of fugitive Royalists had cut down fourteen years ago. — Judging from the state in which it was I should think a bole a foot and a half in diameter in thirty years would present a mere ridge of mould.

14th February 1835

We reached Valdivia by noon & had the good fortune to find boats from the Beagle, so that I got on board the same evening. — I forgot to mention as a proof how congenial this climate is to the Apple tree, that in several places in the forest I found trees which must have been sown by chance. An old man illustrated his motto that "Necessidad es la Madre del invencion" by giving an account of how many things he manufactured from apples: After extracting the cyder from the refuse, he by some process procured a white & most excellently flavoured spirit (which many of the officers tasted); he also could make wine. — by a distinct process he produced a very sweet & well tasted treacle or as he called it honey. — None of these processes require much attention.

13th February 1835

I found nothing worth staying for or for proceeding, so again returned through the forest. — We met seven very wild Indians, amongst whom were some Caciques who had just received their yearly stipend. They were fine upright men, but rode one after the other, with gloomy looks. An old Cacique who headed them, I suppose had been more excessively drunk than any of the rest, for he seemed both extremely grave & crabbed. — Shortly before this two Indians joined us, who were travelling from a distant Mission to Valdivia concerning some law suit. — One was a good humored old man, but from his wrinkled beardless face looked more like an old Woman. I frequently presented both with cigars; though ready to receive them & I daresay grateful, they would hardly condescend to thank me: — A Chilotan Indian would have taken off his hat & given his "Dios le pagé" (may God repay you). — My guide talked the Indian language fluently; so that I heard plenty of their conversation. It is entirely free from guttural sounds; none of the words proceeding from the throat. — We reached before night-fall a sort of warehouse for the reception of muleteers; the other of the two houses in the whole line of road. — The travelling was very tedious, from heavy rain of the preceding night; another great difficulty is the number of large trees which have fallen across the road. — If they are so big that the horse cannot leap them, it is often necessary to go fifty yards on one or the other side.

12th February 1835

We continued to ride through the uncleared forest; & only occassionally met an Indian on horseback, or a troop of fine mules bringing Alerce planks or corn from the Southern plains. In the afternoon one of the horses tired; we were then on the brow of a hill which commanded a fine view of the Llanos. The view of these open plains was very refreshing, after being hemmed in & buried amongst the wilderness of trees. The uniformity of a forest soon becomes very wearisome; this West coast makes me remember with pleasure the free, unbounded plains of Patagonia; yet with the true spirit of contradiction, I cannot forget how sublime is the silence of the forest. The Llanos are the most fertile & thickly peopled parts of the country: they possess the immense advantage of being nearly free from trees; before leaving the forest we crossed some flat little lawns, around which single trees were encroaching in the manner of an English park. — It is curious how generally a plain seems hostile to the growth of trees: Humboldt found much difficulty in endeavouring to account for their presence or absence in certain parts of S. America; it appears to me that the levelness of the surface very frequently determines this point; but the cause why it should do so I cannot guess. — In the case of Tierra del Fuego the deficiency is probably owing to the accumulation of too much moisture; but in Banda Oriental, to the North of Maldonado, where we have a fine undulating country, with streams of water (which are themselves fringed with wood) is to me, as I have before stated, the most inexplicable case.

On account of the tired horse I determined to stop close by at the Mission of Cudico; to the Friar of which I had a letter of introduction. — Cudico is an intermediate district between the forest & the Llanos: there are a good many cottages with patches of corn & potatoes nearly all 529 belonging to Indians. The Plank-built Chapel is small & in sad decay; the Government is building a school for the Indian children. — The Padre tells me they are very easily taught any subject, & that the school will be the means of doing a great deal of good. — All the Indians belonging to Valdivia are "reducidos & Christians"; they are divided into tribes, & have their Caciques: their quarrels & crimes are superintended by Spanish authorities, & I do not quite understand what power the Cacique has, excepting that of oppressing his subjects. The Indians to the North, about Imperial & Arauco, are yet very wild & not converted; they all have however much intercourse with the Spaniards. — There are 26 tribes more or less dependant on Valdivia; each of these have Spanish residents, called "Capitanes delos amigos", whose office is to interpret & plead for their respective tribes with the Governor of Valdivia. The Caciques of three or four of the tribes, who have remained very faithful & have been of service during the wars, receive a pension of 30 dollars a year (6 pounds sterling); a sort of bribe with which they are well satisfied to remain quiet. — Some of the tribes are large, one is supposed to have 3–4000 Indians. — The Padre says that the Indians do not much like coming to mass, but otherwise show much respect to religion; the greatest difficulty is in making them observe the ceremonies of marriage. — The wild Indians take as many wives as they can support; & a Cacique will sometimes have more than ten: — on entering his house, the number can be told by that of the separate fires. This last plan must be a good one to prevent quarrelling. The wives live each a week in turns with the Cacique; but all are employed in weaving Ponchos &c for his advantage: to be the wife of a Cacique is an honor much sought after by the Indian women. — The besetting sin with all is that of drunkedness; it seems wonderful that they are able to drink enough of our sour weak cyder to make themselves drunk. — But it is certain that they remain in this state for whole days together & are then very dangerous & fierce. — The Indian temperament, all over the Americas, seeks with singular eagerness the excitation produced by Spirituous liquors.

The common Indian dress to the South of Valdivia is a dark woollen Poncho, beneath which they wear nothing, & short tight trousers & leggings. To the North, they wear a garment folded round their bodies in the manner of the Chilipa of the Gauchos. This alone will immediately point out from which side any Indian comes. — They all wear their long hair bound by a red band, & without covering to their heads. Both of which tastes are constantly seen in the Indians on the other side of the Cordilleras. Some of the women wear curiously shaped & very large plates of silver in their ears; & I saw one man with a similar necklace; which at a distance looked like a white ruff. — It appears to me that these Indians have a slightly different physiognomy from any which I have seen; they are more swarthy, their hair is not so straight & in greater profusion, their cheek bones are very prominent: they are good sized men. — The expression of their faces is generally grave & even austere; & possesses much character; this may either pass for goodnatured bluntness or for fierce determination. — On the road a traveller meets with none of that humble politeness so universal in Chiloe; some however gave their "Mari-Mari" (good morning) with promptness. — The resemblance very likely is imaginary, but the long hair, the grave & much lined features, & dark complexion, called to my mind old portraits of Charles the First. — The independence of manners of these Indians is probably a consequence of the long & victorious wars which they have fought with the Spaniards. — At present all the Southern Indians seem in a fair way of continuing subjects of Chili. — They are said to be very good horsemen; they do not much use the lazo, or the Bolas, & this latter only to the North. — The Chusa is the proper Weapon of the country. — It is odd what difficulty is found in ascertaining even the most simple question from the Spaniards. I was assured by what would appear excellent authority, that the Indian language of Chiloe is quite distinct from that of these Araucanians: yet I now am convinced they are the same. — The greater part of the latter talk some Spanish.

I spent the evening very pleasantly, talking with the Padre. — He was exceedingly kind & hospitable; & coming from St Jago had contrived to surround himself with some few comforts. Being a man of some little education, he bitterly complained of the total want of society; — with no particular zeal for religion, no business or pursuit, how completely must this mans life be wasted.

11th February 1835

I set out on a short ride, in which however I managed to see singularly little either of the geology of the country or of the inhabitants. — There is not much cleared land near Valdivia; after crossing a river at the distance of a few miles, we entered the forest, & then only passed one miserable hovel before reaching our sleeping place for the night. — The short difference in latitude of 150 miles has given to the forest, as compared to that of Chiloe, another aspect. This is owing to a slightly different proportion in the kinds of trees; the evergreens do not appear to be quite so numerous; & the forest in consequence is coloured by a brighter & more lively green. — As in Chiloe, the lower parts are matted together by Canes; here also another kind, about twenty feet high and which strictly resembles in form the bamboos of Brazil, grows in clusters: the banks of some of the streams are thus ornamented in a very pretty manner. — It is with this plant that the Indians make their Chusas, or long tapering spears. — Our resting house was so dirty I preferred sleeping outside; the first night is generally an uncomfortable one, because ones body is not accustomed to the tickling & biting of the fleas: I am sure in the morning there was not the space of a shilling on my legs which had not its little red mark where the flea had feasted.

10th February 1835

Captain Fitzroy’s Journal:
I was told by the Yntendente that some Englishmen had arrived in his district a few months before we came, whose character and business he did not understand. Rumours had reached his ears of their having escaped from one of our convict settlements, at the other side of the Pacific, and he was inclined to believe the report. Three of these men had married since their arrival, and all but one were industrious members of his community: indeed I saw two of them hard at work on a boat belonging to the Yntendente. Having however no proof of their delinquency, I did not deem myself authorized to ask him to have them arrested and delivered up to me, in order that I might convey them to the senior British officer at Valparaiso. Afterwards I learned that these men, seven or eight in number, had escaped from Van Diemen's land in a very small vessel, and sailing always eastward, had at last arrived on the coast near Valdivia, whence they were conducted by a fisherman into the port. Eventually they were made prisoners by the Chilian authorities, delivered up to our Commodore, and by him sent to England.

9th February 1835

The morning after our arrival in the Port, two boats were sent to the town of Valdivia. This is seated on the banks of a river 9 or 10 miles distant from the anchorage. — At the latter place there are only a few cottages & some strong fortresses. — I ought rather to say which were formerly strong; for now most of the guns have been carried to Valparaiso. — This port is well known from Lord Cochranes gallant attack when in the service of La Patria. — We followed the course of the river; occassionally passing a few hovels & cleared patches of ground, & sometimes meeting a canoe with an Indian family. The scenery otherwise is one unbroken forest. The town of Valdivia is seated on the low banks of the river: it is completely hidden in a wood of Apple trees; the streets are merely paths in an orchard. — I never saw this fruit in such abundance. — There are but few houses; even I think less than in S. Carlos; they are entirely built of Alerce planks. The manners & habits of the upper classes are evidently superior to what we meet with at poor Chiloe. There is perhaps also more pure Spanish blood. — Beyond this, there is little to show that Baldivia is one of the most ancient colonies on this West coast of America.

Our first impression on seeing this quiet little town certainly has been a pleasing one. — There are several Englishmen residing here (as indeed in every corner of S. America); their number has lately been increased by an addition of seven run-away convicts from Van Diemen's land. They stole (or made) a vessel & ran straight for this coast; when some distance from the land they sunk her & took to their boats. — They all took wives in about a weeks time; & the fact of their being such notorious rogues appears to have weighed nothing in the Governors opinion, in comparison with the advantage of having some good workmen. — In all these Spanish colonies, it appears to me that the committal of enormous crimes lessens but very little the public estimation of any individual; that is, as long as they remain unpunished. The Chilians in St Jago think it very hard that the Englishmen cease to hold communication with any of their countrymen who may have acted dishonorably. — This most partly be the consequence of their absolving, forgiving religion. — I am afraid however, this Christian charity, both of the public & the Church, is chiefly extended to the rich.

Captain Fitzroy’s Journal:
Every facility and kindness in his power was offered to us by Don Isaac Thompson, the Yntendente:—and by his secretary, Don Francisco Solano Perez, I was presented with a rare edition of Febrés's 'Arte de la Lengua Chilena,' which has been of much use in explaining the meaning of aboriginal words and names. Don Francisco wished me to take another curious work, but I declined; and have often regretted since that I did not ask him to let me copy a map in it which contained the tracks of Spanish missionaries from Castro in Chilóe to the lake of San Rafael, isthmus of Ofqui, and archipelago of islands in latitude 48-9° S. I thought another copy might be found at Lima, but during my subsequent stay there, not one could be discovered.

The town of Valdivia, formerly dignified by the appellation of city, disappointed our party extremely. It proved to be no more than a straggling village of wooden houses, surrounded with apple-trees; and the only building, even partially constructed of stone, was a church.

An English carpenter, who had served on board the Beagle, in 1828, but had since settled on the banks of the river Cruces, about thirty miles from Valdivia, came on board his old ship one day, to see those whom he knew. It happened that I had formerly been of some assistance to him, and he was naturally glad to oblige me, by giving such information about the country and the natives as he was able to impart; and having lived nearly four years among them, his accounts were not only interesting, but, I think, worthy of credence.† As some of these were confirmed by what I heard from residents at Valdivia, and I have no doubt of their truth, I shall mention them without hesitation in the course of my narrative

8th February 1835

The forest is no where cleared away; the geological structure being evidently the same with that of the central parts of Chiloe, the external features are the same. We have everywhere on the coast bold rocky points, which more inland are covered up by Tertiary plains of different altitudes.

Captain Fitzroy’s Journal:
We anchored in the deceiving port of Valdivia. I say deceiving, because it offers to the eye ample space and the utmost security, while, in fact, the safe anchorage is very limited; so much mud and sand being brought down by the river that extensive banks are formed, and increase yearly. We were struck by the apparent strength of the fortresses, built originally by the Dutch in 1643, but improved and increased by the Spaniards. Now, however, their strength is but apparent; for a closer inspection shows that they are almost in ruins and the guns out of order; indeed so nearly disabled, that they could hardly fire a salute without danger. Around the port are high hills, completely covered with wood; and they attract clouds so much, that almost as great a quantity of rain falls there as on the western shores of Chilóe. Several rivers empty themselves at this one mouth, which is the only opening among hills that form a barrier between the ocean and an extensive tract of champaign country, reaching to the Cordillera of the Andes. The principal of these rivers are the Calla-calla and the Cruces; their tributaries are very numerous, few countries being better watered by running streams than that about Valdivia.

Syms Covington Journal:
Anchored in the Bay of Valdivia. The entrance to the bay is a very high bluff land; VALDIVIA has two forts, ONE fort on each side going up harbour, but now in ruins. The place for shipping is close by the southern battery, where THERE is also a small village. The town is distant from here about ten miles, higher up the river, the houses of which are chiefly built of the lercy (or pine cedar of the country). The population… including Spaniards, Creoles, native Americans and foreigners; of the former there are but few. The country here is one dense mountainous forest, part of the Cordillera. In our wanderings, we frequently met with cottages and small cultivated patches of land of the peasants.

7th February 1835

Captain Fitzroy’s Journal:
The day before arriving at Valdivia we had a strong northerly wind, with cold, rainy weather, though the glasses were high. Such an anomaly I have elsewhere noticed, especially in Tierra del Fuego; but any attempt to explain it must be deferred. Another singularity was the temperature of the ocean, not being higher than that near the Chonos Archipelago, and very little warmer than that of Magalhaens Strait: this fact will also be recurred to again

5th February 1835

Chonos Archipelago
We steered along the coast, but owing to thick weather did not reach Valdivia till the night of the 8th.

Captain Fitzroy’s Journal:
AT daylight on the 5th of February the Beagle sailed from Chilóe, and passed along the coast of southern Chile, towards the port of Valdivia. This is a bold and high tract of land, without a danger for shipping to avoid; but, at the same time, without a safe anchorage between the ports above-mentioned. Soundings extend some miles into the offing, though the water is deep. At two miles westward of this shore we usually found about forty fathoms water; at three miles about sixty, and at five miles from seventy to eighty or ninety fathoms, with a soft, sandy, or muddy bottom.
Whenever, as in this case, we were obliged to carry on the survey without landing, our observations for latitude — often those for time also — were made at the opposite points of the horizon, as well as in the usual manner, when land did not intervene, and the mean results taken as the most correct. In this way, it is probable that errors occasioned by refraction were in a considerable degree avoided.

4th February 1835

Chonos Archipelago
We sailed from P. Arena; but from dirty weather were obliged to return & anchor in English harbor. — In this last week I made some short excursions; one was to see a bed of oysters, out of which large forest trees were growing at an elevation of 350 feet. — Another was to P. Huechucucuy. I had with me a good Vaqueano, who pertinaciously told me the Indian name for every little point, rivulet & creek. In the same manner as in T. del Fuego, the Indian language appears singularly well adapted for attaching names to the most minute divisions of land.

I believe every one is glad to say farewell to Chiloe. Yet if we forget the gloom & ceaseless rain of winter, Chiloe might pass for a charming island. — There is also something very attractive in the simplicity & humble politeness of all the cottagers; when we look however to their morality, there is, as in the weather, a dark as well as bright point of view.

Captain Fitzroy’s Journal:
We remained till the 4th of February in the port of San Carlos. Mr. Darwin profited by the opportunity afforded to make an excursion into the interior of the island, while the surveying party were occupied in arranging data, in laying down chart-work, and in taking and calculating observations.