Page:Darwin Journal of Researches.djvu/23

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.


JOURNAL.





CHAPTER I.

Porto Praya—Ribeira Grande—Atmospheric Dust with Infusoria—Habits of a Sea-slug and Cuttle-fish—St. Paul's Rocks, non-volcanic—Singular Incrustations—Insects the first Colonists of Islands—Fernando Noronha—Bahia—Burnished Rocks—Habits of a Diodon—Pelagic Confervæ and Infusoria—Causes of discoloured Sea.

ST. JAGO—CAPE DE VERD ISLANDS.

After having been twice driven back by heavy south-western gales, Her Majesty's ship Beagle, a ten-gun brig, under the command of Captain Fitz Roy, R.N., sailed from Devonport on the 27th of December, 1831. The object of the expedition was to complete the survey of Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego, commenced under Captain King in 1826 to 1830—to survey the shores of Chile, Peru, and of some islands in the Pacific—and to carry a chain of chronometrical measurements round the World. On the 6th of January we reached Teneriffe, but were prevented landing, by fears of our bringing the cholera: the next morning we saw the sun rise behind the rugged outline of the Grand Canary island, and suddenly illumine the Peak of Teneriffe, whilst the lower parts were veiled in fleecy clouds. This was the first of many delightful days never to be forgotten. On the 16th of January, 1832, we anchored at Porto Praya, in St. Jago, the chief island of the Cape de Verd archipelago.

The neighbourhood of Porto Praya, viewed from the sea, wears a desolate aspect. The volcanic fires of a past age, and the scorching heat of a tropical sun, have in most places rendered the soil unfit for vegetation. The country rises in successive

b