Page:Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London, Volume 1 (2nd edition).djvu/86

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60
On the Columbretes.

three fathoms depth. I was told, by a fisherman of Valencia. that fresh water might be obtained in small quantities, but we found none. By observations taken on Monte Colibre, the latitude of the station was in 39° 53′ 58″ N., the longitude 0° 44′ 27″ E. of Greenwich, and the magnetic variation was 17° 41′ W., in 1823.

Monte Colibre, or the north hill, is of so rounded a form as to assume the bell-shaped disposition incident to its affinities; a declivity dips from thence towards the middle of the island, from which there is a gradual ascent to a hilly hummock ou the south, giving the whole the appearance known to seamen as saddled. These hills are covered with an exuberance of dwarf olives, geraniums, prickly pears, myrtles, and brushwood; but every other part exhibits lavas, obsidian, and scoriae, as obdurate as if the fires to which they owe their origin had been but lately extinguished. A few rabbits were seen, and the margin abounded with crabs and other shell-fish; but what excited the greatest surprise, and indeed is very remarkable, was, that the seamen were actually impeded in their progress with the instruments, by the number of snakes which infested the whole space. They were generally between two and three feet long, finely striated with dark zig-zag lines, on a bright yellow ground, blending whiter at the belly, and of great beauty.

At the south point of Port Tosiňo are two high conical rocks of vitreous trachyte, which, to preserve Coronelli's term, I called Mammeolibre. They appear to have formed part of the continuation of the crater, from which the eastern portion has either been worn away by erosion, or has disappeared by subsidence; for there can be little doubt of its having been a complete cone when this spot was the theatre of burning eruptions. Indeed, the encroaching and destroying action of the sea is everywhere strongly attested by the figure of the shattered relics; and the overhanging precipices, with the shadows cast by a fervid sun over cavernous cliffs, enriched with the protruding faces, and surmounted by parallel strata of porphyritic conglomerate of various hues, heighten the effect of a scene which is splendid and characteristic, notwithstanding that the expanded horizon renders the foreground somewhat diminutive.

About a mile to the westward of Monte Colibre is a group of rugged rocks, of which Malaspina, the largest, is saddled in form, but of a bold and various surface; while the gentle inclination of its external flanks, as well as those of its neighbour Bauza, together with the scarped faces of their interior cliffs to the northward, gives them also the aspect of the rent cone of a former volcano,—perhaps a parasite of the larger one.

Bearing S. 16° W., and distant three nautical miles from the