Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/557

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541
SEALING IN THE ANTARCTIC.

possession of them in 1833 and formed a colony which is now ruled by a governor and is also the see of a colonial bishopric. The colony at first was far from prosperous, but since 1885 the revenue has considerably exceeded the expenditure. During our stay at Port Stanley his Excellency the Governor honored our ships with a visit, as well as several of the residents of the settlement, and we are greatly indebted to his Excellency and Lady Golds worthy for the hospitality they showed us.

Early on Sunday morning we took leave of the Falkland Islands and steered for the ice, and on December 16th, in latitude 59° 18′ south, longitude 51° 01′ west, met the first iceberg—it was of enormous dimensions and tabular; a second was sighted in the evening. The same day we met myriads of cape pigeons, also many blue petrel and molly-hawks. The sea was literally swarming with whales of the finner kind, and their resounding blasts could be seen on all sides. So numerous were the cape pigeons, and so eager were they for any scraps thrown over the ship's side, that any number of them could have been caught with small hand-nets only large enough to contain one at a time, and many of them were thus captured by the crew. That night it became overcast and rainy, and at midnight a fog came on; fogs continued, with shorter intervals of clearer weather, during which intervals we were able to push southward for the next few days, and the weather was squally, the wind being from northeast, north, and northwest, varying in force from a light air to a moderate gale. After six days of this inhospitable weather, the wind on the afternoon of December 22d shifted more to the south, and the fog quickly lifted. On December 17th we met with the first seal—it was one of the larger kind which Ross described, nearly twelve feet long, having a bearlike head, with formidable canine teeth; it was curled up and asleep, and it was drifting by as we lay in the fog. It was promptly shot and brought aboard by a boat lowered away for the purpose. Several pieces of drift ice were seen on the 17th of December, and several bergs, nearly all flat-topped. On the evening of the 22d we first met with a flock of ten or a dozen of the beautiful sheathbill, and on the morning of the 23d sighted and passed the group of Danger Islets, lying off the extreme west of Joinville Land, which was lying behind them. The sea in the evening became of an olive-brown color, and we met with the snowy petrel, two indications which Ross noticed of the main pack being at hand. On the following evening three of the Dundee ships made fast to a very large floe. On Christmas day observations were taken, and it was found that we were a little south of Ross's position on New-Year's eve of the summer of 1843-'43—viz., latitude 64° 13′ south, longitude 55° 52 west, and where he says "great numbers of the largest-sized black