No. IV.

A Narrative of the Voyages made by the Spanish Vessels Sutil and Mexicana, in the year 1792, to explore the Strait of Fuca. (Extracted from the Account of the Voyage published at Madrid in 1802.)

The two schooners Sutil and Mexicana quitted Nootka in the night between the 4th and 5th of June, 1792, and the following is an account of the progress of the expedition through the Strait of Juan de Fuca, translated from the Spanish narrative published at Madrid in 1802:

El viento cedió luego que salimos del canal que forma la entrada de Nutka, y siguió calmoso hasta las once de la manaña, que se entabló la virazon por el O.S.O. Fue refrescando en la tarde, y nosotros seguimos con toda vela, llegando á andar hasta siete millas por corredera, que es el mayor andar que advertimos en las goletas. De las cinco á las siete se fue quedando el viento, y al anochecer estabamos diez y seis millas al O. 10° N. de la entrada de Nitinat, y cinco millas de un islotillo que temamos por nuestro traves. The wind abated as soon as we left the channel which forms the inlet of Nootka, and it continued calm until 11 in the morning, when the sea-breeze set in from W.S.W. It freshened in the afternoon, and we proceeded with all sail, making as much as 7 miles by the log, which is the greatest way that we observed in the schooners. From 5 to 7 the wind continued, and at nightfall we were 16 miles W. 10° N. from the inlet of Nitinat, and 5 miles from a small islet which we had abreast of us.
Debiamos segun las circunstancias dirigirnos á adelantar el reconocimiento de la entrada de Juan de Fuca; por esta razon no nos detuvimos á examinar los puntos de la costa que temamos á la vista, y solo corrimos bases para colocar algunos, y rectificar la carta que de ella habian levantado los oficiales y pilotos del departamento de San Blas, cuyo por menor hallamos bueno. We were, according to circumstances, to employ ourselves in advancing the survey of the inlet of Juan de Fuca; for this reason we did not stop to examine the points of the coasts which we had in sight, and only ran bases to place some (of them) and to rectify the chart of it taken by the officers and pilots of the Department of San Blas, the detail of which we found good.
Seguimos navegando en la noche con toda vela al E. 5° S., con viento fresco por el O.S.O., en la confianza de que la claridad de la noche, que aumentó á las diez con la luz de la luna, nos proporcionaba toda seguridad; á las dos se quedó casi calma el viento, y amanecimos en estas circunstancias como media legua al S. E. de la punta E. de Ntinat, y á la vista de la boca del estrecho ó entrada de Juan de Fuca. We continued our course in the night with all sail to E. 5° S., with a fresh wind from W.S.W., trusting that the clearness of the night, which was increased at 10 o’clock by the light of the moon, would afford us every security; at 2 o’clock the wind was almost calm, and thus day broke upon us about half a league S.E. of the east point of Nitinat, and in sight of the mouth of the strait or inlet of Juan de Fuca.
Hasta las once siguió la calma; les corrientes nos respaldaron para dentro del Estrecho como una legua. * * *

The calm continued until 11 o’clock; the currents carried us about a league within the Strait.

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[Page 89]A las once se entabló el viento por el S.O.,y nos dirigimos al E.S.E. para atravesar la boca del Estrecho.

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At 11 the wind set in from S.W., and we proceeded E.S.E. to cross the mouth of the Strait. * *
A las cuatro de la tarde avistamos el Puerto de Nuñez Gaona, y poco despues una corbeta en su fondeadero, que conjeturamos ser la nombrada “Princesa,” perteneciente al Departamento de San Blas. Seguimos la derrota á costear la parte O. del puerto, y á poco llegó el Teniente de Navío Don Salvador Fidalgo, Comandante de dicha corbeta, y nos confirmó en la idea de que la costa O. del puerto era sucia, como lo indicaba el sargazo; la dejamos perdiendo barlovento, y á costa de algunos bordos conseguimos anclar á las seis y media de la tarde muy próximos á la “Princesa.” * * * At 4 in the afternoon we sighted the port of Nuñez Gaona, and soon after a corvette in its anchorage, which we supposed to be that called Princess, belonging to the Department of San Blas. We shaped our course to coast along the west part of the port, and in a short time Lieutenant Don Salvador Fidalgo, Commander of the said corvette, came on board, and he confirmed us in our opinion that the west coast of the port was foul, as the kelp indicated; we dropped away from it, losing the favourable wind, and, after some tacks, succeeded in anchoring, at half past 6 p. m., very close to the Princess. * *
Aunque el Alférez de Navío D. Manuel Quimper había reconocido hasta el Puerto de Quadra, y el Teniente de Navio Don Francisco Eliza hasta el Canal de nuestra Señora del Rosario en los años anteriores, no habian examinado las bocas de *Caamaño, de Flon, Seno de Gaston, Canal de Floridablanca, Bocas del Carmelo y de Mazarredo. Por las noticias que habian adquirido de los Indios, la de Caamaño internaba mucho, pero su fondo no permitia paso sino á las canoas; la de Flon era de muy poca consecüencia. Juzgaban, con alguna duda, cerrado el Seno de Gaston, y proponian como el reconocimiento mas interesante el de la Boca de Floridablanca, que segun se presentaba en la carta que habian trazado de estos canales, ofrecia dos entradas formadas por una isla colocada en su medianía, que despues de nuestro exámen se halló ser la Península de Cepeda y Lángara. El canal, segun habian comprehendido á los Indios, internaba mucho. * * *[42]

Although Sub-Lieutenant Don Manuel Quimper had surveyed as far as the port of Quadra, and Lieutenant Don Francisco Eliza as far as the Channel of Our Lady of the Rosary, in the preceding years, they had not examined the mouths of Caamaño, of Flon, Bay of Gaston, Channel of Floridablanca, mouths of Carmelo and of Mazarredo. From the information which they had obtained from the Indians, that of Caamaño went far inland, but its depth did not allow a passage except to canoes. That of Flon was of very little importance. They thought, though with some doubt, that the Bay of Gaston was closed; and they proposed, as the survey of most interest, that of the mouth of Floridablanca, which, as shown on the chart which they had drawn of those channels, presented two inlets formed by an island sit uated in its centre, which, after our examination, was found to be the peninsula of Cepeda and Lángara. The channel, as they had understood from the Indians, penetrated far. * * * *

Con tales noticias tratamos de internarnos para acabar de examinar el Seno de Gaston, y proceder al reconocimiento del Canal de Floridablanca, [Page 90] dejando los de Caamaño y Flon como de menos entidad, y mas propios para ser reconocidos en el caso, que creiamos probable, de haber de retroceder. La direccion del Canal de Caamaño hácia el Sur, y la probabilidad de que fuese á salir á la boca de Ezeta próxîma á los 46° 14′ de latitud, fué otra de las consideraciones que tuvimos presentes al adoptar este plan. With such information we thought of penetrating inwards to finish the examination of the Bay of Gaston, and to proceed to the survey of the Channel of Floridablanca, leaving those of Caamaño and Flon as of less importance, and more fitting to be surveyed in case of our having to fall back, which we thought probable. The direction of the Channel of Caamaño towards the south, and the probability of its issuing at the mouth of Ezeta, near 46° 14′ latitude, was another of the considerations which we had in mind when adopting this plan.
A las doce entró el viento flojo por el S. E.; el tiempo claro nos indicaba que en el canal reinaria el O. A las doce y media dimos la vela, y dirigimos á pasar por el pequeño canal que hay al E. de la isleta de la boca; lo que conseguimos con felicidad. Este canal es muy estrecho por las restingas que salen de las puntas que lo forman, y así solo debe seguirse cuando lo exija la necesidad, ó se vea en ello una ventaja decidida. A nosotros nos pareció que adelantábamos la navegacion, pues pensábamos seguir la costa sur del Estrecho, por estar llena de excelentes fondeaderos. * * * At 12 o’clock began a slack wind from S. E. The clear weather indicated that the W. would prevail in the channel. At half past 12 we made sail, and shaped our course to pass by the little channel which there is to the E. of the islet in the mouth. This channel is very narrow, on account of the reefs which issue from the points which form it, and, therefore, it ought only to be followed in a case of necessity, or if it appears decidedly advantageous. To us it appeared that we were advancing the navigation, for we thought of following the south coast of the strait, because it had plenty of excellent anchorages. *
Luego que salimos del canal, conocimos que la derrota que debia hacerse para internar en él era acercarse á la costa N., respecto de que en la que intentábamos seguir reinaba una perfecta calma. Cuando vimos el oleage que movia el viento fué preciso echar el bote al agua y armar los remos para salir á encontrarle. * * * As soon as we got out of the channel, we found that the course to be taken to get inwards was to approach the N. coast, because on that which we were trying to follow a perfect calm prevailed. When we saw the waves which were moved by the wind, it was necessary to launch the boat and ship the oars to go to meet them. * * *
Luego que salimos al viento fuimos dirigiéndonos á la costa del N., navegando al N. N. E. y arribando para el E. al paso que nos íbamos acercando á ella: á las once de la noche nos pusimos á costearla á distancia de una legua escasa, y seguimos con el viento al O. N. O., fresco con un tiempo claro y hermoso. As soon as we got out into the wind, we shaped our course to the N. coast, navigating to N. N. E. and bearing for E. as we were getting near to it. At 11 at night we began to coast along it at the distance of a short league, and we went on with the wind fresh from W. N. W., the weather calm and fine.
Amanecimos cerca de la Punta de Moreno de la Vega, y orzamos á pasar por entre ella y los islotes que tiene en su cercanía: derrota que indicaba Tetacus, y que recomendaban mucho los que habian [Page 91]navegado en este Estrecho. Verificado este paso, abonanzó el viento, y seguimos con ventolinas del O. al S. toda la mañana. * * * Day broke upon us near the Point of Moreno de la Vega, and we luffed to pass between it and the islands in its vicinity—a route pointed out by Tetacus, and much recommended by those who had navigated in this strait. This passage having been made, the wind went down, and we proceeded with light breezes from W. to S. all the morning. * * *
Nos dirigimos al puerto de Córdoba, donde Tetacus indicaba debia quedarse, y á que daba el nombre Chachimutupusas. Tetacus habia dormido con sosiego toda la noche, no desmintiendo jamas su franqueza y confianza; daba su trato continuas pruebas de su fácil comprehension; conocia en la carta la configuracion del estrecho é islas descubiertas, y nos dijo los nombres que él les daba. Doblada la Punta de Moreno de la Vega nos advirtió hiciésemos allí agua que era rica y abundante, porque pasado aquel sitiolos manantiales *eran escasos y el agua de mal sabor. Comia con aseo de cuanto le daban, imitando en todo nuestras acciones, que observaba siempre cuidadosamente. Se acordaba de los nombres de todos los capitanes Ingleses y Españoles que han visitado la costa de tierra-firme y archipiélagos de Claucuad y Nutka, y aun nos dió noticia de que habia dos embarcaciones grandes dentro del Estrecho.[43] We steered for the port of Cordova, where Tetacus said he was to stay, and to which he gave the name of Chachimutupusas. Tetacus had slept quietly all night, never belying his frankness and confidence; his behaviour gave continual proofs of his easy comprehension; he understood on the chart the configuration of the strait and the islands discovered, and he told us the names which he gave them. When the Point of Moreno de la Vega was doubled he advised us to take water there, as it was excellent and abundant, but after passing that place the springs were scanty, and the water of bad taste. He ate what was given to him with decency, imitating our actions, which he always carefully observed in all things. He remembered the names of all the English and Spanish captains who had visited the coast of the mainland and the archipelagos of Claucuad and Nootka, and he also informed us that there were two large vessels within the strait.
Cuando nos hallábamos cerca de la rada de Eliza se acereáron á bordo de la “Mexicana” tres canoas con cuatro ó cinco Indios cada una, pero sin querer atracar al costado. When we were near the roadstead of Eliza, three canoes approached the Mexicana, with four of five Indians in each, but without wanting to come alongside. * * *
A las once de la mañana conseguimos tomar el puerto de Córdoba, y anclamos en seis brazas de agua, suelo arena, en la parte del S. del fondeadero. * * * Se despidió Tetacus de nosotros con la mayor cordialidad y se fue á tierra. * * At 11 in the morning we succeeded in making the port of Cordova, and we anchored in six fathoms of water, sandy bottom, in the southern part of the anchorage * * * Tetacus took leave of us with the greatest cordiality, and went ashore. * *
Por la tarde estuvimos en tierra visitando las rancherías de Tetacus, donde habia como cincuenta Indios. * * * Tetacus mostraba la mayor amistad á sus huespedes * * * y nos retiramos á bordo muy satisfechos. Por la noche hubo suma quietud en el puerto, y nosostros tuvimos la vigilancia que pedia el evitar una ocasión de desgracia. * In the afternoon we landed and visited the huts of Tetacus, where there were about fifty Indians. * * Tetacus was exceedingly friendly to his guests * * * and we returned on board very well satisfied. At night it was perfectly quiet in the port, and we exercised such vigilance as was necessary to prevent any chance of misadventure. *

[Page 92]El puerto de Córdoba es hermoso.

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The port of Cordova is beautiful.

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En este puerto fué donde la goleta “Saturnina” tuvo que cañonear las canoas de los habitantes para defender la lancha del paquebot San Carlos, que venia en su conserva, y de la que obstinadamente querian apoderarse. It was in this port that the schooner Saturnina had to fire upon the canoes of the inhabitants to defend the launch of the packet-boat San Carlos, which came in her company, and of which they obstinately endeavoured to get possession.
Como el tiempo nos habia favorecido para que determinasemos en el dia la latitud y longitud del puerto, nos levamos á las tres de la madrugada con la marea saliente. Desde las ocho de la mañana empezamos á gozar de la virazon, que entró bonancible por el S.S.O. Nos dirigimos á la medianía del canal para tener el viento en toda su fuerza y buscar las Islas de Bonilla, que son una buena marca para la derrota. Pasamos algunos escarceos muy fuertes de las corrientes, y avistadas las islas nos dirigimos á ellas, dejandolas por estribor. A las cinco de la tarde, que empezó á quedarse el viento, atracamos la punta S.E. de la Isla de San Juan para dar fondo á la parte E. de ella, lo que conseguimos á las nueve de lanoche. As the weather had been so favourable as to enable us to determine the latitude and longitude of the port in the day time, we weighed at 3 in the morning with the tide going out. From 8 in the morning we began to enjoy the breeze which sprung up lightly from S.S.W. We steered for the middle of the channel to have the wind in all its force, and to seek the Islands of Bonilla, which are a good mark for the course. We passed some very strong races, and, having sighted the islands, we made for them and left them on the starboard hand. At 5 in the afternoon, when the wind began to fail, we neared the S.E. point of the Island of San Juan, in order to cast anchor at its eastern part, which we effected at 9 at night.
El objeto principal de tomar este ancladero era para observer en él una emersion del primer satelite de Jupiter. * * * The principal object of taking this anchorage was to observe there an emersion of the chief satellite of Jupiter. * * *
Al fondear estaba la marea parada; se examinó su fuerza, y nunca pasó de una milla y media por hora en direccion al S.S.E. hasta las tres y media, y á esta hora cambió para adentro. Subió el agua de ocho á nueve pies. On anchoring, the tide was at the slack; its force was examined, and it never exceeded a mile and a half an hour in the direction of S.S.E., until half past 3, when it changed for the direction inwards. The water rose from 8 to 9 feet.
A las siete de la mañana se dejó sentir una ventolina por el S.S.E.; con ella dimos la vela para aprovechar lo restante de la marea favorable; el cielo estaba nublado, y el horizonte apenas era de una milla. Ceñimos el viento para atravesar á la costa del E., no solo para seguirla y no perder la boca del Canal de Güemes, que va por entre la isla de este nombre y la costa, sino también para montar los islotes que hay ála medianía del can al en que estábamos, y sobre los que nos respaldaba a corriente con rapidez. A proporcion [Page 93]que fuimos saliendo á la medianía fue tesando y alargándose la ventolina: arribamos al paso que nos acercábamos á la costa del E., y costeamos las dos Islas Morros con el auxilio de la virazon que apuntó por el S. desde las ocho de la mañana, despejando el cielo. Llegamos á la punta S.O. del Canal de Güemes, y entramos en él, navegando al principio á medio *freo para libertarnos de la calma de la costa; pero ya dentro tomó el viento su direccion, y nos acercamos á la del Sur para libertarnos de la fuerza de la corriente contraria, que sempre contrarestamos con mucha ventaja, pues aunque el viento estaba flojo, andábamos tres millas y media por hora. La navegacion era muy agradable, por lo frondoso de la costas. En la del N., que á la entrada es de playa, vimos una rancheria próxîma á la punta N.O., que examinada con el anteojo se halló consistir en dos casas grandes; varios Indios corriéron á la playa, se embarcáron en una canoa, y se dirigieron á las goletas, dándoles caza con tanto acierto como pudiera hacerlo el mas experto marino. * * * Entre tanto seguimos la costa del Sur del canal por cinco brazas de agua fondo arena hasta la punta S. E., y desde esta lo atravesamos dirigiéndonos á la punto tajada del N. E., de la que pasamos á muy corta distancia para seguir la costa de la Isla de Güemes, y por ella y las “Tres Hermanas” dirigirnos al Seno de Gaston.[44] At 7 in the morning a breeze was felt from S.S.E.; with it we set sail to avail ourselves of the remainder of the favourable tide; the sky was cloudy, and the horizon scarcely a mile. We hugged the wind to cross to the east coast, not only in order to follow it and not to lose the mouth of the channel of Güemes, which runs between the island of that name and the coast, but also to double the islets which are in the middle of the channel in which we were, and upon which the current was driving us with rapidity. In proportion as we were getting into mid-channel the breeze freshened and veered aft; we bore away whilst we neared the eastern coast, and we coasted along the two Morros Islands with the aid of the breeze, which was direct S. from 8 in the morning, and cleared the sky. We reached the S.W. point of the channel of Güemes, and we entered it, navigating at first in mid-channel to avoid the calm of the coast; but when within, the wind took its direction, and we neared that of the S. to avoid the force of the contrary current, which we always resisted with great advantage, for although the wind was slack we went three miles and a half an hour. The navigation was very pleasant from the woodiness of the coasts. On that of the N., which at the entrance is a beach, we saw a station near the N.W. point, which, on being examined with a telescope, was seen to consist of two large houses; several Indians ran to the beach, embarked in a canoe, and made for the schooners, giving them chase with as much skill as the most expert seaman. * * * Meanwhile we followed the south coast of the channel in five fathoms of water, sandy bottom, to the S.E. point, and from that we crossed it towards the N.E. point, from which we passed at a very short distance to follow the coast of the Island of Güemes, and by that and the “Three Sisters” to make for the Bay of Gaston.
Luego que doblamos la punta N. E. quedamos en calma, y fué necesario acudir á los remos para verificar el paso, contrarestando algunas ventolinas escasas del O.S.O que se oponian; pero luego que pasamos las islas, llamó el viento al O. y ceñimos abiertos por babor para montar la Punta de Solano. El calor incomodaba mucho, pues aunque el termómetro á la sombra estaba en la graduacion templada, expuesto al sol subia hasta veinte y nueve grados y medio, y aun hubiera [Page 94]subido mas si no hubiéramos salida á encontrar la corriente del viento. As soon as we doubled the N.E. point we were becalmed, and it was necessary to resort to the oars to make the passage, resisting some scanty breezes from W.S.W. which opposed us; but as soon as we passed the islands the wind veered to the W., and we hauled free to port to double the Point of Solano. The heat was very distressing, for, although the thermometer in the shade was at the temperate degree, when exposed to the sun it rose to 29½ degrees, and would even have risen higher if we had not gone out to meet the current of the wind.
A las cinco entabló este por el S.; hicimos rumbo, y nos internamos en el Seno de Gaston, que aunque no estaba del todo reconocido, costeamos su parte E. para dirigirnos á su fondo, y ver si tenia en él algun canal. El viento fué refrescando, y favorecidos de él, estábamos al anochecer satisfechos de que, cuando mas, habria un rio pequeño en su parte interior. La costa que lo formaba era de tierra baja y anegadiza, que corria por entre dos lomas, y á alguna distancia aparentaban canal; el fondo era de seis á siete brazas, piedra, y pensábamos bordear para echarnos fuera, cuando caimos en cinco greda dura, por lo que se prefirió fondear contando, como hasta entonces habiamos visto, que el viento se quedaria en la noche. La situacion era buena para dejar caer el ancla, y poder reconocer mas prolijamente la parte interior de la ensenada en la mañana siguiente. Aferramos todo aparejo, avisó el timonel de la Sutil de cuatro brazas de fondo, y se dejó caer el ancla; pero despues de arriar treinta brazas de cable, se halló la goleta en dos y media de agua. At 5 o’clock the wind settled from the S.; we made our course, and we went into the Bay of Gaston. Although it was not at all surveyed, we coasted along its eastern part, in order to make for its extremity, and to see if there was any channel in it. The wind still freshened, and, favoured thereby, we were by nightfall satisfied that it could have, at most, but a small river in its inner part. The coast which formed it was of low, inundated land, which ran between two hillocks, and at some distance they appeared to be a channel. The depth was from 6 to 7 fathoms, stony, and we were about to tack to get out, when we fell into 5 fathoms hard chalk, wherefore it was thought best to anchor, reckoning, as we had found until then, that the wind would continue in the night. The situation was favourable for casting anchor and for examining more carefully the inner part of the inlet on the following morning. We made all fast, the steersman of the Sutil notified 4 fathoms depth, and the anchor was dropped, but, after paying out 30 fathoms of cable, the schooner was found to be in 2 and a half fathoms of water.
Inmediatamente mandó el Comandante sondar por la popa y las aletas; á dos cables de distancia si halláron dos brazas, y se conoció que el ancla habia caido en tres. Esta equivocacion del timonel nos puso en muy mala situacion. Se pasó la noche con cuidado, y durante toda ella vació el agua, de suerte que al amanecer estábamos en una braza y media. Habiamos visto claridades al S.E. de la montaña del Carmelo, y aun á veces algunas llamaradas, señales que no dejáron duda que hay volcanos con fuertes erupciones en aquellas cercanías. La Mejicana habia fondeado como dos cables mas al O., y en media braza menos de agua; el [Page 95]viento, que habia soplado en la noche bastante fresco por el S.S.E., habia levantado alguna marejada, con lo que empezó á tocar de popa. Dió una espía inmediatemente con su lancha, y sobre ella trató de dar la vela sin largar el cabo hasta estar en viento. *Entre tanto la Sutil se llamó á pique del ancla, y se halló en dos brazas de agua; se estaba metiendo el bote para dar la vela quando avertimos que la Mejicana habia varado, por lo que se volvió á éch ar fuera, y se le envió para auxîliarla. Habia tenido aquella goleta la desgracia de venirsele el anclote, que habia dado con la espía, y se hallaba muy expuesta á dar un bandazo, siendo preciso á la gente hacer palanca con los remos para evitar este desastre. A la Sutil tambien se le vino el ancla en el instante de dar la vela, y por pronto que se acudió con el aparejo, varó en seis pies escasos de agua; pero tomadas las debidas providencias, al cabo de una hora saliéron las dos á flote.[45] The commander immediately ordered soundings at the stern and the quarters; at two cables distance two fathoms were found, and it was ascertained that the anchor had fallen in three. This mistake of the steersman placed us in a very awkward situation. The night was passed with anxiety, and during the whole of it the water decreased, so that at daybreak we were in a fathom and a half. We had seen illuminations to the S.E. of the mountain of Carmelo, and even some flashes at times, indications which left no doubt that there are volcanoes with strong eruptions in those parts. The Mexicana had anchored about two cables more to the W., and in half a fathom less water; the wind, which had blown pretty freshly in the night from S.S.E., had raised a swell, with which it began to touch at the stern. She immediately gave out a warp with her launch, and upon that set about hoisting sail without loosing the rope until meeting the wind. Meanwhile the Sutil was shortening in her cable, and was found to be in two fathoms water; we were hoisting in the boat in order to set sail, when we noticed that the Mexicana had grounded; it was, therefore, got out again and sent to her assistance. That schooner had had the misfortune to drag home the stream anchor, which she had cast with the warp, and was in great danger of going over, so that it was necessary for the men to prop her with the oars to prevent such a disaster. The Sutil also dragged home her anchor at the moment of setting sail, and quickly as the tackle was resorted to she grounded in a scanty six feet of water; but, all due means having been applied, at the end of an hour both vessels were afloat.
Inmediatamente se procedió á disponer los buques para dar la vela y continuar la navegacion, y á las ocho y media de la mañana ya estaban bordeando con el viento fresco del S.S.E. para echarse fuera del Seno de Gaston, sin experimentar que hiciesen agua alguna, aunque habian dado muchos golpes en el fondo. Preparations were immediately made for the vessels to set sail and continue the navigation, and at half past 8 in the morning they were tacking with a fresh S.S.E. wind to get out of the Bay of Gaston, and it was not found that they made any water, although they had frequently struck the bottom.
Despues de varios bordos montáron las puntas S. y O. del Seno de Gaston á las cuatro de la tarde, y entráron por el Canal de Pacheco; siguiéron por medio freo, cediendo algo el viento, y tomando la dirección del mismo canal, luego que entráron en él. Despues de salir del canal, en la Ensenada de Lara, vimos dos embarcaciones menores, la una con aparejo de místico, y la otra con vela redonda, que seguian la costa hácia el N. No dudamos que pertenecerian á los dos buques Ingleses que estaban en el Estrecho, [Page 96]segun las noticias de nuestro amigo Tetacus. Seguimos sin variar de rumbo, pensando navegar toda la noche con poca vela, y amanecer sobre la Punta de San Rafael para estar al principio del dia en la boca de Floridablanca, é internarnos en ella á verificar desde luego su reconocimiento que, como se ha dicho, teniamos motivo para creer fuese muy interesante. Atravesamos de diez á doce de la noche la Ensenada del Garzon, viendo luces dentro de ella, que nos indicáron que los buques á que pertenecian las embarcaciones menores estaban en aquel fondeadero. After various tacks they doubled the S. and W. points of the Bay of Gaston at 4 in the afternoon, and made for the Channel of Pacheco; they proceeded by mid-channel, the wind somewhat abating, and taking the direction of the channel itself as soon as they entered it. After leaving the channel, in the Creek of Lara, we saw two smaller boats, one with sliding sail-rigging, the other with square sail, which were following the coast toward the N. We had no doubt that they belonged to the two English vessels which were in the Strait, according to the information of our friend Tetacus. We went on without changing course, thinking to navigate all night with little sail and to be off the Point of San Rafael at daybreak, so as to get to the mouth of Floridablanca early in the morning, to go within and to make the survey at once, which, as has been said, we had reason to believe would be very interesting. From 10 to 12 at night we crossed the Creek del Garzon, and saw lights within it which indicated that the vessels to which the smaller boats belonged were in that anchorage.
El viento, que veló fresco toda la noche, hizo cumplieramos la distancia hasta cerca de la Punta de San Rafael á la una de ella. Ceñimos con las gavias arraidas de la vuelta de fuera, y á las dos de la mañana viramos de la de dentro, sondando á poco tiempo en siete brazas de fondo; volvimos á tomar la vuelta de fuera, y continuó disminuyendo el fondo hasta cinco brazas arena. En esta situacion pareció oportuno dejar caer el ancla por no empeñarse de noche en buscar la salida, ni ser prudente el continuar hácia la boca sin tener de ella mas seguro conocimiento. The wind, which kept fresh all night, enabled us to make the distance to near the Point of San Rafael by 1 o’clock. We stood outward with reefed topsails; and at 2 in the morning we veered inward, sounding soon in seven fathoms deep; we again stood outward, and the depth continued decreasing to five fathoms sand. In this situation it appeared fitting to cast anchor, so as not to run any risk in seeking the outlet at night, and as it was not prudent to continue near the mouth without having more certain knowledge of it.
Fondeamos, y con las primeras luces del dia vimos que estábamos á medio canal, en la enfilacion de Punta de San Rafael con la punta E. de la Península de Cepeda. We anchored, and with the first light of day we saw that we were in mid-channel, in a line with the Point of San Rafael, and the East point of the Peninsula of Cepeda.
*Relacion del Viage hecho por las Goletas Sutil y Mexicana en el Año de 1792, &c.[46] A reference to the voyage of Sub-lieutenant Don Manuel Quimper, in 1790, to the Strait of Fuca, extracted from Chapter I of the Narrative of the Voyage of the Sutil and Mexicana, in 1792.
La noticia confusa del reconocimiento hecho en 1592 por el piloto Griego Juan de Fuca del canal de su nombre, era la única que teniamos hasta el año de 1789. Hallándose en Nutka el Alférez de Navío [Page 97]Don Estéban Martinez, despues de haber tomado posesion de este puerto en nombre de Su Magestad, recordó que en 1774, de vuelta de su expedicion al Norte, le habia parecido ver una entrada muy ancha por los 48° 20′ de latitud. Creyendo que pudiese ser la de Fuca, commisionó un segundo piloto mandando la goleta Gertrudis para que se cerciorase de si exista ó no dicha entrada; en efecto el piloto volvió diciendo la habia hallado de veinte y una milas de ancho, y cuya mediania estaba en 48° 30′ de latitud, y 19° 28′ al O. de San Blas. The confused account of the examination made in 1592 by the Creek pilot John de Fuca, of the channel which bears his name, was the only one we had up to the year 1789. Sub-lieutenant (Alférez de Navío) Don Esteban Martinez, being at Nootka, after having taken possession of that port in the name of Her Majesty, stated that, in 1774, in returning from his expedition to the north, he thought he saw a very wide entrance at 48° 20′ latitude. Believing that it might be that of Fuca, he directed a second mate (piloto) in command of the schooner Gertrudis to ascertain whether that entrance existed or not. The mate returned, saying that he had found it to be twenty-one miles wide, and its center in 48° 30′ latitude, 19° 28′ west of San Blas.
Pasadas estas noticias á la superioridad, tuvo orden el Teniente de Navío Don Francisco Eliza en el año de 1790 para hacer practicar un reconocimiento prolixo de esta entrada. Destinó á esta fin al Alférez de la misma clase Don Manuel Quimper, mandando la balandra la Princesa Real. Este oficial se hizo á la vela del puerto de Nutka el 31 de Mayo, reconoció el puerto de Claucaud, se internó despues en el canal de Fuca, visitó algunos puertos y parte de la costa, levantó sus planos, y se retiró el 1 de Agosto, no habiéndole permitido los tiempos el continuar los trabajos. These accounts having been sent on to the authorities, Lieutenant Don Francisco Eliza received orders in the year 1790 to have a minute survey made of that entrance. He appointed Sub - lieutenant Don Manuel Quimper, who commanded the sloop Princesa Real, for that purpose. The said officer sailed from the port of Nootka on the 31st of May, examined the port of Claucaud, afterwards penetrated the channel of Fuca, surveyed some ports and part of the coast, drew plans of them, and retired on the 1st of August, the weather not having allowed him to continue his labors.
Al año siguiente recibió Eliza órdenes del virey de Nueva España para llevar á su fin el reconocimiento ya empezado, y que causaba la curiosidad de los geógrafos. Dicho oficial salió de Nutka mandando el paquebot San Cárlos y goleta Horcasitas, con la intencion de elevarse á los 60° de latitud, y descender exâminando la costa hasta el canal de Fuca, é interiorizarse en él para reconocerlo completeamente; pero no permitiéndole los vientos en muchos dias el ganar al norte, resolvió empezar los reconocimientos por los 48°, y envocó el canal el dia 27 de Mayo. Permaneció en él hasta el 7 de Agosto, en que se vio precisado á retirarse por tener ya escorbútica parte de su tripulacion, y carecer [Page 98]de dietas para suministrarle. En este tiempo hiza levantar planos de algunos puertos, y exâminar un trozo de la costa al piloto Don Joseph Narvaez, no pudiendo verificarlo por sí á causa de haber caido enfermo. In the following year Eliza received orders from the viceroy of New Spain to complete the examination already begun, and which excited the curiosity of geographers. That officer left Nootka in command of the packet San Carlos and the schooner Horcasitas, intending to go up to 60° latitude, and to come down and examine the coast to the channel of Fuca, then to enter therein to examine it completely; but the wind not allowing him for many days to get to the north, he determined to begin his examinations at 48°, and entered the channel on the 27th of May. He remained in it till the 7th of August, when he found himself obliged to retire because part of his crew had the scurvy, and he had not the necessary diet for them. During this time he caused plans to be made of some of the ports, and had part of the coast examined by the mate, Don Joseph Narvaez, being unable to do it himself because he had fallen sick.
De vuelta á Nutka escribió al virey de Nueva España las resultas de su viage, y despues de otras reflexîones dice: “Asegurando á V. E. que el paso al océano que con tanto anhelo buscan sobre esta costa las naciones extrangeras, si es que lo hay, me parece no hallarse por otra parte que por este gran canal.” On his return to Nootka he wrote the results of his voyage to the viceroy of New Spain, and, after other remarks, he said: “Assuring your excellency that the passage to the ocean which foreign nations seek for so eagerly on this coast, if there be one, will not be found, as it appears to me, elsewhere than by this great channel.”