14 July 2008

In which the Americans give Darwin bad breath and good will.

You will all by now be familiar with this pic of HMS Beagle, and we cannot thank Dr Gordon Chancellor enough for his permission to use it. It shows HMS Beagle on 17th October 1835 off James Island in the Galapagos, heaving-to (the sailing equivalent of putting the handbrake on) to lower a boat to recover the shore party. Darwin and a few Beagle crew had landed on James Island on 8th October and his Beagle Diary shows spent the time playing CSI Galapagos:
(11 Oct) A few years since in this quiet spot the crew of a Sealing vessel murdered their Captain. We saw the skull lying in the bushes.
eating tortoise and...
(12th-16th) We all were busily employed during these days in collecting all sorts of Specimens.
However on October 12th:
The little well from which our water was procured was very close to the Beach: a long Swell from the Northward having set in, the surf broke over & spoiled the fresh water. — We should have been distressed if an American Whaler had not very kindly given us three casks of water (& made us a present of a bucket of Onions). Several times during the Voyage Americans have showed themselves at least as obliging, if not more so, than any of our Countrymen would have been. Their liberality moreover has always been offered in the most hearty manner.

I can only say the same of present day American support for the present day Project to build a replica.


Kevin Zelnio said...


Karen James said...

We do have our moments, don't we?