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Challenger at St. Paul's RocksAug. 29th.
Made fast to a rock in mid Atlantic. The depth betweeen S. Jago and these rocks of S. Paul is on the averge about 2 1/2 miles, and some magnificent specimens have been obtained in the Trawl net. We sighted these famous rocks on the 27th and have been here 2 days surveying and sounding round them.

When we first sighted them they looked like a Railway train rising out of the water, and at 6 PM we steamed close up to them and made the ship fast to one of the rocks by a hawser. There are seven distinct masses of rocks, and rocks such as I have never seen before, for all the world like rough pumice stone, and the edges as sharp as a knife, the whole surface of them would not cover a square acre in extent. They are 850 miles from the African, and 650 from the American continent, and are only 90 miles from the Equator. The sea all round them is 2 miles in depth, they only rise 60 feet out of the water, and as it breaks all over them, landing is very difficult.

There is not a particle of vegetation on them, and with the exception of thousands of sea birds, no animal life whatever, neither is there a drop of Fresh Water. They are out of the track of any ships, and as nothing is to be obtained, no vessel ever comes, the last known to call here was a man of war in 1845. The birds are called Boobies and are about the size of a Goose, but have very long sharp beaks & claws, they make no nest, but lay their eggs on the bare rock, and feed the young ones on Flying fish. The rocks are swarmed with them and are certainly their owners. When the boat first landed they were so tame that the men could knock them over with their sticks, but are much wilder now....

Yesterday was a grand holiday on board, and all who wished could land , & go fishing. Of course I went & stretched my legs, & also had the skin burnt off my neck by the great heat of the sun, but spent a pleasant afternoon in fishing and teazing the old birds, and should think am about the only Oakhamite who ever landed there. To-day the Boats are away sounding, and we sail to-night for the island of Fernando di Norhana, 400 miles distant.