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.