H.M.S. Beagle off the Galapagos


Charles Darwin and Captain Fitzroy share the evening air as a signal gun is fired to recall Beagle’s surveying party. Geoff Hunt writes: “I rather like this little nocturnal scene which I came across on reading the master’s logbook. Beagle was about to leave the Galapagos on 18th October, having already re-embarked Darwin’s party. But first she had to pick up one of the boats, the yawl, which had been detached on the 8th October under the command of the Master, Edward Chaffers, to survey the three small northern islands (so presumably this log was kept for that time by one of the Mates or the Master’s Assistant, Alexander Usborne). After sunset, the ship being hove-to off the northern end of Albemarle Island ‘… fired 2 Guns and hoisted a light as a signal to yawl….’ although in fact the rendezvous was not effected until 9:00 the following morning. That done, and all her business in the Galapagos being concluded, the Beagle ‘… Bore up and made all Sail’, bound for Tahiti.”

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