National Geographic : 1897 May
WINTER VOYAGE THROUGH STRAITS OF MAGELLAN 141 attempt to leave. Some of the officers seemed dubious of the Narragansett'sability to clear the strait, but the captain con cluded to take the chances, and at noon Cape Pillar was in sight on the port bow. With a full head of steam and the fore-and-aft canvas the ship made good way, and at 2 o'clock passed out of the strait and steered directly west for an offing. But both the wind and sea were now rapidly rising. At dark it was blowing a furious gale from the W.S.W., with one of the most tremendous rolling seas I ever saw. No chance to run back or find an anchorage in such weather as this. At times the squalls of wind, sleet, and rain were so thick that we could not see a ship's length. There was nothing to do now but to '' claw off" shore under every inch of storm canvas the vessel could carry, and trust to the engines to help us to gain an offing. At 8 o'clock that night the hatches fore and aft were securely battened down, and the lee rail of the ship was under water as she struggled under sail and steam against the storm and sea. Dimly visible astern, through the furious driving squalls, was Cape Pillar, eight miles distant. On the lee beam were the black rocks of Los Apostoles, the ship drifting slowly southward in dangerous proximity to them. The wind veered constantly from point to point, and the squalls came with blinding and terrific force; but everything held well, and the Providence which watches over " poor Jack " sent us a slant of wind which enabled us to make an offing during that dark, dismal, and anxious night. For eight long days and nights this state of things continued, the ship vainly struggling to get to the westward, the squalls of sleet and snow never continuing long enough from southwest to enable the vessel to get north at all. On the eighth day the vessel was nearly as far south as the parallel of Cape Horn, with a fair prospect of being driven round the cape altogether. There were but a few tons of coal left, and the ship was still 1,200 miles from Valparaiso. Affairs looked blue. Many of the men were worn out, exhausted by cold and fatigue; several of the officers were in the same condition. But all ill fortune, as all good fortune, must at some period come to an end, and so it happened that the next day the wind shifted to the south, and with strong and favoring gales the old ship went rapidly north under a press of canvas, and in ten days was safely anchored in the harbor of Valparaiso. And so ended the Narragansett'swinter voyage through the Straits of Magellan.