National Geographic : 1891 May 29
The earliest Explorations. cumnavigated the globe. These French frigates were the first to cruise off Yakutat bay. The last vessel to navigate those waters was the United States revenue steamer Corwin, which took our little exploring party on board in September, 1890, and then steamed northward to the ice-cliffs at the head of Disenchant ment bay. So far as I am aware, the Corwin is the only vessel that has floated on the waters of that inlet north of Haenke island. One hundred years has made a revolution in naval architecture, but has left this portion of the Alaska coast still unexplored. La Perouse sailed northward from the Sandwich islands, and first saw land, which proved to be a portion of the St. Elias range, on June 23. At first the shore was obscured by fog, which, as stated in the narrative of the voyage, " suddenly dis appearing, all at once disclosed to us a long chain of mountains covered with snow, which, if the weather had been clear, we would have been able to have seen thirty leagues farther off. We discovered Bering's Mount Saint Elias, the summit of which appeared above the clouds." The first view of the land is described as not awakening the feelings of joy which usually accompany the first view of an unknown shore after a long voyage. To quote the navigator's own words: "Those immense heaps of snow, which covered a barren land without trees, were far from agreeable to our view. The mountains appeared a little remote from the sea, which broke against a bold and level land, elevated about a hundred and fifty or two hundred fathoms. This black rock, which appeared as if calcined by fire, destitute of all verdure, formed a striking contrast to the whiteness of the snow, which was perceptible through the clouds; it served as the base to a long ridge of mountains, which appeared to stretch fifteen leagues from east to west. At first we thought ourselves very near it, the summit of the mountains appeared to be just over our heads, and the snow cast forth a brightness calculated to deceive eyes not accustomed to it; but in proportion as we advanced we perceived in front of the high ground hillocks covered with trees, which we took for islands." After some delay, on account of foggy weather, an officer was despatched to the newly discovered land; but on returning he re ported that there was no suitable anchorage to be found. It is difficult at this time to understand the reason for this adverse report, unless a landing was attempted on the western side of Yakutat bay, where there are no harbors.
1892 Feb 19