Darwin's Journey By Haney

Things Darwin Discovered while at the Galapagos

On the morning of 27 December 1831, H.M.S. Beagle, with a crew of seventy-three men, sailed out of Plymouth harbor. Darwin became seasick almost immediately.

The Beagle arrived near Madeira Island, its first port-of-call, on 4 January 1832. Unfortunately a westerly squall prevented the ship from making port. Darwin took little notice of this turn of events, as he was too ill to even leave his cabin.

Darwin made detailed observations of a cuttle-fish that populated the tide pools around the island, and was fascinated by their ability to change colors.

The Beagle crossed the equator on 16 February and arrived four days later at the island of Fernando de Noronha where they stayed only a few hours

Crabs were founded everywhere.

On 28 February the Beagle arrived at Salvador (Bahia), Brazil, and anchored in All Saints Bay. Darwin spent a few days exploring the tropical rain forests on long walks, taking in the rich magnificence of nature.

On 18 March the Beagle set out from All Saints Bay and spent the next two weeks doing sounding measurements at the hazardous Abrolhos Shoals. During this survey Darwin made observations of microscopic tube-like "animals" that colored the ocean surface brown.

On 24 December H.M.S. Beagle was off Cape Spencer at Hermit Island, and later in the day the ship moved to St. Francis Bay.

The Beagle spent the next few weeks out at sea waiting out a series of violent storms (see map, above). Capt. FitzRoy tried to enter the Beagle Channel on 13 January 1833, but the winds were so fierce that it was impossible to do so. Bringing the Beagle into the Channel was a risk Capt. FitzRoy was not willing to take, so the next day they crossed Nassau Bay ("N" on map, above) and anchored at Windhond Bay ("W" on map, above) where the Beagle would be safe from the elements.


Two days later Capt. FitzRoy tried again for the Beagle Channel, but to no avail. Undaunted by this setback, FitzRoy remained determined to get his Fuegians home again. They left Windhond Bay, and spent the next few days loading. On 18 January 1833 Capt. FitzRoy took the three Fuegians, twenty-eight members of the crew, and Darwin, in the four boats down the Beagle Channel ("B" on map, below).

In the afternoon they headed into the eastern side of the Channel, and in a short time found a small cove hidden by a few little islets and camped there for the night. The next day they glided along the Beagle Channel under the watchful eyes of native Fuegians on shore. At their next camp the crew met with several natives who begged endlessly for the most trifling objects. Over the next few days they continued along the channel and camped near the northern point of Ponsonby Sound ("P" on map, above). The next morning several natives came to their camp, all of whom were very excited to see the strange "pale people" who have visited their land.

While searching for fossils along the shore of Punta Alta, Darwin came across a very interesting find. He uncovered the complete fossil of a very large animal which he could not identify at all (it turned out to be a giant ground sloth). What struck Darwin as very odd was that this fossil was imbedded in a cliff face below a layer of white sea shells, similar to the layer he found on the island of Santiago the year before.

At last Darwin heard that the Beagle was anchored in Port Belgrano, near Bahia Blanca, and rode out to meet the ship there.

After several small stops, the began their work again, sailing down and around South America.


H.M.S. Beagle arrived at Callao, outside of Lima Peru on the 19th. Darwin looked around the city and was shocked at the state of decay all around him (poor looking dwellings, litter, dirty roads, etc…). He explored some old Indian ruins outside the city and mentioned exploring San Lorenzo Island's terraces with shell layers intact (off the coast of Bellavista). The next few weeks were spent taking on provisions for the trip across the Pacific ocean.

The Blonde reached Callao Bay on August 9th and met up with the Beagle.

Over the next few days the Beagle sailed around to the eastern side of Chatham and then surveyed southward along the coast.

The next day was spent surveying the waters around Charles Island. Darwin went on shore and also examined a few curious lava chimneys. During his stay on the island Darwin was informed that one can tell which island a tortoise came from by looking at it's shell.

For several months he gathered plants, animals, and information. He discovered many breakthroughs and wrote theories.Over the next few days the Beagle sailed around to the eastern side of Chatham and then surveyed southward along the coast.

Sculptor of Darwin's head

At this point, Darwin was sailing home. He sailed through many places, but they trudged on, mainly looking for a way back home.


Created with images by Mariamichelle - "ship boat lake garda" • BioDivLibrary - "n805_w1150" • BioDivLibrary - "n754_w1150" • Denna Jones - "Stad Amsterdam rigging" • Denna Jones - "Farwell Stad Amsterdam!" • lazygamer - "Garden Magic - Charles Darwin"

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