This volume offers annotated texts with biographical and historical introductions of four previously unpublished travel journals from the period 1775-1874. The first of these is the journal of a participant in a Spanish expedition sent from Mexico to explore the north-west coast of America. From the outset, difficulties plagued the voyage. Bodega's ship, a small schooner named Sonora, was not designed for open-ocean voyaging. A landing party was attacked and killed; midway into the voyage the Sonora became separated from her flagship; and later she was nearly capsized by a massive wave. Bodega's journal records the voyage's travails, hardships, discoveries, and eventual return. Next comes the journal of Commander Stokes, who served in command of HMS Beagle, under Captain P. P. King during the survey of the Straits of Magellan in 1827. This is an account of a detached operation, in very difficult weather conditions, in the western part of the strait. It is introduced by remarks on the expedition and the hydrographic history of the strait from its discovery to the inception of the survey and supplemented by remarks from Captain King's account and also that of the clerk, Macdouall. The third text is the journal of a young midshipman in HMS Chanticleer, a small vessel commanded by Henry Foster, RN, who had recently been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society for his scientific work in the Arctic. The voyage of 1828-31 was to make observations in the South Atlantic to determine the shape of the Earth and to ascertain the longitudes of a number of ports. Kay's lively diary describes the Chanticleer's encounters with warships of the Brazilian navy, largely manned by Englishmen. He records his struggle to take observations at Deception Island during gales and snowstorms, and near Cape Horn in fierce squalls and constant chilling rain, nevertheless remaining cheerful in the company of his fellow midshipmen. The final piece is the diary of Jacob Wainwright.
’... this beautifully produced volume is an ideal introduction to the serious study of exploration and geography.’ Times Literary Supplement ’The book is a credit to the Hakluyt Society... For the maritime historian or the working seaman who can empathise with the tribulations of the hydrographers under sail, the book is essential reading.’ International Journal of Maritime History ’The Hakluyt Society deserves to be congratulated for persevering in bringing together these four disparate travel journals, each of which makes an invaluable contribution to the history of exploration. Their respective editors have added excellent maps, well chosen illustrations and informative introductions and summaries. This book will not only interest historians who specialize in explorations but will also appeal to maritime historians and entertain readers of history and geography.’ The Northern Mariner