November 1835 to 13 March 1836
the Pacific Ocean:
the Pacific Ocean
Tahiti is Spotted
Arrival at New Zealand
The Beagle in Australia
Honden Island was seen in the distance. This is a coral island
in the Pacific Ocean.
The Beagle arrived at the Tairo Islet, around the Faaraka islands.
Today the Beagle arrived at Tahiti approximately 3,200 miles
from the Galapagos Islands. The ship made 150-160 miles a day
on the trade winds. The Beagle anchored at Matavai Bay late
in the day and a party was sent on shore. They were greeted
by inquisitive, laughing natives and by Mr. Wilson, the local
missionary. The Beagle stayed at Tahiti for ten days and during
this time Darwin went on an inland expedition and was in awe
of the glorious tropical vegetation. He was also impressed with
the good work the missionaries had done with the Tahitians,
whom Darwin had a very high regard for.
The day was spent traded goods with the natives.
Darwin went with Sims Covington and a few native guides on an
inland expedition. They followed the Tia-Auru Valley, in which
the river flows through it to the sea to Point Venus. After
a few hours they had entered a very deep ravine where they stopped
for the night. A little ways further the river split into three
streams. The most southern stream was the way they took, the
other two led to some water falls. The party camped for the
night at a place just downstream from where two waterfalls occur
in succession. There were many banana, wild yam, and other tropical
delights for Darwin to examine.
After a fine breakfast they headed by another route down to
the main valley along a series of very steep ridges. They stopped
for the night at the same place as the night before. On the
coast the Beagle sailed to on Papawa Cove.
The party got up very early today and made their way back to
Matavai by noon. The Beagle had moved on to Papawa Cove, so
Darwin and Covington walked there along the coast.
FitzRoy returned the Beagle to Matavai Bay today. In his narrative,
FitzRoy commented at length about the industriousness and civility
of the natives.
At the harbor of Papiete, the capital of the island, FitzRoy,
some of the crew and Darwin attended a church service here.
About 600 people showed up Afterwards some of the crew members
strolled under the shade trees back to Matavai.1835 November
24 FitzRoy, Darwin, Mr. Wilson, Mr. Henry and Hitote (a native)
went to Papiete to meet with the Queen at a place called English
Chapel. They discussed a debt the Queen owed to Britain (equal
to about $2,850 US). A number of years ago the Queen instigated
a scheme to monopolize the pearl trade in the Low Islands to
the east. Some of her people attacked the British ship HMS Truro,
which they robbed. An agreement was made for her to pay back
her debt in pearls and shells.
Today the Beagle sailed to Papeete Harbor. During this time
the Queen had walked to the harbor and FitzRoy had boats sent
ashore to pick her up. In the evening she dined with FitzRoy.
After dinner they had a fireworks display and the crew sang
sailor songs which amused the Queen very much.
The Beagle set out today on the way to New Zealand.
Saw Whytootacke Island (name may be spelled incorrectly, but
this is how Darwin spelled it in his diary). They were simply
large heaps of sand and coral in the Pacific Ocean. Some of
the natives on the island sent up smoke signals to attract the
The northern hills of New Zealand were spotted in the evening.
HMS Beagle arrived at New Zealand in the morning and anchored
at a place called Bay of Islands. Strong winds had prevented
them from coming into the bay earlier. Darwin was not very impressed
with the natives, whom he viewed with suspicion. He was perhaps
concern because they practiced cannibalism before the missionaries
had arrived. Darwin went with Capt. FitzRoy, and Mr. Baker (a
missionary) to Kororadika, the largest village in the area.
Darwin described the natives as engaging in much vice, drunkenness,
and uncivil acts. They also never bathed and lived in filthy
houses. FitzRoy visited Paihia Island, and was disappointed
by the natives. The missionaries found them difficult to convert.
Darwin went to see a village called Waimate, about 15 miles
from the Bay of Islands, to visit the missionaries. He traveled
upstream in a small boat, passing a nice waterfall along the
way. The country was almost entirely covered with ferns. Darwin
described rubbing of noses with the natives upon arriving at
a tiny village along the way. After a short visit they continued
following a stream that was on their right. There were some
trees around, but Darwin was not very impressed with the landscape.
A chief that accompanied them never stopped talking to Darwin
who did not understand a word he was saying. The only native
words Darwin knew were Good, Bad and Yes. He was somewhat annoyed
with his guest. Darwin finally arrived at Waimate which was
a very pleasing English style farming village. Previous cannibalism
was noted, but the natives were quickly being Christianized.
The next day Darwin returned to the coast.
Darwin and Mr. Sulivan were taken to Cawa-cawa in a boat by
Mr. Bushby, a British resident. After this they walked onwards
to the village of Waiomio. A short time later they were forced
to walk along the beach and after about four miles they arrived
at Waiomio village. Darwin examined some curious limestone rock
formations in the area, met with the natives, then had a pleasant
trip back to the bay, through the village of Keri-keri, where
they arrived late at night.
FitzRoy went with Mr. Baker, a local missionary, to Waimate
village via Waitangi Creek, then by land on horses. The Church
Missionary Society ran the village which was composed of about
20 acres of land. The entire place had a very British look to
it even though the place only had three houses. Richard Matthews,
a crewmember on the Beagle, stayed behind as a missionary.
Today the Beagle started on the way to Australia. Darwin was
very pleased to leave New Zealand!
The Beagle passed the "Three Kings" islets today.
HMS Beagle anchored at Sydney Cove, Australia at Port Jackson.
Darwin thought of the place as an impressive city. He strolled
the town in the evening and was very pleased with everything
he saw - the many grand houses, clean streets, and very British-like
atmosphere. The population of Sydney was at this time only 23,000
people. FitzRoy thought the people there lacked literary pursuits,
as there were very few booksellers in town. He may have been
correct, as the city was filled with stolen goods, thievery,
convicts and vice.
January 16 Darwin went with a guide and two horses on a 120
mile inland trip to Bathurst, New South Wales. They passed
through Paramatta along the way and spent the night at Emu
Ferry, 35 miles west of Sydney. Darwin commented on the scant
vegetation, and contrasted it with the tropical forests of
South America. The next day some native aborigines passed
them on the road and Darwin paid them a shilling to display
their spear throwing skills.
the way Darwin made observations on the local wildlife and
was very astonished by the creatures he saw (especially the
odd-looking platypus). He surmised there must have been a
separate act of creation just for these odd creatures. On
his return Darwin visited Phillip Parker King, the commander
of the Adventure during the first Beagle surveying voyage,
who was now living on his farm just outside of Sydney.
Early in the morning Darwin walked about 3 miles to Govett's
Leap to admire the view. Afterwards he left the Blackheath area
and descended via the pass of Mount Victoria. At Hassan's Walls
he left the main road and took a detour to Walerawang Farm where
he stayed for one day. The place was attended by about 40 convict
servants. About 15,000 sheep were being raised here.
Darwin went with Mr. Archer, the superintendent of the farm,
on a Kangaroo hunting trip. They had very poor luck. In the
evening Darwin took a stroll along a small stream and saw a
few of the Platypus, which Darwin described as an extraordinary
animal. In his diary he remarked on the social divide among
the different classes of the people. Common people, convicts
and servants all focused their lives on one thing - the accumulation
HMS Beagle left Sydney Harbor and sailed for Van Diemen's Land
(now called Tasmania).
In the evening HMS Beagle entered Storm Bay at Hobart Town on
the island of Van Diemen's Land. The population of the island
was 13,826 people. They anchored at Sullivan's Cove. At this
time the entire island was a convict colony, but not as bad
off as Sydney. The Beagle stayed here ten days, during which
time Darwin went on five inland trips to study the local geology.
Today Darwin wrote home about his strong urge to board the next
ship that was heading directly for England. The next day Darwin
strolled about Hobart Town and was quite impressed with the
HMS Beagle set sail for King George's Sound, Australia.
The Beagle arrived at King George's Sound at the town of Albany,
in Prince Royal Harbor, about 250 miles south-east of Perth.
They remained there for eight days, and Darwin found the place
a most absolute bore, as it was a very dull looking place with
no mountains, no rivers and no trees. He went on a few inland
excursions, but was not very impressed with the landscape. During
the stay here Darwin went with FitzRoy to a place called Bald
Head where very curious formations exist of tree casts made
of limestone. A few of the crew members also attended an aborigine
dance around a bon fire in the evening.
After being delayed a few days due to poor weather, the Beagle
sailed out of King George's Sound.