14' E., the variation was 39 deg. 33' W. In the evening, in latitude 58 deg. 2'
S., longitude 84 deg. 35' E., it was only 37 deg. 8' W., which induced me to
believe it was decreasing. But in the evening of the 20th, in the latitude
of 58 deg. 47' S., longitude 90 deg. 56' E., I took nine azimuths, with Dr Knight's
compass, which gave the variation 40 deg. 7', and nine others, with Gregory's,
which gave 40 deg. 15' W.
This day, at noon, being nearly in the latitude and longitude just
mentioned, we thought we saw land to the S.W. The appearance was so strong
that we doubted not it was there in reality, and tacked to work up to it
accordingly; having a light breeze at south, and clear weather. We were,
however, soon undeceived, by finding that it was only clouds; which, in the
evening, entirely disappeared, and left us a clear horizon, so that we
could see a considerable way round us; in which space nothing was to be
seen but ice islands.
In the night the Aurora Australis made a very brilliant and luminous
appearance. It was seen first in the east, a little above the horizon; and,
in a short time, spread over the whole heavens.
The 21st, in the morning, having little wind and a smooth sea, two
favourable circumstances for taking up ice, I steered for the largest ice
island before us, which we reached by noon.