Friday, December 10, 1897We leave at 1 o'clock in the morning. Description of the Toro. The fat captain and his unremitting thirst. I go to sleep in the mechanic's cabin (or room, or whatever). Wine and alcohol on the table. The first mechanic is drunk all the time. When I climb to the deck at 7 AM, we are already in the strait separating DawsonIsland from the land, and we have already passed that point. The island is a hilly land with round forms. The beach is like the sea front of Agua Fresca at Port Famine (see November 29). Perhaps the dryer land explains this sudden lack of trees.We see a bay, beautifully surrounded by trees, WillisBay. Then we enter HarrisBay, which is rather deep, surrounded by forests along the water front, but with no trees inside; we see many settlements on a gently descending prairie. A Chilean fag flies on a mast close to the church, and a canoe rowed by Indians is moving away from the land: a father comes to welcome us. Description of the settlement. Several Indians, watched by an employee, work rolling timber. In the afternoon we walk along the bank. A gravel beach. There are kelp banks, forming a continuous barrage, a few meters from the bank. Plenty of animals on the stones covered with algae. All kinds of multi-plate shellfish, Fusus, a Nereis, all kinds of fish and some plants. In the forest, the trees are covered with lichen and moss. The land is more humid. In the evening, a good dinner and all three of us go to sleep, namely me, with American explorer F. A. Cook, and Arctowsky, in a windowless room, using blankets made by Indians. The Indians. There are currently 250 Indians at this mission, most of whom are Onas and fewer of the canals; only one is a Patagonian. Before, there were more canal Indians, who did not get well with the Onas and chased them, but now that the others form the majority, they do not dare do anything anymore.Now they come to the mission on their own, called by the families that have already settled there, or pushed by hunger. The Chilean Government took everything it could, brought them to colonies, and told them where to settle.The fathers built about 20 houses of wood and timber. There are bigger ones for families that arrived a long time ago, and smaller ones for the new. They gave them blankets. All evening they have been frying meat, rice, and bread. Little boys and girls go to school. For now, they have been separated from their parents (!). Unmarried women sleep in dormitories, watched by the sisters. They are all shy, all thumbs, always seeming ashamed and scared. They do not answer the first questions. They laugh dilating their mouths, but in silence. Among themselves, they are rather happy and talkative. When they speak and you hear them in the distance, and you can only get the sound of the language, you could think they speak English. Women behave the same way. They laugh more noisily. They are talkative and very prudish about the lower part of their bodies.Their language seems rich, full of nasal sounds. It is striking that there are many individuals who take after each other like brothers, but there are also several types of faces that are not connected. Could this be explained by a common ancestry, with all of them being the descendants of a single family? Both Indian men and women are very willful and stubborn, but they are usually gentle; they rarely fight within the same race; however, they often fight the Alcaluf, their sworn enemies.Almost all have saliva in the corners of their mouths. Almost all people are sick here. Tuberculosis and syphilis – both acquired and hereditary (children). They die usually at the ages of 40-45, and an older person is extremely rare.In the houses here, they build the fire right in the middle, and all they have as furniture is little baskets where they put the game, their bows, their arrow bags made out of seal skin, and glass-pointed arrows or arrows with guanaco tips. The newly-arrived do not use only the houses, they also build "toldas," a semi-circular abode made of logs stuck in the ground with tree branches between them. The abode is only as tall as a man sitting down, and it serves rather to stop the wind from putting out the fire, which is in the center of the semi-circle. They sit around the fire covered with their capes made of guanaco or fox skin.They make them work. Men cut wood or they work as butchers. It is impossible to force them to work. For each group, it is necessary to have a civilized man setting an example by working harder than them. It is not enough to give them orders. They are slow and more or less lazy. Sometimes they go to sleep and absolutely refuse to work for one or two hours, or even for a day, but then they go back to work of their own accord. It is not good to push and force them when they run away. Two young men are bakers and they do everything themselves.Women work under the sisters' surveillance, washing and winding wool. They love to draw. They draw well, you recognize what they wish to portray immediately. Ships and horses are very well drawn. They recognize immediately the objects drawn in front of them.When one of them dies, there is an official mourner who cries and laments for 24 hours. They conduct this ceremony several times after the funeral.They chase the guanaco in gangs. When they recognize the habitual path of the guanaco, they wait along that path in small holes that they dig for that purpose. The beaters frighten the game and the hunters kill it with arrows. Both men and women have round bellies; they must have large intestinal capacities, which proves that they have alternative periods of hunger and full satiety.Almost all of them are sick, suffering from tuberculosis and syphilis. I was unable to find out whether they come healthy or sick to the mission. The syphilis must be coming along the canals, brought by seal hunters. The priest tells me that a young man who was perfectly healthy left the mission for two months and came back with syphilis.They are all nostalgic for life in freedom. Often they leave the mission in summer, to live their wild life. They build canoes made of wood and sail along the canals. Generally, they return in winter, brought by hunger. They say whites are anthropophagites, that they eat their children. Perhaps they are not wrong. The priest says that British gold hunters killed and ate an Indian to see what that is like.Shepherd Menendez strangles a child, pulling him away from his mother, and throws him against the wall. Later, the woman says he killed him by shooting him with his revolver in the chest. The woman got well in the Rio Grande mission. The shepherd runs into her in the forest later and hangs her on a tree, shoots her in the head with his revolver, and cuts her legs and hands. When they find out, the Indians attack the shepherd who was running away and burn his dwelling. The government sends in troops, and they kill dozens of Indians as reprisals.The Azopardo officers shot Indians for pleasure.Farmers pay 1 British pound for an Indian head.Often, Indians massacre sheep, probably as reprisals. But if they eat the farmers' sheep, that is natural. In the old days, they could hunt on the sea shore. Chased to the "monte" by the farmers, they starve and kill sheep. In order to conserve the meat, they put it in the sea or in marshes, and they make supplies, which made farmers say that they kill sheep for pleasure.They are extremely adroit with bows. A young man shot straight from 30 meters into a 10-cm square, making a 2-cm hole. When they aim an arrow at a great distance, the arrow whistles. They hold the bow vertically and hold the arrow with their left hand. They aim, stretching the bow very fast. They do not beat their women, and they only fight each other very seldom. (…) Thursday, February 3, 1898There are four seals on the glacier, white or blonde-white, one with lighter stains on its belly. I kill one female, which had an embryo that already had four paws. Empty stomach. From checking the teeth, I can tell these are Lobodon carcinophaga. The others are not worried because I cut up their comrade. Some Daption have been with us all morning, a black-headed pseudo-albatross. A brown Larus eats the carcass of the killed seal. When we leave the glacier, we pass by the island of Landing XII, around us are all kinds of islets, where we hear the cries from "Antarctica." There are 25,000-30,000 penguins in that region. (…) Tuesday February 8, 1898We leave for the great land of the east. Beautiful, sunny weather. At noon, Amundsen, Lecointe, Danco, and myself get off (Landing XIV) on a rocky cliff at the bottom of a bay. This is a black volcanic rock, like those of the first Landing. This is also a station for young cormorants that can barely fly. There are about 20 of them, all carunculatus, with white backs. The only difference I saw with them was that some had darker backs, with brown feathers, but this is probably the youth costume, which they will lose in time. The stomach of one of them has fish inside, a big one with thick lips and a small one looking like a Gobius, along with some unrecognizable leftovers. It was very fat. Swallows, Procellaria thethys, Larus dominicanus, Larus brun, pseudo-albatross, and white, pigeons. A papua on the rocks. The snow is green: green algae on the clay mixed with guano. On the rock, a female leopard [seal] changes her skin. I kill her, her embryo was as big as the one at Landing XII. Stomach full of fish. (…) Thursday February 10, 1898We sail into the bays. First we pass by a rookery, a very large one at that, made up of several islets, and then we arrive at a very large Larus dominicanus rookery. It is a low rock, with some moss on its slopes. There are 400-500 Larus with their young; the adult ones fly around the rock, crying violently. By noon, we reach Landing XVIII. Arctowsky gets off a small islet, and dry moss is being brought to me. We go to a deep bay, surrounded by enormous glaciers. Seals on the ice.The white pigeon show up again. No whales today. We sailed several times around the rocks covered with moss. Friday February 11, 1898In the morning we arrive at the BismarckStrait, and continue to sail along the shore. That strait is nothing but a very large and very deep bay surrounded by several smaller bays. Everywhere there are huge glaciers in those bays, bigger than the ones we saw before; the icebergs here are larger, too. The bay if full of ice on the shores – icebergs and pieces of icebergs. That ice may be from the sea, and it has the weirdest forms we have ever seen. One mushroom-like pillar is impressive. The icebergs and the ice cliffs have grottoes. This base is more polar than everything we have seen so far. The Procellaria thetys are very numerous. We only see black-headed penguins. There are five to 10 of them on the glacier, lying on their paws, a little frightened of our ship. We have seen seals, Stenorhynchus and Leptonyx (Weddell seal) all day long, either alone or in groups of four or five on the ice. The Leptonyx watch us sail away phlegmatically, but the Stenorhyncus carcinophaga show us their teeth. Their coloration effect is very strange: seen from the front, they look silver white, but sideways they are brown. White pigeons again; brown Larus fly by our ship, especially in the evening.This morning we get off the ship on an island that is completely covered with snow (Landing XIX). The sky remains clouded all day. A thick black mist descends to a very low level, and limits our upward view, but not the horizon, which is clear, so we can see far into the distance. It rains, but the fine drops turn into snow. In the evening, from 7 to 9 PM, the mist coat is as thick as before, and it engenders bizarre optical effects. The bays are dark blue, the rocks are light gray, the icebergs around us are milk white, the sea is green, very green, and all these colors melt and form a harmony that only nature can create and no artist can reproduce. Excerpted from: LogTranslated from the French by Monica VOICULESCU

by Emil Racoviţă